International Trade Centre
International Trade Centre
The mission of the International Trade Centre (ITC) is to foster sustainable growth and development through trade and international business development. ITC is the joint agency of UN and WTO tasked with promoting private sector development through international trade, and fostering SME growth is at the heart of its mandate. ITC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014.
ITC supports institutions, policymakers and SMEs in developing countries to make better-informed business decisions by providing, free of charge, relevant and reliable trade and market information tailored to their needs and building the capacity of partners to use this business information.
The six focus areas of ITC's strategic plan 2015-2017 are:
- Trade and market intelligence for SME competitiveness
- Supporting regional economic integration and South-South links
- Connecting to value chains: SME competitiveness, diversification and links to export markets
- Strengthening trade and investment support institutions
- Promoting and mainstreaming inclusive and green trade
- Building a conducive business environment
In 2014, ITC reported a total expenditure of USD 89 million, with 104 active projects in 96 countries. As development results of ITC, in 2014, about 957 enterprises met potential buyers and transacted business, 35 export development strategies were endorseds by national coutnerparts, 416 trade support institutions improved their services or management capacities, and 427 000 users registered for ITC's Market Analysis Tools.
By the end of 2014, ITC had 306 staff members representing 79 nationalities; among staff members, women accounted for 55 per cent.
The Evaluation Unit is the custodian of the evaluation function at ITC. It is responsible for evaluation planning, implementation, quality assurance, and promotion of good practice for evaluation management, and maintaining a publicly accessible repository of evaluations (www.intracen.org/itc/about/how-itc-works/evaluation). In 2015, ITC released a new Evaluation Policy, taking into consideration the new strategic directions of the organization and the recent developments in evaluation methodology and function development promoted by UNEG.
The Evaluation Unit conducts independent evaluations of ITC's policies, strategies, functions and operations, and supports self-evaluations. In addition to the individual evaluation reports, the Unit also publishes Annual Evaluation Synthesis Report to convey the main learning themes and emerging issues extracted from evaluation findings.
The Unit is housed in the Office of the Executive Director (OED), brought under the umbrella of the Section of Strategic Planning Performance and Governance. The ED maintains overall supervisory responsibility of the Unit and is responsible for appointing staff and verifying that key principles of evaluation are enforced. In 2014, there are three full time professional staff member with the Unit.
The main work areas of the Evaluation Unit are:
- Conducting independent evaluations and follow-up on evaluation recommendations;
- providing advisory services on monitoring and reporting to operational units;
- Participating and/or coordinating work with UNEG, OIOS and JIU on evaluation matters.
Promoting a culture of evaluation in-house
With regard to internal capacity-building, The Unit builds knowledge of good practice standards and approaches for self-evaluation management in ITC to increase staff capacity to think in 'evaluative' terms, thereby promoting an evaluation-based learning culture. The Unit also plays a capacity-building role in the field of the evaluation of trade-related technical assistance. It strengthens countries' evaluation capacity and their involvement in evaluations through country-led evaluations using in-country professional resources.
- Head of Unit: M
- One Evaluation Officer (M),
- one Associate Evaluation Officer (F)
- •Decentralized evaluation staff: None
Evaluations produced per year by the central unit and by decentralized units in 2014.
- Annual Evaluation Synthesis Report
- 2 independent evaluations completed in 2014
- 3 other evaluations initiated in 2014 and to be carried out in 2015
- A paper on Impact at Agency Level 2014, based on client survey
Since 2012, the Head of the Evaluation Unit has reported to the Head of the Strategic Planning Performance and Governance Section, Office of the Executive Director.
The head of Unit has the authority to sign off on and distribute evaluation reports to the governing body and/or executive head without prior clearance from other parties within or outside the Organisation. He also has control over evaluation expenditure.
Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning
The Evaluation Unit updates each year the work programme, including a budget, for the current year and a prospective plan for the second year. The annual work programme shall be prepared based on consultation and a priority-setting process. The work programme comprises a mix of different types of evaluations and accompanying advisory services, and the work programme shall link resource requirements to expected achievements and deliverables.
In preparing work programme, the selection criteria and priority setting shall take into consideration of the results of a risk assessment, alignment to ITC’s strategic plan, proportion of ITC’s investments, maturity of the operations, value of innovation and learning, potential for future strategic development, rigor of theory of change, timeliness, etc.
The draft annual work programme is prepared by the Evaluation Unit in consultation with the ITC Management, and then submitted to the Senior Management Committee (SMC) for approval. The evaluation work programme will be detailed in the annual Operational Plan of ITC.
The SMC, management decision-making body of ITC, approves the Annual Evaluation Work Programme. The SMC ensures adequate resources for evaluation and safeguards the independence of the evaluation function.
In preparing the Annual Evaluation Programme, the Evaluation Unit takes into account the options submitted by Divisional Directors, key issues arising from the Operational and Strategic Plans, advice and guidelines from UN or UNEG, and comments or recommendations emerging from the Joint Advisory Group (JAG) of ITC. The membership of the JAG is open to Member States of UNCTAD and Members of WTO. JAG has neither legislative nor budgetary authority, yet it has come to be the main intergovernmental policy forum in the ITC.
Related stakeholders are regularly updated and consulted during the process of evaluation planning, design, implementation, and follow-up to evaluations. Peer reviews or reference groups composed of external experts are mobilized during the evaluation process. Besides, the Evaluation Unit pays attention to the importance of involving in-country partners, clients, and beneficiaries to ensure comprehensive and independent assessment of ITC's interventions.
The Evaluation Unit conducts quality assurance for evaluations. As guiding reference, the Evaluation Policy was revised in 2015, and related guidelines for independent evaluations and for self-evaluation will be released in late 2015. These documents contain more detailed explanations on the process, methodologies, utility and quality standards. Besides, peer review is being piloted in certain cases.
Use of Evaluation
Communication and dissemination
The Evaluation Unit is committed to promoting consensus building and learning through communication and dissemination. Evaluation products should be disseminated at ITC and among stakeholders, and available to general public in the ITC website.
Follow up and learning events
The Unit organizes learning events among stakeholders. The responsible divisions and teams prepare a Management Response detailing whether the evaluation recommendations are accepted and why, and develop an Action Plan for each accepted recommendation. The managers responsible for the implementation of the Action Plan shall provide periodic status reports to the Evaluation Unit. The Evaluation Unit assesses the progress in implementing recommendations, on a six-month basis, and reports to the SMC.
Follow up of Evaluation Recommendations
The Evaluation Unit follows up and provides technical advice on the implementation of evaluation recommendations. The process of developing management response to the evaluation recommendations and related action plans is considered by the Evaluation Unit as a consensus building and learning process. Participation, collaboration, and result-orientation will be respected during the process.
The SMC guides and supervises the implementation of the evaluation recommendations. The evaluation Unit reviews on a six-month basis the implementation status reports provided by delivery managers, and presents the consolidated implementation status report to the SMC, twice per year, for review.
Pending on the adequacy of the implementation as assessed by the Evaluation Unit, the SMC decide whether further actions are needed by delivery managers to sufficiently address the recommendations in line with ITC’s strategic objectives. The Evaluation Unit reports yearly on the Implementation Status of the Evaluation Recommendations through the Annual Evaluation Synthesis Report to ITC management. To promote broader learning, the Unit will also present the implementation status to the Oversight Committee of the ITC, composed of representatives of UNCTAD and WTO.
ITC did not conduct joint evaluations in past years. In the future, the Evaluation Unit is open to relevant opportunities to cooperate with partners agencies, including donor agencies, other UN organizations and national partners, in conducting joint evaluations.