The organs of the United Nations Secretariat operate on biennial programme plans and the vision of their activities is set out in the Strategic Framework, a key policy document. A core planning tool, the ESCWA Strategic Framework is based on regional priorities and mandates, and responds to the needs of its 14 member countries. The project frameworks for the seven subprogrammes, which devise strategy and set out objectives, expected accomplishments and indicators of achievement, are formulated with the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders. The second core planning tool for the Commission is the development of the programme budget. Calculation and justification of the resources necessary for the achievement of the planned output are based on the objectives and expected accomplishments as set out in the logical framework.
Following extensive consultation with member countries, both the strategic framework and programme budget are approved by the United Nations General Assembly.
The ESCWA technical cooperation strategy and extrabudgetary programmes are designed to support and enhance the objectives of the biennial Strategic Framework. ESCWA also develops yearly work plans to manage the implementation of its programme of work.
Implementation and Monitoring
Throughout the monitoring cycle, ESCWA reports on the implementation of its programme of work through an online reporting system, the Integrated Monitoring and Documentation Information System (IMDIS), used throughout the United Nations Secretariat. As a complement to IMDIS, ESCWA is the first organ of the Secretariat to develop an internal performance management system for cost accounting to monitor, compare and assess the level of programme performance in relation to the resources provided.
ESCWA is a member of the United Nations Evaluation Group and adheres to the guiding principles of the Standards and Norms for Evaluation in the United Nations System. These principles guide the establishment of the institutional framework, management of the evaluation function, and the conduct and use of evaluations. The norms seek to facilitate system-wide collaboration on evaluation and provide a reference for strengthening, professionalizing and improving the quality of evaluation throughout the United Nations system.
The purpose of evaluation at ESCWA is to promote a culture of innovation, constantly adapting to the changing environment in our region and ensuring that the work and resources of the organization continue to have an optimal impact on the people of its member countries. ESCWA has therefore developed an evaluation policy in line with United Nations principles, which is regularly reviewed in the light of progress on United Nations reform.
The ESCWA evaluation policy is implemented and assessed through two principal documents:
1. The Programme Performance Report, a mandatory self-evaluation of the implementation by ESCWA of its Strategic Framework. Based on information provided by the substantive programmes in IMDIS, it is submitted to the United Nations Department of Management at the end of each biennium.
2. The Annual Report on Evaluation, a new publication first issued in April 2011, analyses discretionary self-evaluations undertaken during the year and make recommendations for the enhancement of performance at the organizational level.
Continuous Learning and Improvement
Committed to building its reputation on its successes, ESCWA acknowledges the importance of continuing to identify and address potential areas for improvement. Continuous learning and improvement utilize programme performance information for purposes of accountability, knowledge sharing and decision-making. Inherent to the learning process at ESCWA is the identification of lessons from past experience and their incorporation into future working practices. ESCWA therefore develops formal management responses to the evaluations conducted, and the substantive programmes review recommendations and monitor agreed actions on a regular basis in collaboration with PPTCD.