United Nations Institute for Training and Research

United Nations Institute for Training and Research

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. Established in 1965 pursuant to a United Nations General Assembly resolution, UNITAR aims to strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations through appropriate training and research. UNITAR’s mission is to develop capacities of individuals, organizations and institutions to enhance global decision-making and to support country-level action for shaping a better future. The key thematic areas in which UNITAR operates include strengthening multilateralism, promoting economic development and social inclusion, advancing environmental sustainability and green development, promoting peace and post conflict reconstruction, and increasing resilience and disaster reduction capabilities. Approximately two thirds of UNITAR’s programming relate to learning outcomes. The Institute’s present budget is $48.5 million, which is mobilized entirely through voluntary contributions.

Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function

The evaluation function is performed at the central and decentralized levels, and is guided by the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Policy Framework and a set of guidance documents and tools.

The Planning, Performance and Results Section is the custodian of the evaluation function. The section works to strengthen the Institute’s accountability framework, programme effectiveness and efficiency and organizational learning. In addition to performing a number of corporate monitoring and reporting functions, the section undertakes three to four independent evaluations yearly.

Parallel to the central unit and in accordance with the policy framework, all UNITAR programmes and offices undertake project and activity level evaluations unless an independent evaluation is required by the donor.


Evaluation Policy

The current M&E Policy Framework was promulgated in 2012 and is the key UNITAR reference point for monitoring and evaluation undertakings. The framework includes references to guiding norms, principles and standards, criteria and categories, as well as evaluation and reporting requirements.


  • Increasing the number and regularity of independent evaluations
  • Strengthening the decentralized evaluation and learning functions 

Human Resources devoted to the evaluation function (reference 2015)

  • Central unit: 1.5 (full time)*
  • Decentralized level: (10 part time, variable)
    • *A full-time evaluation staff member is expected to join the section in September 2015.

Evaluations produced/planned (reference 2015)

  • Central unit: 4
  • Decentralized level: Variable. Most project/activity completion reports include an evaluation component.

Key resources:

  • M&E Policy Framework (presently under review)


The Planning, Performance and Results Section is located within the Office of the Executive Director and is structurally and functionally independent from programme management. The Institute’s evaluation function is, however, only partially independent in so far as most evaluations are performed by programmes and offices through the decentralized, self-evaluation function.

Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

At the central level, evaluations are planned in conjunction with the biennial programme budget and results framework, with the specific subjects of evaluations selected on the basis of strategic priorities. At the decentralized level, evaluations are built into the work planning of the Institute’s programme and offices and are implemented as part of the project cycle.

UNITAR is actively pursuing the possibility of contributing to the implementation of the General Assembly resolution 69/237 on national evaluation capacity development.

Quality Assurance

The M&E Policy Framework is supported by a set of guidance documents. The Planning, Performance and Results Section also undertakes a quality at entry review of projects and samples self-evaluation reports for peer reviews. With regard to programming events related to learning outcomes, the Institute’s Quality Assurance Framework includes two standards related to evaluation and follow-up on evaluation recommendations.

Use of Evaluation

Use of evaluation is ensured through programme follow-up to recommendations and lessons learned. All independent evaluations require a management response and timeframe for action on recommendations.

While centralized and decentralized evaluations should include recommendations and lessons-learned, the use of evaluations is at the present time limited (apart from recommendations). Efforts underway to strengthen evaluation use through improved knowledge management and organizational learning practices.

Joint Evaluation

Joint evaluations are undertaken mostly in connection with donor partners for large-scale, multiple year capacity development projects.

UNEG Members

Berin McKenzie

Specialist, UNITAR

Brook Boyer

Head of Planning, Performance and Results Section, UNITAR

Claudia Croci


Katinka Koke

Associate Programme Officer, Planning Performance and Results Section (PPRS), UNITAR

Sueli Giorgetta

Manager, UNITAR

Fact Sheet