Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring aims to identify deviations from objectives and planned actions. It thus allows for corrections, if warranted. Monitoring also calls for the periodic collection of data on the implementation of policies, strategies and/or action plans.

Evaluations aim to determine the relevance of objectives and propose how to improve performance. Most evaluations are based on the principles of participation – shared learning, dialogue and discussion for further development.


Selecting the areas to be monitored is the most important monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activity. Doing so requires asking leading questions such as:  what information is needed, based on what criteria, and how is it possible to measure the issues, i.e. using what indicators?

Pointing out the means of verification for each indicator will facilitate its regular measurement. Wherever possible, indicators should be developed in a participatory way, such as in a workshop organized specifically for that purpose, so that all stakeholder groups are represented.

Checking achievements with regard to international commitments should also be part of the M&E process. The review of the NFP is typically carried out periodically while an in-depth evaluation is usually undertaken near the end of the programme's or policy's planning period. 

It is important to note that M&E is not limited to aspects within the forest sector. It also needs to cover issues that may emerge in other sectors that affect forests and forestry.


Monitoring generates information that can be used in evaluations. The collected data can be used to determine what is and is not working well, in order to make appropriate adjustments. This can be used throughout the process, including during the implementation.

Reviews and evaluations are commonly presented as reports. However, they also should be accompanied by informal processes of reflection and review. This increased knowledge and awareness, when attained by all participants, will be reflected in the elaboration of the next operational work plan or in the revision of the forest policy or strategy.

last updated:  Tuesday, August 7, 2012