Working with Wilton Park, the Centre for Development Impact (CDI) recently co-hosted a major international conference on 'New Frontiers for Evaluation'. The gathering brought together investors, evaluators, academia and civil society organisations to debate a new agenda for evaluation.

Over several decades now, we have seen dramatic shifts in the way in which middle income and low income countries have achieved economic growth, political and social change. Traditional divisions between international aid and private sector investment have begun to breakdown. And, as a recent Guardian article points out, international development is at something of a crossroads. But can new forms of private sector investment really achieve a ‘win-win’ of high financial returns and social impact?

Shaped by a dominant public sector paradigm, clearly evaluation practice has not kept pace. At the event, there was an overriding sense that there is no single way to take things forwards, but rather a need to build multiple coalitions and partnerships, experiment with new and innovative ways of measuring the impact, and facilitate the building of key institutions and the wider system.

There are also important opportunities. As the conference report surmises: 'Evaluation has the potential to provide a way to capture the voices of a broader group of constituents, including those that are on the receiving end of the benefits (or the unintended consequences) of new initiatives'.

Find out more by reading the full report.

Image credit: Ed Hedley