Editorial comment: Thanks to ECDG’s Board Chair, Craig Russon, for sharing his thoughts on a results framework for the Sustainable Development Goals.
I recently attended the UNDP and IDEAS-sponsored fourth International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities 28-30 October 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand.
One of the main themes of the conference was the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
I am sure you have heard by now that the SDGs are an intergovernmental set of aspirations – 17 goals designed to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.
ECDG strongly supports the SDGs. We like the idea of have lofty aspirations that will help to create the world in which we all want to live.
My understanding is that 169 targets, covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, have been linked to the SDGs.
Furthermore, my understanding is that indicators are being developed to measure progress towards the targets. The indicators will be ready by March 2016 and there could be hundreds of them.
This is somewhat of a concern to me because this kind of goes against the way that I train people on principles of Results-based Management (RBM).
I usually teach people that they should first set strategic goals for their interventions. Next, one develops indicators to measure progress towards those goals.
The first time that the indicators are measured, that is the baseline. Finally, adding the amount of desired improvement, as a result of the intervention, to the baselines gives one the targets.
The fact that the targets of the SDGs were defined before the indicators were developed seems to me to be temporally out of sequence.
In addition, the way that I teach RBM yields a one-to-one correspondence between indicators and targets (for every indicator there is a target; 300 indicators—three hundred targets).
So while ECDG welcomes the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, we do have some concerns about the Results Framework that countries will be given to measure progress towards the goals.
It is possible that I have misunderstood something along the way. If so, I invite one of our friends from UNDP or EvalPartners to write a guest blog and correct me. Craig