UNEG was established in January 1984 as the Inter-Agency Working Group on Evaluation (IAWG). During the 80's and 90's, the IAWG served as an informal group made up of the Heads of evaluation offices who met annually to discuss evaluation issues.
In 2000, an evaluation of the IAWG found that whilst it provided a useful platform for UN Agencies to discuss emerging evaluation issues, it needed a more proactive function with specific deliverables that could be used by the UN system in their evaluation work. The recommendations also emphasised the need for structured interaction among members, annual work planning, work groups to move the agenda forward and developing a website to enhance knowledge sharing.
Since 2000, IAWG has continued to go from strength to strength in terms of focus, direction and output. In 2003, to mark the rebirth of the group, the IAWG changed its name to the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG).
UNEG currently has 43 members. Membership is institutional with the Units responsible for evaluation in the UN system, including the specialized agencies, funds, programmes and affiliated organisations, eligible for membership. These Units should have, or aspire to have, the required professional knowledge, experience and responsibility for evaluation as defined by the UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation (2005).
UNEG's Work Programme
UNEG's Work Programme is defined by members at the Annual General Meetings and implemented by Task Forces (TF) and Working Groups (WG) made up of members able to contribute time and resources to produce 'deliverables'. UNEG's wider membership is given an opportunity to comment on deliverables at the UNEG AGM before 'products' are finalized. See Current Work for more details on UNEG's Work Programme.
UNEG Norms and Standards
The UNEG Norms and Standards, published in April 2005, are the first concrete products produced by UNEG towards harmonization.
The UNEG Norms seek to facilitate system-wide collaboration on evaluation by ensuring that evaluation entities within the UN follow agreed-upon basic principles. They provide a reference for strengthening, professionalizing and improving the quality of evaluation in all entities of the United Nations system, including funds, programmes and specialized agencies. The norms are consistent with other main sources and reflect the singularity of the United Nations system, characterized by its focus on people and respect for their rights, the importance of international values and principles, universality and neutrality, its multiple stakeholders, its needs for global governance, its multidisciplinarity, and its complex accountability system. Last but not least, there is the challenge of international cooperation embedded in the Millennium Declaration and Development Goals.
The UNEG Standards build upon the Norms for Evaluation for the UN system and are drawn from best practice of UNEG members. They are intended to guide the establishment of the institutional framework, management of the evaluation function, conduct and use of evaluations. They are also a reference for the competencies of evaluation practitioners and work ethics, and are intended to be applied as appropriate within each organization. UNEG will periodically update, elaborate and expand the coverage of these standards in the service of the UN system organizations.
Both the UNEG Norms and Standards are available in six languages: English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese and Arabic.