UNHCR's evaluation activities for 1997
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S PROGRAMME
2 January 1997
1. In order to make a significant and ongoing contribution to decision making in UNHCR, the Inspection and Evaluation Service has focused evaluations on thematic issues which would benefit from further analysis or evaluation. In this manner, UNHCR will attempt to use evaluations as a catalyst for change and means for improving operational activities.
2. In selecting the initial 1997 programme, each UNHCR Bureau and Division reviewed its own needs for information and analyses, and made proposals to the Inspection and Evaluation Service, which in turn compiled and prioritized the proposals. UNHCR's Senior Management Committee then made a final selection taking into account a number of considerations. An effort was made to accommodate first priority selections as well as topics repeatedly selected by several Divisions and Bureaux. Consideration was also given to the feasibility and timing of an evaluation, bearing in mind the need to minimize potential duplication of work being undertaken by other parts of the organization.
II. PROPOSED REVIEWS
3. Review of UNHCR's Mass Information activities :
The evaluation is expected to analyse the effectiveness of various mass information efforts with the aim of drawing lessons and making suggestions for the future.
4. Review of approaches to land and property issues relating to the repatriation of refugees :
The evaluation will examine UNHCR's role and potential contribution to efforts to recover land and property with a view to providing guidance on this very complicated issue.
5. Review of UNHCR's efforts on behalf of children and adolescents :
The evaluation will focus on:
a) various issues related to the protection of children in emergencies;
b) assistance programmes and their impact ; and,
c) solutions, including the needs and rights of children in repatriation operations.
6. Review of UNHCR's assistance to elderly urban refugees :
The evaluation will examine ways in which prolonged assistance leads to groups of elderly refugees in urban situations and assess whether UNHCR is effectively resolving existing problems.
7. Review of UNHCR's use of staff employed by agencies working closely with UNHCR :
The review would identify, analyse and attempt to draw lessons from the various staffing approaches employed by field offices which sometimes involve the use of agency staff under UNHCR's supervision and direction. The review recommendations are intended to serve as a basis for developing policies and guidelines.
8. In preparing the initial work plan, many other evaluations were considered. However, in view of UNHCR's limited evaluation resources, other means of reviewing and analysing the various subjects proposed must be adopted. These approaches include greater reliance on self-evaluation, working groups and workshops, as well as studies organized by the concerned Bureau or Division. When feasible, UNHCR also hopes to draw on the efforts of other organizations and NGOs through collaborative evaluation efforts, and by drawing on the lessons they have learned.
9. To assist in the delegation of thematic and operational reviews, the Inspection and Evaluation Service will disseminate in the coming months guidelines for organizing and carrying out evaluations. The Service will also attempt to assist and provide technical support whenever possible.
10. Summaries of UNHCR's final evaluation reports have for many years been provided to the Executive Committee along with periodic conference room papers. Many of the topics being covered have, however, become of such general interest that the Inspection and Evaluation Service is considering new approaches in which analyses and lessons developed in the course of the evaluations can be more widely disseminated to other organizations when they are of general interest.