• NEC Conference 2019 Workshops 20-10-19

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for multi-stakeholder partnerships for achieving the SDGs. The importance of promoting diverse partnerships and greater cooperation between Governments, civil society, Parliaments and the private sector to increase awareness and use of evaluations, was one of the key messages from the NEC 2015 Conference. Multi-stakeholder approaches to development are not new, and the SDGs seek to renew and strengthen the emphasis on multi-stakeholder approaches.

Multi-stakeholder approaches to development come with a number of complexities and challenges. What does this mean for evaluation practice? Are our current methodologies and approaches appropriate for dealing with the complexities of multi-stakeholder approaches? What capacities do we need to evaluate multi-stakeholder approaches?

This workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to explore and reflect on the practicalities of evaluating multi-stakeholder approaches to achieving the SDGs. This is a practical workshop where participants will develop terms of reference for an evaluation of a multi-stakeholder partnership. There is no ‘right way’ to design the evaluation, and so the learning will come from the engagement within the groups. From the discussions we expect to generate principles that evaluators can apply, and that will contribute to the final conference output.

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Multilateral development banks (MDBs) undertake interventions in developing countries through both the private and public sectors. MDB support to the public sector is still dominant, although private sector interventions have shown a steep growth over recent years. While public sector operations are often initiated by the MDBs in cooperation with national or local governments, private sector interventions involve corporate sponsors who control their project initiatives. The relationship of sponsors with the MDB is often long-term as the current client-oriented model and strategic intent of the two private sector-specialized institutions among the MDBs, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as well as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), indicate. The financial instruments to support the development of the private sector are mostly of a short to medium term nature. This workshop discusses the specificity and dynamics of private sector evaluation, thereby highlighting the methodological approaches and evaluation practices that are used by MDBs for this type of operations at the institutional and project levels.

The effectiveness of this universe of private sector interventions should not be judged by their financial return only. On the one hand, investment operations certainly entail a profitability angle, but the rationale for participation of the public sector in supporting them is rather based on their broader social returns. In other words, institutions intervening in this space do so with two sorts of bottom lines in mind: (i) financial and (ii) economic/social/environmental. For a view on the first, the market may suffice, for the combined effect, evaluation is indispensable.

The workshop will start with a presentation on methodologies used in private sector evaluation and compare them with public sector evaluation methodologies and practices. In this respect, more than 20 years of experience in developing good practice standards in the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) will be presented. To make the workshop as interactive as possible, two case studies will be presented. The main themes of the case studies will be the evaluation of financial intermediaries and evaluating direct equity investments. Finally, as learning from experience is one of the main features of development evaluation, the workshop will discuss adaptive learning as an institutional strategy.

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