The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), in collaboration with the Ghana Monitoring & Evaluation Forum (GMEF), UNICEF and Africa Evaluation Association (AfrEA) has launched National Evaluation year in Ghana.NDPC and UNICEF
The launch was under the theme: “Strengthening Evaluation for better development results in Ghana”,

The United Nations has declared 2015 the International Year of Evaluation (EvaIYear). And each UN Member country is expected to undertake activities to mark the occasion, with a focus on highlighting the relevance of Evaluation in policy management and ensuring better development results.

It is, therefore, important for countries, including Ghana as a UN member state, to use this time to advocate and promote evaluation and evidence-based policy.

Besides, the EvaIYear 2015, will create an opportunity for Ghana to promote demand and use of evaluation in policy-making among government, civil society organizations and parliamentarians.

In his key note address, a Former Rector, GIMPA Professor. Stephen Adei, noted that designating 2015 as the International Year of Evaluation not only recognizes the importance of evaluation in the development process but more importantly there was the need to advocate and promote evaluation and evidence-based policy at International, National, Regional and Local levels.
Adding that to enhance national development results the major area to strengthen is evaluation.

“Monitoring has to do with the tracking of progress of a programme, project or activity during their implementation vis-a-vis set objectives.

Monitoring will ensure at best that the project or programme objectives are achieved and implementation was on schedule but it will not by itself answer whether the project was good for national development in the first place or whether the outcome positively impacts national progress” he explained.

Without evaluation one cannot appreciate the extent of the good work that is being done and how to do better or assess the irrelevance of some development interventions as well as how to do things differently in future.

Evaluation results and the evidence thereby have become necessary and essential components of the development process in facilitating the formulation of sound policies, changing those that are not working and promoting good economic and political governance.

It cannot be over emphasized that evaluation is a win-win tool for the government to achieve enhanced impact of it development efforts; promote greater benefits and positive impacts on beneficiaries; and a major accelerator of national development.

?I must hasten to say that corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are the only ones who will not like to support a good monitoring and evaluation system in the country because it invariably exposes corruption and does not leave the efficiency of projects and programmes to FM radio debates among political ideologues meant to confuse and blindfold voters for parochial political earns”, stated unequivocally.

The Majority Leader in Parliament and MP for Nadowli Constituency Hon. Alban S.K. Bagbin, stressed the need for developing systems, procedures, policies and programs, legislations and institutions that would help report on how much progress has been towards the attainment the long term-term national vision.

This he said, the constitution has assigned Parliament the responsibility of overseeing the Executive arm of Government to ensure that the vision is fulfilled and development results inures to the benefit of the people.
“Our work in the Parliament then is to ensure that there is demonstrable value in every cedi spent by Government; no woman or child dies during child birth; Public security and safety guaranteed; social cohesion and national integration; peace and happiness and that every Ghanaian has the opportunity to live a long live, productive and meaningful life”, he said.

He therefore commended NDPC, for collaborating with other relevant bodies as part of efforts to promote the demand and use of monitoring and evaluation results.

And also building the capacities of national institutions, including Parliament, for effective policy decision-making and national development. According to him, Parliament will further collaborate with NDPC to vigorously promote the demand and use of evaluation in policy – making.
“Let me assure NDPC and partners in this enterprise that Parliament is ready and willing to provide the collaboration and support needed to ensure that a national policy formulated and a results- based system developed”,.

The UN Resident Coordinator Christine Evans-Klock, noted that 2015, promises to be a momentous year for the United Nations and its member states, as they anticipate the close of the Millennium Development Goals and welcome a new vision and agenda for the post-2015 era.
Evaluation will be instrumental in shaping their decisions for post 2015 because it generates evidence of what works and why.

Adding that, Evaluations can provide compelling evidence that can help guide decision-makers at all levels in making difficult policy choices.
Besides, Evaluation enables leaders and civil society to develop and support better policies, and implement them more effectively.

Evaluation is also very important in enabling leaders to report to their constituents honestly, with evidence, about the impact of their decisions, and listen to feedback from diverse groups of stakeholders.
“The UN system is committed to continue its work in strengthening evaluation here in Ghana and to provide technical support the Government and other partners where we can. Let us make 2015 the year when evaluation is put at the centre of policy making, and let us make 2015 the year when evaluation will help shape the development agenda in Ghana.” She assured.

By: Isaac Kofi Dzokpo/NewsGhana.com.gh

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