Thematic Areas: Evaluations of Humanitarian Response

OCHA conducts evaluations to promote transparency, accountability and learning through systematic and objective judgments about the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and impact of humanitarian interventions.

To ensure credibility, transparency and independence, all evaluations in OCHA are conducted by external experts. All evaluations include a formal management response, which addresses recommendations and identifies follow-up action responsibility.

Evaluations in OCHA may be externally or internally mandated.

External evaluations  

OCHA manages system-wide humanitarian evaluations mandated by the United Nations General Assembly, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, or the Emergency Relief Coordinator, focusing on issues such as:

  • Thematic and country-specific policy and operational performance of the humanitarian system as a whole, e.g. the cluster approach, Haiti earthquake, or Pakistan floods
  • Common humanitarian financing mechanisms, e.g. the Central Emergency Response Fund
  • Joint humanitarian impacts to learn about the effects of humanitarian intervention

Country-specific evaluations may also be initiated at the request of the Humanitarian Coordinator or the Humanitarian Country Team, based on their own management needs.

Internal evaluations

Internal evaluations focus on OCHA’s internal performance and are usually undertaken at the request of the Emergency Relief Coordinator.

OCHA also undertakes reviews that analyse a particular task or theme covered by workplan activities.  Reviews often use similar methods as evaluations and are undertaken by external consultants.

Lessons-learned reviews

Lessons-Learned Reviews help the organization and partners learn from experience, and to incorporate these lessons into future activities, programming and institutional memory. They take the form of participatory exercises led by a facilitator. These exercises are held once an emergency situation has stabilized and include the key parties involved in the emergency operation (agencies, donors, NGOs, Governments, representatives of the affected population).  

Providing Guidance

The Guidance Management Unit develops internal normative policy guidance on OCHA’s work to ensure greater organizational coherence and professionalism. In this way OCHA clarifies corporate positions on the scope of its work from the onset to the recovery stage of a crisis, and once complete this guidance is mainstreamed into programming through in-country adaptation workshops. 

Policy guidance comes in the form of Policy Instructions (e.g. on the role and responsibilities of OCHA country offices), Standard Operating Procedures (e.g. on the development of partnerships with corporations), guidelines (e.g. on management response and follow-up to evaluations), and handbooks, e.g. for communications officers.

Audits of OCHA

OCHA is subject to internal oversight by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) as stipulated by General Assembly (GA) resolutions 48/218B and ST/SGB/273.  The OIOS Internal Audit Division (IAD) examines the way OCHA manages internal processes to assess whether they are working efficiently and effectively, as well as reviewing compliance with regulations and rules, and makes recommendations for improvement. At the completion of an audit, the results and recommendations are provided in a final audit report.

Access to OIOS Reports

As per GA resolution 59/272, original versions of OIOS reports that are not submitted to the GA are made available to any Member State upon request. The resolution further provides that when access to a report would be inappropriate for reasons of confidentiality or the risk of violating the due process rights of individuals involved in administrative proceedings within the Organisation, the report may be modified, or withheld in extraordinary circumstances, at the discretion of the Under-Secretary-General for OIOS, who will provide reasons for this to the requesting party. A list of all OIOS reports submitted to the GA may be accessed on the OIOS website.

The United States Permanent Mission to the UN requests copies of all OIOS audit reports and publishes them on their website.

More>> Download list of OIOS audit reports on OCHA (2007-2012)