Case studies/spotlights group

SDGs Spotlights

“Strengthening national processes for evaluating the SDGs”

EVALSDGs advocates for the use of “Spotlight” as a tool to build and reinforce the national evaluation capacities of countries and contribute to empowering various partners in exchanging and sharing learnings and experiences accumulated and generated through the evaluation processes associated with the SDGs. This is part of the efforts to evaluate and review the implementation of the Global Development Agenda 2030.


EVALSDGs is an EvalPartners‘ initiative that seeks to promote evaluation activities around the SDGs, and mobilize and support the evaluation community to work on the Global Development Agenda 2030 (SDGs) in the following ways:

  • Engage with the enabling environment for evaluation relevant to the SDGs,
  • Provide a platform for dialogue, advocacy and knowledge generation in relation to evaluation and the SDGs,
  • Assist in strengthening the institutional capacities of VOPEs and evaluators to conduct evaluations in support of national SDG implementation and review processes,
  • Foster inter-linkages and interactions between initiatives to strengthen evaluation and implement and review the SDGs.

2. EVALSDGs Spotlights:


This concept note reflects the perspectives of EVALSDGs inspired by its “raison d’etre”, and aims at influencing and capturing the learnings from the review, follow up and evaluation processes of the SDGs.

The key objective is to promote and advocate for an ELE (Evaluate, Learn and Empower) approach rather than a RRA (Reporting, Reviewing and Accountability) one, in an attempt to capture the learnings and strengthen the engagement of key partners in implementing the Agenda 2030 at the national and ultimately contribute to the change toward more sustainable outcomes.

It is envisioned that the Spotlight would build and reinforce- national evaluation capacities and contribute to empowering various partners to engage in the process through:

  • Showcasing the national efforts toward institutionalizing/ implementing a SDGs evaluation agenda/ policy.
  • Sharing knowledge and lessons learned and contributing to replicate/ adapt successful practical processes.
  • Kicking off the process to support the national efforts to present at the HLPF, and accordingly follow the HLPF priorities (in terms of the annual themes of SDGs) – emphasizing the partnership between the government and civil society/ VOPEs.

The EVALSDGs “Spotlight” intends to provide a platform for learning, sharing and exchanging between countries.

The EVALSDGs Spotlight stream complements other EvalPartners’ streams, namely the Global Parliamentarian Forum for Evaluation (GPFE) among others.

The Scope

 The EVALSDGs Spotlights are useful – tools that:

  • Highlight experiences and lessons learned throughout the follow up and review process, entailing the planning, designing, and implementing the SDGs evaluation initiatives.
  • Provide links to the original work (relevant research, official documentations and stakeholders’ reports, as well as the national follow up and review reports presented at the High Level Political Forums) to allow those interested to further pursue with critical lens the successes, failures and opportunities in the process of evaluating the SDGs.
  • Provide “excerpt” of some relevant research, official documentations and stakeholders’ reports, as well as the national follow up and review reports presented at the High Level Political Forums.
  • Provide summaries with clear messages and recommendations to be used in high level SDGs processes. The Spotlights can focus on any of the following dimensions: the national experience in creating ownership of the SDGs, incorporating the SDG evaluation in the national frameworks, progress on achieving the goals or any of them, some thematic analysis, institutional mechanisms including the various stakeholders, as well as the means of implementation, etc.
  • Allow for and promote potential joint initiatives among the key players in the national SDGs evaluation (National/ regional Governments/ VOPEs/ Academia/ UN agencies and programs-)

The Spotlights will be disseminated and posted on the “EvalSDGs” website and online platform (in the pipeline), and would allow the opportunity to stimulate discussions and exchange among participating and interested entities and evaluators.

A dedicated Spotlight Team

  • The Spotlights Project is an activity supported through EVALSDGs and its partners. EVALSDGs operates under the umbrella of EvalPartners. The secretariat for EvalPartners is managed under the -Constitution of the International Organisation for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE). All finances are audited under Canadian Law, where IOCE is registered.
  • The spotlight initiative is composed of a core team and focal points.
    • The core team[1] for the Spotlights Project consists of the EvalSDGs/ VOPE members who expressed interest and engaged in developing their country spotlights. The team is facilitated by the EvalSDGs vice-chair.
    • A network of “focal points”, namely contact persons in the government, VOPEs and research institutes who are involved in the national SDGs evaluation processes. These focal points will:
  • Gather the relevant research and documentation
  • Generate excerpts and post them on the platform to ensure wider outreach.
  • Develop its own action plan to seek partnerships within the subject country to support the collection of material; prepare a baseline for the activities and status per country.
    • Agree on how to manage the process nationally
  • Establish processes to share knowledge and lessons learned and contribute to replicate/ adapt successful practical processes.
    • It is envisioned that more efforts need to be invested to bring the governments into the process.

Selection Criteria for the Spotlight countries

  • There are no rigid criteria for selecting the “Spotlight” country. The process however builds on
  • A demand from a country counterpart (being a government or VOPE counterpart) to lead the efforts at the national level,
  • Milestone events/ forums (typically the HLPF or other related events),
  • Emerging opportunities.
  • The process is kept loose in order to encourage any potential contribution from the wider EVALSDGs networks that would like to share their progress.
  • The spotlight deliverable should build on a partnership between the government and the VOPE (among other civil society)
  • Generally a candidate Spotlight country needs to be:
    • Active in developing the national evaluation agenda/ policy.
    • Showing an active partnership between the government and VOPEs.
    • Have presented or planning to present to the HLPF.
  • There are a couple of potential pioneering candidates to shed the lights on. In addition, there are 22 countries who volunteered to provide the first reviews at the HLPF in July 2016. Refer to the list of the 22 countries.
  • There are also countries that have been supported through the EvalGender+ network due to their level of interest in evaluation with a gender and equity lens and the activation of the relationships between government, parliamentarians, the evaluation sector and civil society. More information can be found here.
  • Based on various discussions, the following countries seem to be serious candidates for the “Spotlights” (as of November 2016):
    • Philippines and Sri Lanka: drafts are developed
    • Tunisia: initial discussion and draft under prep
    • Nepal Afghanistan, Kenya: initial interest and discussion
    • Kyrgyzstan: will be hosting the Global EP Forum 2017. A great opportunity to showcase it as a spotlight.

3. The deliverables

  • The spotlight initiative has gathered a lot of attention at the EES and in other forums
  • A prototype/ format (attached)) of the spotlight is designed. It is adaptable to different contexts and priorities an should account for:
    • The process of establishing the national SDGs “follow up and review” / evaluation
    • Progress on specific SDGs
    • Relationships/ partnerships among the various stakeholders
  • A well-functioning online platform to host the Spotlights and facilitate an online discussion and potential collaboration will be hosted on EVALSDGs website (in the pipeline).

4. Next steps (Action Items)

  • Build on the earlier discussions with potential collaborators (e.g. UNDP) and engage with government reps and other multilateral organizations to create an awareness of the spotlight process and solicit support.
  • Develop a proposal to provide Technical Assistance to develop national SDGs evaluation capacity (to be linked to the spotlight process), and solicit support from potential funders (through EP).
  • Recruit new “focal points” from the various entities/ countries that expressed interest in the initiative. This should be an on-going process.
  • Finalize the initial Spotlights: Philippines and Sri Lanka, Tunisia.
  • Engage with our counterpart in Nepal Afghanistan, Kenya to kick off the process.
  • Engage with our counterpart in Kyrgyzstan (VOPE and other champions) to kick off a Spotlight process that will be showcased at the Global EP Forum 2017 to be held in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Engage with potential partners from the North (Canada through the CES can be a potential spotlight).
  • Establish a “competition” amongst current and prospective “Spotlight countries for selecting those who will attend the next Global Evaluation Forum in April/May 2017 to present – their experiences.
  • Plan for the HLPF 2017 and follow the HLPF priorities (in terms of the annual themes of SDGs);
  • Identify the countries that will present.
  • Use of the Spotlights process to support the national efforts to present at the HLPF.

5. Immediate Actions

  • These next steps need to be agreed upon within the core team and at the level of the EvalSDGs management team.
  • Soliciting Funds to support the initiative through:
  • Facilitate meetings of the team members engaged in the process.
  • Facilitate convening multi-stakeholder meeting at the country level.
  • Strong presence at the HLPF 2017 – hosting a couple of sessions to showcase some countries.
  • Support comparative analysis.
    • Securing engagement with the Northern partners at the Canadian Evaluation Association conference in April. It is a good opportunity to raise the EvalSDGs flag and Spotlight initiative.

Click here to see the Country Spotlights

 For more information contact:

EVALSDG Vice Chair: Kassem El-Saddik (

[1] consists currently of Romeo James Santos, Jennifer Mutua, Erica Mattellone, Piroshini Trikawalagoda and Florence Etta and Qudratullah Jahid

Case studies/spotlights group

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