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Independent Evaluation

Evaluation is central to good corporate governance. ADB continually reviews its operations to assess their effectiveness, learn from past experience, and improve the development of future policies, strategies, programs, and projects.

Overview

The Independent Evaluation Department (IED) independently and systematically evaluates ADB policies, strategies, operations, and special concerns that relate to organizational and operational effectiveness. By doing so, it contributes to achieving development effectiveness of ADB operations by providing evaluation feedback on performance, and generating and disseminating evaluation lessons.

There are two levels of evaluation in ADB:

  • self-evaluation, conducted by those responsible for designing and implementing a country strategy, program, or project
  • independent evaluation undertaken by IED

Mandate

IED’s mandate is to undertake evaluation activities to help ADB Management and developing member country stakeholders who are responsible for planning, designing, and implementing projects and programs to understand whether resources have been well spent, and whether the planned outcomes have been achieved.

Vision

Recognized as an influential authority on accountability and evaluation knowledge driven by the principles of impact, excellence, and teamwork.

History

Originally known as the Post-Evaluation Office, the Independent Evaluation Department (IED) was established in 1978 to evaluate ADB operations. Over the years, IED has undergone several organizational changes, culminating in the establishment, on 1 January 2004, of an independent department reporting to the Board of Directors through the Development Effectiveness Committee (DEC). In 2008, about 5 years after IED became independent, a further review of IED’s independence and effectiveness was undertaken. Following the 2008 review, OED was renamed the Independent Evaluation Department (IED) to reflect its enhanced independent status. IED’s current functions, priorities, and procedures are embodied in the provisions of the 2008 Board paper on the review of the independence and effectiveness of OED.

Evaluation independence

To be credible and to provide an objective performance assessment, the evaluation function must be independent from project or program design and implementation. To fulfill its mission effectively, IED develops and sustains a reputation for excellence by following the principles of independence, impartiality, and integrity. Drawing on the good practice standards of evaluation agencies, IED has recognized and adopted four dimensions of evaluation independence:

  • Behavioral autonomy
  • Organizational independence
  • Insulation from external influence
  • Avoidance of conflicts of interest

Procedure

The Board appoints IED's Director General upon the recommendation of the DEC, in consultation with the ADB President. ADB's Management responds to evaluation findings and recommendations. ADB Management's responses and the DEC Chair's Summaries of Discussions are appended to evaluation reports and disclosed as they become available.

Avoiding of conflict of interest

To avoid conflict of interest, IED evaluators and management exclude themselves from evaluating or approving a report on any project/program/activity/entity that they worked on, appraised, or had decision-making or approval responsibility for in a previous capacity, or when they expect to have such involvement in the future. Similar care is also taken in the selection of consultants.

Evaluation policy

To enhance the independence and effectiveness of evaluation in ADB, the revised policy as described in Section IV of the Review of the Independence and Effectiveness of the Operations Evaluation Department was approved by the ADB Board of Directors in December 2008 and took effect on 1 January 2009.

This comprehensive review was undertaken in February 2008 to examine ADB's current arrangements for the operations evaluation function. Aside from presenting key findings from the review process, the paper also proposed a number of changes to further enhance the independence and effectiveness of the evaluation function.

Perception survey

IED conducts a perception survey regularly to gain a better understanding of the perception that different stakeholders have of IED and its function, and its evaluation knowledge products and services. The survey sought to generate information on the respondent’s perception of familiarity with IED’s work, perceived importance of IED’s function and its contribution vis-a-vis accountability and learning, relevance, influence in ADB’s work and decision-making, and satisfaction with the quality, independence, and timeliness, use of IED’s evaluations and usefulness of its evaluation knowledge products and services (learning events), communications platform likely to be used to access evaluation knowledge, and general attitude toward independent evaluation. Insights from the survey help IED improve its results framework, inform strategic decision-making, and anticipate demand for services.

Download the 2020 IED Perception Survey.

Disclosure

The Independent Evaluation Department (IED) discloses its 3-year rolling work program approved by the Board and all of its evaluation reports on its website, consistent with the provisions (paragraphs 66-68) of the Asian Development Bank’s Public Communications Policy (2011).

IED discloses its evaluation reports on the website upon circulation to Management and the Board, except for IED annual evaluation reports that are posted on the website upon discussion by the Board’s Development Effectiveness Committee (DEC). IED also discloses responses received to its reports from ADB Management, IED comments on the Management response, if any, and Chair’s summaries of DEC discussions pertaining to its reports.

For evaluations of nonsovereign operations, a redacted version is disclosed on the website, excluding commercially sensitive and confidential business information.

Since May 2012, IED discloses validations of project completion reports as non-Board information papers directly on the website, upon their approval.

Collaboration and Networks: Independent Evaluation Department

The Independent Evaluation Department of the Asian Development Bank initiates and participates in a number of knowledge-sharing platforms to promote collaboration and networks in development evaluation.

Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG)

The ECG was established by the heads of evaluation of multilateral development banks in 1996, with the Independent Evaluation Department of ADB as a founding member. ECG's mandate focuses on harmonization of evaluation principles, standards, and practices to allow better comparability of results, taking into account the differing circumstances of its member institutions.