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Solutions welcomed to measure Commonwealth impact on SDGs

8 May 2019

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has welcomed new recommendations to enhance the impact of the Commonwealth’s work towards sustainable development.

Commonwealth Evaluation and Learning Week was held last week at the Secretariat’s headquarters in London. It highlighted the need for better planning, monitoring and evaluation of Commonwealth programmes, including closer alignment with member countries’ priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Commonwealth project managers, experts, partners and country representatives spent a week looking at how to create a “culture of evaluation” in the Secretariat, to ensure development actions are effective and meaningful.

Addressing delegates on the final day of sessions, the Secretary-General said: “You have explored how we can create a culture for evaluation by strengthening systems and practices and distilled your discussions into concrete proposals.

“We look forward to continuing this conversation so that together we can deliver on our mandates and achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda.”

The meeting urged the Commonwealth’s senior management team to make decisions based on evaluative evidence while also creating a safe place where people can learn and innovate.

Delegates also called for improved coordination and communication with member states, through partnership frameworks in each country.

They recommended the Secretariat work closely with other Commonwealth organisations to build stronger, more visible evaluative evidence showing how their development work aids progress on national plans and SDGs.

The Secretary-General added: “By identifying distinctive Commonwealth contributions that can be made, and clearly defining how to achieve the change we want to see, collaboration and co-creation with our member states and key stakeholders will become more focussed and effective.”

A proposed plan of action drawn up by participants will be discussed with staff and senior management over the coming weeks, to define a collective path forward for the organisation.

The Commonwealth Evaluation and Learning Week was the first of its kind, aimed at strengthening the monitoring, evaluation and learning system of the secretariat, while also meeting the needs of member states, including their aspirations to achieve the SDGs.