Robert Picciotto
Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, July 2015

This background paper, written by Robert Picciotto, was produced for the "New Frontiers for Evaluation in an Era of Market-Oriented Development" Conference, 20-23 July 2015.

While the development cooperation world has been transformed the evaluation community has yet to adapt to the new strategic environment. A new set of private sector players as well as philanthropic foundations are searching for more innovative and nimble evaluation methods geared to a wide variety of market-oriented approaches and instruments. A proliferation of problems without passport combined with worrying environmental trends is raising the priority of global and regional public goods delivery. Far-flung development networks rather than country-­based human development programmes are becoming the main units of account for development evaluation.

In parallel, the rise of emerging market economies where more than 70 per cent of the poor now live calls for a new emphasis on evaluation capacity development in middle income countries while the persistence of poverty in fragile states will accelerate a refinement of evaluation methods at the intersection of security and development. Equally, the social unrest associated with growing inequality, social exclusion and environmental stress will induce a reconsideration of existing evaluation models and a reorientation towards more participatory, environmentally friendly and democratic approaches.

Finally more effective use of information technologies; new evaluation alliances and a deliberate professionalisation strategy will be required for development evaluation to remain relevant and help meet the exploding global demand for high quality evaluation services. This paper identifies six challenges. They are interrelated. A fulsome debate on the issues highlighted below would be timely.

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Partner(s): Institute of Development Studies