United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is a Secretariat Office, established in 1997. In line with the UNODC Strategy 2021-2025, UNODC’s mission is to contribute to global peace and security, human rights, and development by making the world safer from drugs, crime, and terrorism by working for and with Member States to promote justice and the rule of law and build resilient societies.

The important and complementary mandates of UNODC distinguish the Office from others in the same field: serving as the guardian of international conventions and the secretariat to global policy bodies; providing strong research and policy analysis; and combining global expertise and a wide field presence to provide specialized assistance to Member States.

UNODC is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, As of January 2023, UNODC field office network includes more than 2,500 people working in 98 countries (in 137 physical locations), under the lead of 18 fully established Field Offices headed by UNODC Representatives. 






Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function

The Independent Evaluation Section (IES) is responsible for carrying out the evaluation function at UNODC. IES is functionally and operationally independent, and the Head of IES reports directly on the achievements, challenges and opportunities as identified in participatory, independent, inclusive, human rights, gender-responsive and utilization-focused evaluations at strategic, programme and project levels to the Executive Director, as well as presents evaluation results directly to Member States. 

IES aims at contributing to improved accountability, evaluation-based decision-making, and organizational learning of UNODC in response to drugs, crime, and terrorism. 

The work of the Section comprises four pillars: (a) evaluation capacity development, including support to UNODC staff in strengthening its capacity for planning, implementing and using evaluations, national evaluation capacity, as well as the development of evaluation guidelines, templates and tools; (b) evaluation results of strategies, programmes and projects; (c) knowledge management, communication and innovation, including innovative knowledge products such as meta-syntheses, also as joint system-wide meta-syntheses developed together with partners of other organizations; and (d) management and cross-cutting activities.

Ensuring fully inclusive and participatory evaluations is of outmost priority for IES. In support of these efforts, IES has taken measures to mainstream gender, human rights and inclusivity throughout its work, for instance through developing guidance for evaluators, including new guidance on inclusive, gender-responsive and human rights sensitive evaluations.


Promoting a Culture of Evaluation within the UN System

IES represents UNODC in UNEG and other evaluation networks, events and forums, as appropriate; and coordinates and complements the efforts of oversight functions, both at UNODC headquarters and in the field. As an active partner of UNEG, IES contributes to the continuous development of UNEG’s standards and norms as part of the Working Groups on Gender Equality, Human Rights and Disability. 

Together with other evaluation functions across the UN system, IES also continuously invests in various initiatives, testing innovative approaches and sharing lessons learned, building new partnerships in the UN system. 

As an example, IES in consultation with the UN Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) finalized in 2022 the first ever joint system-wide meta-synthesis of work under the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, allowing for learning beyond entities. This exercise forms part of a larger strategy to enhance cooperation between with other UN organizations on evaluation in the context of preventing and countering terrorism (CT) and violent extremism (PCVE), This includes that IES, on behalf of UNODC, is leading the Sub-Group on Evaluation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Compact Coordination Committee Working Group on Resource Mobilisation, Monitoring and Evaluation, with UNOCT and UNICRI as co-chairs. The Sub-Group is involved in the development of a Joint UN/EU Compendium on “Good Practices in Evaluating and Monitoring Results of CT and PCVE initiative”, as well as the coordination of the first joint evaluation of the Counter-Terrorism Travel Programme.








  • Evaluation Policy
    • UNODC's Evaluation Policy (fully revised in 2022) is available online through  UNODC evaluation webpage 

  • Priorities
    • Independent, impartial
    • Transparent and participatory
    • Utilization-focused
    • Conforms to internationally accepted standards
    • Professionally conducted and credible
    • Mainstreams and contributes to gender equality, human rights and the principle of leaving no one behind
    • Environmentally and socially sustainable
    • Ethical


  • Human Resources
    • Chief: F
    • Evaluator : F=1;  M=2
    • Associate Experts: M=2
    • Support staff : F=3
    • No decentralized evaluation staff in the field


  • Evaluations produced in 2023 (with some still ongoing in August 2023):
    • 17 (11 Independent Project Evaluations + 3 in-depth evaluations + 1 joint evaluation led by IES + 1 meta-evaluation + 1 meta-synthesis)




IES is responsible for carrying out the evaluation function at UNODC. IES is functionally and operationally independent, and the Head of IES reports directly on the achievements, challenges and opportunities as identified in participatory, independent, inclusive, human rights, gender-responsive and utilization-focused evaluations at strategic, programme and project levels to the Executive Director, as well as presents evaluation results directly to Member States. 




Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

UNODC undertakes various types of evaluation, including programme-based, thematic and cross-cutting. In line with its role, mandate and evaluation capacity, UNODC most commonly conducts independent project evaluations, in-depth evaluations and strategic evaluations. Decisions about the type of evaluation to be conducted, including the possibility of grouping several related project or programme evaluations together into a single cluster evaluation, are made by IES, in consultation with the relevant UNODC unit and stakeholders. 

In line with its revised Evaluation Policy (2022), the UNODC annual evaluation plans are prepared by IES in consultation with the Executive Director, senior management and Member States, with inputs from UNODC divisions and relevant branches, sections and field offices.

In the preparation of the UNODC annual evaluation plans, consideration is given to: (a) the need to undertake at least one evaluation of each UNODC subprogramme thematic area every six years, irrespective of the source of funding; (b) the usefulness of evaluations for senior management decision-making and information needs; and (c) the resources, time and capacity available for evaluation.

Evaluation planning should encompass all stages of the evaluation process, from resource allocation to the use of evaluation results, in line with IES’ evaluation guidelines and templates. In order to ensure that evaluation funds have been secured as required, the project or programme manager must consult the Section before the approval or revision of any project or programme at UNODC and use the Section’s evaluation budget matrix tool for independent evaluations.

Stakeholder Involvement and Promoting National Ownership

Relevant evaluation stakeholders are mapped and consulted throughout the entire evaluation process (including during the inception, design and implementation of evaluations, and the reporting and dissemination of evaluation results) with a view to gender, disability and human rights considerations. Information on the evaluation approach, design and methodology is further shared throughout the process. This is essential for the credibility, quality and utility of the evaluation and facilitates consensus-building and ownership of the findings and recommendations.

Moreover, Member States are invited to participate actively in evaluations, for example as core learning partners, in order to widen the ownership and use of evaluation results.











Quality Assurance


IES provides oversight and quality assurance throughout the evaluation process for all independent evaluations undertaken within UNODC. All independent evaluations must be carried out using the Section’s evaluation guidance, templates and tools (including its website and evaluation web-based tool). 

All key evaluation deliverables, including terms of reference, inception reports, evaluation reports and follow-up plans for evaluation recommendations, must be cleared by the Section.

Independent project evaluations are commissioned and supported by project or programme managers of UNODC and are conducted by independent external evaluators, with IES’ oversight, supervision and guidance. The role of the Section is to support the process, review and clear all deliverables, and provide quality assurance and guidance to managers and evaluators throughout the process. 

In-depth evaluations are independent evaluations commissioned and managed by IES but conducted by external independent evaluators with the Section’s full engagement and oversight, in collaboration with UNODC management at headquarters and field offices.

Independent strategic evaluations are evaluations commissioned and managed by IES that assess issues of key strategic significance or relevance for UNODC at the programme or subprogramme level.

Furthermore, to ensure independent evaluations provide credible information for evidence-based programming, IES has commissioned independent external evaluation quality assessment since 2014, where each evaluation report is reviewed and assessed by a team of independent external consultants. This assessment also includes the review and scoring of the Integration of Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women for UN-SWAP Evaluation Performance Indicators.


Use of Evaluation

Evaluations require an explicit response and commitment to act upon any subsequent recommendations from the respective authorities and managers. The management of UNODC systematically plans for and monitors the implementation of evaluation recommendations. Upon completion of each evaluation, the manager responsible develops the response and follow-up plan to evaluation recommendations. 

In order to ensure the development of evaluation management responses and to track and update the implementation status of recommendations, IES provides related templates, guidelines and tools.

Key evaluation findings are further disseminated to internal and external stakeholders - including through the innovative evaluation management application Unite Evaluations (which is used for all phases and processes of UNODC evaluations) - contributing to enhanced utilization of evaluation results for programme design, planning and implementation. IES also presents evaluation findings, to Member States on a regular basis and key evaluation products are made publicly accessible.  

IES also carries out meta-syntheses aimed at increasing knowledge and awareness of recurring recommendations and lessons learned from evaluations and other oversight results, as well as at increasing the utility of evaluation results on topics relating to drugs, crime and terrorism, both within UNODC and beyond.





Joint Evaluation

Joint evaluations are undertaken by UNODC with other international organizations, including UN Secretariat entities, on cross-cutting areas, including those that contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, with coordination by OIOS as required, in line with administrative instruction ST/AI/2021/3.

For example, in 2023, IES led, together with the UN Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT), the Joint Evaluation of the global UN Countering Terrorist Travel Programme (CTTP). The programme envisaged capacity building support to Member States to enable them to develop Passenger Information Units within which Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record data could be legally housed and analysed. The evaluation found that the programme delivers well in meeting the technical and structural requirements for coherent cooperation and collaboration and has been identified as an excellent example of the “One-UN” approach.

In addition, in 2023, IES contributed to the Joint Evaluation on the UN Development Account, 10thTranche Project 1617A, the Programme on Statistics and Data. The Programme created the Global Network of Data Officers and Statisticians which received positive feedback, further speaking well to the sustainability of the impacts of the initiative.

In 2022, IES contributed, (together with UNAIDS, WHO and UNESCO) to the Joint Evaluation on UNAIDS: UN Joint Programme on AIDS’ work with key populations (2018-2021). The evaluation found that the Joint Programme is a well-respected body that has been instrumental in developing and supporting key population responses but its role as an advocate for human rights and related legislative changes is perceived to have reduced.


Promoting Learning and Evaluation Skills

IES focuses on supporting UNODC staff at HQ and field offices through enhanced Evaluation Capacity Development (ECD) to strengthen then use of evaluation results and further the nexus between evaluation and UNODC mandates on drugs, crime and terrorism. This includes information sessions for UNODC projects managers and evaluation focal points on the revised UNODC Evaluation Policy and evaluation processes. IES also engages with the Strategic Planning and Interagency Affairs Unit (SPIA) at UNODC on a joint collaboration on trainings on monitoring and evaluation to UNODC staff, including on the use of evaluation results.

IES revised the UNODC Evaluation Policy in 2022, ensuring that UNODC continues to be a learning organization in which decisions are built on evidence and critical self-reflection to support the implementation of the UNODC Strategy 2021-2025. To implement the new Evaluation Policy, IES revised the Independent Project Evaluation process to become more focused and shorter, while fully meeting requirements for evaluation within the UN as regards independence and credibility. The new process will help project managers to receive more timely and useful evaluation results to support evidence-based programming, continued learning and accountability.

Moreover, IES works closely with UNODC’s field office network and UN Resident Coordinators in offering technical assistance to support national evaluation capacity (NEC).  In line with the 2014 UNGA resolution on Strengthening National Evaluation Capacity (A/RES/69/237) and the 2023 UNGA resolution on Strengthening Voluntary National Reviews through Country-led Evaluation (A/RES/77/283), IES will engage in further NEC-related activities. Given best practices and lessons learned from IES’ prior NEC efforts on an innovative collaboration with the Kingdom of Morocco in 2016-2019 - in 2023, IES will continue developing evaluation tools and guidance, sharing knowledge, providing capacity building and continuously contributing to the Working Group on NEC of UNEG.






UNEG Members

Christopher Choueiri

Associate Evaluation Officer, UNODC

Emanuel Lohninger


Independent Evaluation Unit

Katharina Kayser


Moritz Schuberth

Evaluation Officer, UNODC

Fact Sheet