PC 85/INF/3

Programme Committee

Eighty-fifth Session

7 - 11 May 2001

The Evaluation Website - A presentation



1. One basic function of evaluation is to contribute to the enhanced knowledge base of the Organization's work through learning from the experience of programmes and projects. This function is directly relevant to one of the cross-organizational strategies identified in FAO's Strategic Framework, i.e. ensuring excellence through encouragement of organizational learning. The Evaluation Service (PBEE) in PBE has been conscious of the importance of feedback from evaluation. Its efforts in this respect have included a contribution to the corporate efforts in preparing guidelines and staff training, particularly in project design, as well as maintaining and updating an institutional memory on evaluation (the database on field project evaluations since mid-1980s) and periodic issuance of syntheses of project evaluations.

Purpose of the Website

2. The purposes of the Evaluation Website are:

The Main Contents

3. Regarding the dissemination of evaluation information, the basic policy is to share such information to the maximum extent possible, not only within FAO but also with the interested external audience, consistent with the Organization's rules and procedures on confidentiality of its information and documents. In this regard, there is a need to clarify the status of some information based on evaluation reports of technical cooperation projects involving individual recipient governments and donors. Clearly, individual evaluation reports themselves have been treated, and will continue to be treated, as confidential or restricted documents. While some form of information derived from evaluation reports, such as summaries of individual evaluations, would be usefully disseminated on the Website, it would appear prudent to have the prior agreement of specific governments and donors concerned about the use of such derived information. Thus, in future it is intended to seek agreement of the parties concerned on the possible dissemination of such information as summaries of project evaluation, by inserting a standard clause for this purpose in the project agreements. In the meantime, some historical information based on recent project evaluations, such as their summaries, has been included in the Website as a pilot demonstration.

4. The Website contains initially the following, with the field project evaluation component being the largest:

The Main Features

5. The Website has been designed as both a reference source and a research tool on evaluation information in FAO. Its operational features include the following:

Future Steps

6. The contents of the Website will be progressively expanded and improved through continuous updating, including the possibility of adding those evaluations and in-depth reviews of wide interest that are conducted in FAO but not necessarily by the Evaluation Service. In particular, two actions will be pursued to enhance the utility of this Website. Firstly, it will need to be linked with other related in-house information systems, such as the Standard Frameworks for Project Formulation under development. Secondly, the Evaluation Service will strengthen its work in synthesizing individual evaluations with a view to identifying those issues and lessons that are relevant and significant in areas of FAO's priority concerns.