Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was established in 1993, after the World Conference on Human Rights. OHCHR has a mandate to promote and protect the human rights of all. As of 31 December 2015, OHCHR had 1,165 staff members; a total of US$ 173.5 million was initially allocated to OHCHR for the 2014-2015 biennium; and the level of voluntary funding reached US$ 125.9 million in 2015. OHCHR headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

OHCHR started implementing results-based management in 2006, with the creation of a small specialized section within the Executive Direction and Management Division that integrated evaluation capacity to a limited extent. Since then, OHCHR has progressed rapidly in ensuring that OHCHR has a well-established culture of results.  Results-based planning and performance monitoring have therefore become integral parts of this culture which is supported by the development of innovative online tools accessible by all staff worldwide. This focus on planning and monitoring and the relatively small specialized in-house resources have had an impact in terms of developments in the evaluation capacity and function.  Over the last couple of years, the office has started to focus on the development of a holistic planning, monitoring and evaluation framework that is meaningful and useful for everyone.
Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function

OHCHR takes a systematic and methodological approach to evaluation as part of results-based management. It works towards an evaluation culture built around the needs of users and the impact on rights-holders.

The long-term goal of OHCHR’s evaluation function is to make OHCHR’s interventions more relevant, more efficient and more effective, to have a greater impact and be more sustainable.

Evaluations in OHCHR contribute to the achievement of the stated goal of the evaluation function by:

- Increasing learning about what works and what does not in OHCHR’s interventions and identifying good practices;

- Increasing availability of credible evidence for decision-making on start-up, maintenance, scaling-up or finalization of interventions;

- Increasing accountability vis-à-vis rights-holders and funders on the use of resources and the achievement of planned results;

- Improving risks mitigation and the ability to respond to change.

As it continues to work on establishing a fully functioning evaluation function, OHCHR is prepared to use a range of tools and approaches to ensure that:

- Evaluations requested by Senior Management take place as planned, within reasonable timelines and allotted resources (bottom-down approach);

- Through increased knowledge, staff members throughout OHCHR increase the demand for the conducting of evaluations (capacity-building, bottom-up approach);

- Evaluations are of the highest quality and conducted by knowledgeable, independent consultants or, where possible, by OHCHR evaluation staff (strengthening of OHCHR’s evaluation resources);

- Senior Management effectively supports the design and conducting of evaluation, and effectively uses its results, including through an increased understanding of evaluation standards and value (management buy-in).



Priorities 2014 - 2017

In 2014-2017, OHCHR will work to achieve its overall goal by focusing on three mid-term results:

  • The evaluation function is a well-developed and utilized component of the RBM approach in OHCHR

Within this result, OHCHR aims at conducting a number of high-quality evaluations and impact studies per cycle, ensuring their regular dissemination and the follow-up of recommendations.

  • OHCHR’s senior management systematically takes and/or reviews decisions on existing and/or planned interventions, as well as on OHCHR structures and processes, on the basis of evidence provided by evaluations

In this area, through increased capacity-building for managers, OHCHR targets the use of evaluation results by focusing on decision-making processes and policy changes being informed by evaluation findings.

  • OHCHR strategically uses UN system evaluation resources to improve its relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability

In accordance with its mandate, OHCHR focuses onincreasing its capacity to learn from others, as well as its contribution to the mainstreaming of human rights into evaluations and evaluation functions system-wide.


Human Resources for 2017

  • Unit Head: F
  • Evaluators : 2 (one F, one M)


Evaluations produced per year by central unit and by decentralized units (Targets in the Evaluation Plan 2014 - 2017)

  • 2 high-quality impact studies per programming cycle
  • 1 high-quality evaluation per headquarters’ sub-programme per cycle
  • 3 high-quality decentralised evaluations per year (field presences)


Key resource:


PPMES is located in the Executive Direction and Management Office and is not independent of line management. The PPMES Chief reports to the OHCHR Deputy High Commissioner. The PPMES Chief has partial control over the evaluation budget but does not have full discretion to issue evaluation reports.




Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

As part of the UN Secretariat, OHCHR is asked to prepare an audit and evaluation plan that goes together with the Strategic Framework that is the planning document for all Secretariat entities. In addition to that, PPMES prepares an internal evaluation plan that brings together evaluations, assessments and reviews planned at central and decentralized level, and that includes resources allotted to them. The work programme is submitted for endorsement to the Senior Management Team, and for final approval to the High Commissioner.


Stakeholder involvement and promoting national evaluation capacity development

Stakeholders are involved in the conduct of the evaluation and consulted during the design phase of the evaluation. Stakeholders are rarely consulted during the follow-up stage of the evaluation.


Quality Assurance

OHCHR uses the UNEG Norms and Standards for Evaluation in the UN System as quality rules for assessing the evaluation reports. The rules cover the evidence based availability of the evaluation findings and recommendations. They also assess the structure of the evaluation report including methodology and coverage of the ToR. The High Commissioner is accountable to the Secretary-General through her yearly Compact. The Compact contains performance measures on evaluation, the data for which is provided by OIOS.




Use of Evaluation

The senior management team issues a response to the evaluation reports when completed. A detailed response to each recommendation is provided through the Management Response Matrix (MRM) and through an action plan. The High Commissioner has final decision-making powers on the response to the recommendations and on the approval of the action plans.

Both management and PPMES monitor the implementation of recommendations from the evaluation. Reports on this monitoring are also sent to the OHCHR High Commissioner. Reports on the implementation of OIOS recommendations are published as UN documents.

Evaluation results are disseminated within the organization: results are sent to colleagues who were involved or have a direct interest in the results. For all other staff members, evaluation reports are accessible through intranet. Evaluation reports are made available outside the organization trough the organization's external website.




Joint Evaluation

In general, OHCHR is not engaged in joint evaluations. However, in the past PPMES has been involved in some forms of joint evaluative exercises, e.g. an evaluation by external consultants of OHCHR and UNHCR roles in Haiti Protection Cluster after the 2010 earthquake.




UNEG Members

Sabas Monroy

Evaluation Officer, OHCHR

Fact Sheet