IPDET Conducts First On-Site Training for Parliamentarians and Parliament Staff in Asia Pacific: “Better Policymaking Through Evaluations”
At the end of March, GEI’s Implementing Partner, the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET), conducted its first on-site training on evaluation for parliamentarians and parliament staff from Asia Pacific. The training, “Better Policy Making Through Evaluations,” built upon a virtual workshop series held by IPDET in October/November 2021 for the Asia Pacific parliamentarians and is part of IPDET’s Global Outreach Strategy.
The March on-site training was held in partnership with the Asia Pacific Evaluation Association (APEA), Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation (GPFE), and Asia Pacific Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation (APPFE), and was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka for 46 participants from 18 countries.
The four-day training was conceived in recognition of the increasing use of evaluations not only as a key administrative tool for the executive branch, but also as a fundamental instrument of policy processes. The training aimed to provide participants with essential knowledge and tools to be able to actively use evaluative evidence in parliamentary debates, better justify policy decisions to the public, strengthen oversight roles, and fulfill constitutional duties.
The attendees showed great enthusiasm when discussing the opportunities that evaluation offers in policymaking. They also actively participated in solving work tasks during the training, analyzing practical case studies, and taking part in a simulated parliamentary debate.
The participants were extremely satisfied with the training, as documented by the positive results of the post-training questionnaire. It was clear that not only did the training help to cement the benefits of evaluation for parliamentary work, but that the participants will begin using evaluations in their real political practice.
There are positive signs that the virtual and on-site trainings conducted by IPDET may have a catalytic effect on the region’s parliamentary processes. For example:
APEA has planned follow-up activities to further engage parliamentarians in the region. For instance, the APPFE is planning to raise awareness and promote knowledge about the importance of using evidence generated by evaluation - for oversight, policy and decision-making - through webinars and conferences. A regional consultation on National Evaluation Policies (NEP) is in the pipeline at the 4th APEA Conference scheduled for December 2023. A session at the Parliament (House of Representatives) of the Philippines is also being planned as part of the conference.
The training participants showed motivation to implement the knowledge and experience gained in the workshop in their own parliaments, as was reflected in the results of the final questionnaire:
- 90% of respondents stated that they want to convince their (parliamentary) colleagues of the usefulness of the evaluation.
- Around three quarters want to use evaluation results for decision-making in the future, demand that evaluations be carried out or anchor evaluation clauses in new laws and decrees.
The interest in anchoring evaluation clauses in new laws and decrees contributes directly to GEI’s mission of helping to strengthen national monitoring and evaluations systems, which cannot succeed without the involvement of the legislature. The shift towards evidence-based and rational governance requires a legislative foundation, not just executive support. Parliamentarians can utilize evaluation results for their debates and decision-making, and they can also play a vital role in promoting evidence-based policies by enacting evaluation laws or incorporating evaluation clauses into existing laws.
The importance of evaluation was also emphasized by the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana:
“The participatory, inclusive, and consultative process undertaken by the parliamentary select committee on evaluation (PSC) in drafting the National Evaluation Law is commendable and reflects ownership and broad stakeholder participation. Also, critical to promoting evidence-based policymaking is capacity building for the Parliamentary Research Department to provide evaluation findings to parliamentarians. Few parliaments around the world have experience institutionalizing evaluation, and our Parliament is now one of them. Therefore, I pledge our commitment to making Parliament a place for evidence-based policymaking.”
Sri Lankan Opposition leader, Hon. Sajith Premadasa, called on the Government to commission evaluations to present the results to parliamentarians and stressed the importance of working together for the goal of evidence-based policymaking:
“We have set out on the road to a culture of evaluation, but we still have a long way to go. Let us pull together to achieve sustainable development through a strong evidence-based policy-system. I see this event as a big step in promoting evaluation culture to move the country forward.”
For more information on the training, please visit the IPDET website.