Evidence Summary on COVID-19 and Food Security
The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), together with the evaluation offices of FAO, WFP and UNIDO, has prepared an evidence summary on food security in periods of crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened an already fragile global food insecurity situation. In fact, alongside factors such as conflict, economic crises and climate change, in 2020, COVID-19 led to an additional 130 million people being chronically undernourished.
This study aims to contribute to a more effective UN system response to COVID-19 in the area of food security by looking at the findings, good practices and lessons learned from past evaluations of interventions to protect food security in times of crises. It presents key findings to questions that looked at the three pillars in the UN Framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19, namely interventions that support or have better supported:
- Social protection and basic services to ensure food security during crises;
- Economic response and recovery of food insecure populations in times of crises; and
- Social cohesion and community resilience.
The study draws three conclusions:
- Interventions that support social protection were more effective when designed as a bundle of complementary modalities tailored to the local context and specific needs of target beneficiaries, and involving adequate partnerships.
- Programmes supporting economic response and recovery of food insecure populations in times of crises were more effective when designed and implemented taking into account the realities of the context (e.g. economic, financial, infrastructural, political, environmental, social), and when they included clear scaling-up strategies with involvement of partners, private sector and political actors.
- Interventions addressing food insecurity can better support social cohesion by broadening their scope to include not only core target beneficiaries but also the most vulnerable.
The study was prepared by Patrick Breard, consultant, under the guidance of the Management Group consisting of representatives from FAO, IFAD, UNIDO and WFP. This project was funded with UK aid from the UK government and managed by UNEG. The analysis and recommendations of this study do not necessarily reflect the views of the Management Group agencies, UNEG or DfID.
The experience of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD in conducting evaluations during Covid-19. Learning note
The travel, health and social restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic had severe adverse effects on IOE’s work, preventing it from conducting international missions and field data collection, signature elements of its evaluation approach.
IOE nevertheless made every effort to continue operations. This entailed adapting its approach to evaluations, establishing a set of key principles to protect the health and well-being of evaluation staff and stakeholders. IOE also strove to address the many vital issues ensuing from its new approach, which ranged from the need to maintain methodological rigour and reduce the chance of bias to preserving smooth working relationships with both internal and external parties.
This learning note analyses the main challenges faced and lessons learned by IOE as it endeavoured to assure evaluation quality and sustained delivery under COVID conditions. It is hoped that the knowledge thus shared will prove valuable to evaluation actors, both during the current pandemic situation and beyond.
Helping transform rural lives: Major achievements of IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation 2014-2019
In 2014-2019, amidst the pressures of climate change and the need to achieve Agenda 2030’s pledge to “leave no one behind”, IFAD continued extensive structural and operational reforms, all the while remaining firmly committed to improving the lives of the rural poor.
In this dynamic context, the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE) played a more critical role than ever, carrying out its mission to promote accountability and learning by providing independent evaluations of IFAD’s work.
Helping Transform Rural Lives: Major Achievements of IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation 2014-2019 explains IOE’s operations and highlights its main accomplishments and innovations of the past five years, as it strove towards excellence in evaluation in the service of advancing rural development.
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The evolution of the independent evaluation function at IFAD
Over the years, evaluation has become an increasingly critical function in multilateral and bilateral development agencies, including international financial institutions (IFIs) and United Nations organizations.
It is through evaluation that assessments and analyses of operations and strategies are conducted, with a view to better understanding what is working well, what is not working well and, most importantly, the factors that have an impact on performance.
Historically, the Member States, governing bodies and Management of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – a unique institution that is both a specialized agency of the United Nations and an IFI – have always taken evaluation very seriously.