Briefing Papers

The EvalSDGs Network  has partnered with the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED) to produce a series of Briefing Papers on evaluation of the SDGs. The Briefing Papers’ main intent is to raise awareness on the importance of embedding evaluation in national review processes in the frame of the 2030 Agenda.

12th briefing paper: Evaluating sustainable Development: how the 2030 Agenda can help

As countries increasingly commit to sustainable development pathways, they need approaches that assess the sustainability dimension of national policies and interventions, including their contribution to multiple sustainable development aims. Previous briefings have discussed the importance of evaluation in 2030 Agenda national follow-up and review processes.

11th Briefing paper: From monitoring goals to systems-informed evaluation: insights from SDG 14

If the world is going to make significant progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, development actors will need to think and work in new ways, including in evaluation.


10th Briefing paper: Equity-focused, gender-responsive evidence: a blind spot in VNR reporting

In 2018, 46 countries expressed their commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by voluntarily presenting national reviews of their progress on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the 2018 High-level Political Forum (HLPF). Analysis of these voluntary national reviews (VNRs) found that, although monitoring is strong, evaluation receives almost no attention. VNR reporting is not incorporating evaluative evidence, particularly equity-focused and gender-responsive evidence. Access to disaggregated data is a core challenge to tracking progress.


9th Briefing paper: Embedding evaluation in national plans and policies to foster transformative development

This briefing place emphasis on voluntary national reviews (VNRs), VNRs are an important tool, rolled out globally, for demonstrating how far countries are progressing toward realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); but VNRs represent just one approach to evaluation in the 2030 Agenda. Countries can look beyond evaluation in the context of global reporting through VNRs, to embedding evaluation at the national and local level.


8th Briefing paper: VNR Reporting needs evaluation: a call for global guidance and national action

This briefing analyses 43 ‘Voluntary National Reviews’ (VNRs) of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Extending a 2016 analysis, it finds that monitoring is strong but evaluation systems and processes often remain missing or misunderstood. Sporadic good practice is emerging, such as: linked National Evaluation Policy and action planning (Nepal); recognition of the SDGs’ complexity when considering evaluation (Czech Republic); learning through evaluation (Ethiopia and Kenya); and drawing on findings from past evaluations (Belize).


7th Briefing paper: The 2030 Agenda and evaluation: opportunities and challenges for parliamentarians

This briefing focuses on ensuring the 17 Goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are meaningfully translated into national policies and programmes that improve citizens’ lives.


6th Briefing paper: Evaluation: a missed opportunity in the SDGs’ first set of Voluntary National Reviews

This briefing paper reports on a review of the 22 VNRs, which focused on how each addressed the role of evaluation. It found that most VNRs show little awareness about just what evaluation is and how it could be used to support the 2030 Agenda.

brief may 2017 imagen

5th Briefing paper: Developing National Evaluation Capacity (NEC) in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) era and interrelated challenges

This briefing paper highlights areas to consider when developing NEC, and is the fifth in a series on effective evaluation for the SDGs.

4th Briefing paper: Realising the SDGs by reflecting on the way(s) we reason, plan, and act: the importance of evaluative thinking

This briefing paper focuses on the importance of evaluative thinking for effective follow-up and review frameworks and mechanisms.


3rd Briefing paper: Five considerations for national evaluation agendas informed by the SDGs”

This Briefing emphasizes the importance of taking into consideration the inter-connected nature of the sustainable development goals. It summarizes five lessons for evaluation from the MDGs era, and discusses their implications for national evaluation agendas that support countries’ achievement of the SDGs.

The second Briefing paper (July 2016) “Counting critically: SDG ‘follow-up and review’ needs interlinked indicators, monitoring and evaluation”, states that global indicators carry the risk of masking sub-national and thematic variations; and that indicators alone cannot explain how or why change occurred; therefore, evaluation can help assess the worth, merit and significance of national policies. brief-july-2016-imagen

The first Briefing paper entitled “Evaluation a crucial ingredient for SDG success” (April 2016), argues that, to be useful to policy makers and citizens, national review processes must incorporate country-led evaluations.


For more information please contact: Stefano D’Errico at or Dorothy Lucks at

Our Partners 

Briefing Papers
Scroll to top