The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for follow-up and review processes that examine progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such processes are needed at international and regional levels, but especially at the national level.
To be maximally useful to policymakers and citizens, review processes must incorporate rigorous, country-led evaluations that examine policy and programme implementation and effectiveness, and build well-reasoned and supported cases for claims of progress.
At present, there is considerable focus on how to measure progress using indicators, but evaluation must go beyond measurement, to consider whether progress is equitable, relevant and sustainable. Such evidence will help demonstrate public sector accountability and accelerate change by focusing attention on enhancing learning and innovation.
Measurement is not enough: monitoring must be accompanied by evaluation that addresses the complexity of the SDGs and how they are achieved.
National policy evaluation is essential in the review and follow-up process.
Evaluation builds evidence for claims about the value of policies, programmes and strategies.
Evaluative thinking is a critical element in building the capacity of policymakers and parliamentarians to make informed decisions about success in achieving the SDGs.