Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE)
The Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE) is an independent body of the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), responsible for externally evaluating IDB’s projects and performance.
Since a reorganisation in 1999, the Board of Executive Directors mandated the OVE to conduct evaluations; produce oversight reviews of corporate strategy, processes and instruments; provide normative guidance on evaluation issues; and contribute to evaluation capacity building in the region. In recent years, the OVE has increased its efforts to improve evaluation training among regional governments (IDB 2016).
The OVE follows the guidelines and approaches of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) of the Multilateral Development Banks. In recent years, IDB has sought to improve the Bank’s project evaluation architecture through the design and adoption of a Development Effectiveness Matrix and a growing incorporation of impact evaluations in projects (IDB 2014, IDB 2016). For the IDB, evaluations are aimed at improving IDB’s development effectiveness as well as promoting institutional learning. This dual function is the foundation for four core principles that guide the OVE’s work (IDB 2016):
- • Evaluation must be constantly scrutinised for improvement.
- • It should provide useful feedback to IDB’s work.
- • It is only relevant if IDB learns from and applies the evaluation lessons.
- • It should measure outcomes, not just outputs.
Organisational Structure and Reporting Lines
The OVE is an independent unit, reporting directly to the Board of Executive Directors. It is headed by a Director, who does not participate in senior management meetings.
The OVE develops Annual Work Programmes that show planned evaluations and proposed budget in the coming year and an indicative list of evaluations for the following year. The work programmes are built around five areas: i) country programme evaluations; ii) sector and thematic evaluations; iii) project evaluations and impact evaluations; iu) corporate evaluations; and u) evaluation capacity building.
The OVE delivered the first Annual Report to the Board in early 2015. Its Annual Reports provide information on OVE evaluation findings, on validation results, and on the implementation of the OVE’s recommendations by Management (IDB 2014).
Types of Evaluation
- • Thematic evaluations
- • Organisational performance evaluations
- • Sector-wide evaluations
- • Programme evaluations
- • Country evaluations
- • Policy/strategy evaluations
- • Project/activity evaluations
IDB follows the OECD DAC criteria in evaluation planning and implementation.
The OVE comprises a team of 30 staff and a number of research fellows and consultants, totalling approximately 50 full-time staff. OVE staff are independent and report directly to the IDB’s Board of Executive Directors, who approves the office’s work programme on an annual basis.
The budget for 2015 amounted to EUR 8.2 million, approximately 1.3% of IDB’s administrative budget. OVE’s budget is a separate line item within the IDB; operational units fund decentralised evaluations from their respective budgets. Overall, the OVE’s budget and staffing have expanded about 25% over the past four to five years.
Principles of Evaluation Independence
The independence of OVE is secured through its institutional setup, as the office is a separate unit, reporting directly to the Board of Executive Directors. Efforts are made to ensure that OVE’s work is free from external influence at all stages of the process, including the planning of work programmes and budget, formulation of terms of reference, staffing of evaluation teams, execution of evaluations and approval of reports.
Competence and capacity building
OVE’s mandate covers external evaluation capacity development and the 2015-2016 work programme shows considerable focus on evaluation capacity development, both within IDB and with partners and country counterparts in the Latin American and Caribbean region. The OVE participates actively in the multi-donor Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) Initiative and is taking a lead role in supporting its activity in the region (IDB 2014). Internally, the OVE is consistently allocating budget resources to internal staff training (one week per staff).
Transparency and participation
The OVE shows significant commitment to outreach and transparency, which is supported by the Access to Information Policy that was enforced in 2011, upon approval by the IDB’s Board of Executive Directors in mid-2010. The general principle of the new policy is to publicly disclose information unless one of the ten exceptions listed in the policy is applicable—which has not occurred to date, according to IDB itself. Therefore, the documents and information produced by the OVE comply with the new policy, aimed at fostering transparency and dissemination. Following the policy, all OVE documents are made available to the public by default, an initiative which is underlined in the annual work programmes (IDB 2016, IDB 2014).
Likewise, management responses are dictated by internal policy, although the management team does not clear or approve the reports. Reports are submitted to the Policy and Evaluation Committee of the Board and afterwards to entire Board of Executive Directors.
The OVE’s website provides information on the unit, past and ongoing evaluations, as well as sources of further documentation on evaluation in the IDB. Since 2014, annual reports are being produced for internal knowledge sharing as well as external outreach purposes. The OVE and IDB Management are developing an online system endorsed by the Board of Executive Directors to track implementation of the OVE’s recommendations, learning from and building on evaluation experience (IDB 2014).
Co-ordination with donors and country recipients
Country partners are not systematically involved in setting evaluation plans or in reference groups for evaluations. During the past five years, one joint evaluation has been carried out in collaboration with other multilateral development banks.
To ensure quality, the OVE has set evaluation guidelines and also submits evaluations for internal OVE peer review, discussion with relevant bank technical and operational staff, and the Audit and Evaluation Committee of senior management.
Note to reader: The section at the beginning of Part II entitled “Introduction and key for the member profiles” provides explanatory notes on the profiles.