Tools and Resources

The M&E Initiative has developed and/or adapted a range of methods and tools that are used across the Secretariat in the planning, monitoring and evaluation of IUCN projects, programmes and organizational units.

PM&E methods and tools include:

All the methods and tools listed above are aimed at meeting the following principles of good PM&E practice:

 1. Developing projects and programmes and/or establishing organizational units based on a thorough understanding of the situation in which they operate.

  2. Where possible, involving stakeholders in a participatory process of planning, design, monitoring and evaluation.

  3. Developing a set of clear logical results or objectives that can realistically be achieved within a particular timeframe and within an allocated budget and which will make a significant and sustained contribution to a higher level development objective.

  4. Making explicit the logic model and theory of change upon which the intervention is based, including the cause and effect relationships and external factors that underpin the programme or project or organizational unit and which must hold true if planned activities are going to lead to desired results and impacts.

  5. Establishing a monitoring and evaluation system, including indicators, which will show if the objectives or results have been achieved and which will provide information to support effective management and learning.


Situation Analysis

Sometimes called context analysis in other organizations, the Situation Analysis Approach and Method for Analyzing the Context of Projects and Programmes developed by the M&E Initiative provides a way of systematically scanning and analyzing the external environment in which IUCN projects, programmes or organizational units operate. It assists managers to identify the key issues and trends affecting people and ecosystems in the region or the thematic area in which they work, and helps them to identify the most relevant and significant issues to address.

This method (and variations of it) is used in IUCN to prepare a Situation Analysis upon which the selection of annual and Intersessional programme results is based.

The methodology includes guidance on how to:

  • Analyze the state and condition of people and ecosystems (including identification of issues, trends, pressures) and develop a set of baseline indicators to monitor change over time.
  • Identify the most relevant and significant issues that IUCN should address.
  • Analyze the key stakeholders (groups of people and institutions) with a right, mandate and/or interest in resources and their management in the geographic area of the project or programme.

Examples of the approach and methodology in action include:

Sustainability Assessment

Sustainability Assessment is a more comprehensive and measurable form of the situation analysis method described above. Developed by the IUCN M&E Initiative with support from IDRC, the methodology was developed and tested in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is also the methodology used in the global assessment of 180 nations, Wellbeing of Nations (Island Press) as well as current IUCN work on the Wellbeing of Forests:

The Sustainability Assessment methodology provides a way of engaging stakeholders in defining the key sustainability issues affecting their lives, and practical ways of assessing the wellbeing of people and ecosystems together in one integrated assessment framework. The method guides users through the development of their own vision of sustainability and the development of indicators to measure changes towards realizing that vision.

IUCN has developed a Resource Kit for Sustainability Assessment to help users to undertake and facilitate sustainability assessments themselves. The Kit is divided into three parts:

  • PART A: Overview (Spanish): describes the conceptual and technical features of Sustainability Assessment, how it can be used and how this method relates to other approaches to measuring sustainable development.
  • PART B: Facilitators' Materials (Spanish): provides resources for using the methods in the field and for training others to use Sustainability Assessment. This section includes case studies, classroom exercises, guidance on facilitating training and field exercises.

Examples of sustainability assessment:

  • Assessing Biodiversity Guide – using the Sustainability Assessment methodology – guidance for the parties to the UNCBD on developing their own performance indicators for assessing biodiversity in the reporting context of the convention.

Organizational Assessment

Developed by IDRC(The International Development Research Centre) and Universalia Management Group, the Organizational Assessment Method (presented as a short course) provides a conceptual and theoretical approach that is based on decades of learning about organizations from management theory, a practical framework and a set of tools for assessing the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency and financial viability of an organizational unit - whether a complete organization or smaller organizational units within it.The approach was developed by IDRC and Universalia in response to a growing recognition that project evaluation tells us little about how organizations function, what makes them successful, what makes them fail.

See also:

Organizations represent a greater value than the projects and programmes they deliver, and therefore the unit of analysis should be the organization itself. It is also recognized that long term development depends on sound sustainable organizations and institutions to bring about long term changes, and that projects are not adequate models for organizational change. They are a means to an organizational end goal, that of fulfilling its mission.

The organizational assessment framework provides a systematic way of assessing the factors that support or hinder organizational performance in three major spheres:

  1. the ability of an organization to respond effectively to its external environment, including its stakeholders, clients, funders, competitiveorganizations;
  2. the ability of an organization to maintain appropriate capacity including strategic leadership, human resources, financial resources, infrastructure, programming and process management, and inter-institutional linkages;
  3. the motivation of an organization as reflected in its history, work culture, values, incentives and rewards.


The complete Organizational Assessment Toolkit entitled: Enhancing Organizational Performance: A Toolbox for Self-assessment (in English and French) can be downloaded or ordered from IDRC.

Alternatively, overheads used by IUCN M&E staff in presenting a short two-day training course in organizational assessment provide an overview of the organizational assessment approach and methodology.

This course is taught annually by staff from IDRC, Universalia and IUCN at the World Bank's summer evaluation course - IPDET - the International Development Evaluation Programme - held at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. It has also been taught recently by the IUCN M&E Coordinator at the Africa Evaluation Association Conference, 2004.

PM&E: Introduction to Key Concepts

The field of planning, monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) abounds with a wide range of terminology that can often be confusing for project and programme managers who are required to fulfil different requirements for different donors. This paper on key concepts was prepared by the IUCN Africa M&E staff to help managers understand the basic concepts behind PM&E terminology, regardless of the labels that different agencies use.

Finding the Way - A Guide to Project Planning and Self-Evaluation

This Guide was developed by the IUCN Latin American M&E team to assist project teams to strengthen the planning and design of their projects, and to assist them in undertaking self-evaluation processes. The Guide helps managers to understand and use logical framework approaches (LFA) more effectively for planning and evaluation purposes. The approach presented in this guide strengthens considerably the traditional LFA approach by including a visioning process that precedes the LFA, as well as a practical way of linking a project LFA to a programme LFA, and to operational workplans.

The visioning process helps to focus the identification of project interventions on positive opportunities as well as to address "problems" that are derived from the traditional problem tree analysis of the LFA. This innovation helps to balance the "problem orientation" of process with a more positive view of the future.

  • Buscando el Rumbo: Guía práctica para organizar y ejecutar procesos de autoevaluación de proyectos centrados en la sostenibilidad. (Ilustrada con ejemplos reales de América Latina).

Managing Evaluations: A Handbook for IUCN Managers

Each year in IUCN project and programme managers plan and commission between 40-60 evaluations and reviews. Many of these evaluations are required by donor contracts and some are self initiated by programme managers.

Recent Meta-Evaluations (2000 and 2003) have revealed that the quality of these evaluations often vary, and that some do not meet acceptable standards for good evaluation practice. This Handbook - Managing Evaluations: A Guide for IUCN Programme and Project Managers - was written to assist managers in planning, commissioning and implementing high quality evaluations. It includes guidance in developing a good Terms of Reference for an evaluation, identifying standard evaluation criteria to use for different purposes, developing key evaluation questions, how to determine the profile of a good evaluation team, and how to judge a good evaluation report.

This Handbook follows the criteria and standards set out in the IUCN Evaluation Policy (French/Spanish) and operationalizes the policy in practical terms.

A Guide for the Planning and Conduct of IUCN Strategic Reviews

IUCN undertakes a regular cycle of Strategic Reviews, which focus on key issues and questions related to the performance of organizational units such as Regional Offices, Global Thematic Programmes or Commissions. The Guide for the Planning and Conduct of IUCN Strategic Reviews provides an overview of the expected steps in the review process, the standards to which they should be carried out, and provides tools, ideas and tips on the things "to do" or "not to forget". It also provides examples of data collection instruments (questionnaires and interview protocols) that have been used in past Reviews and can be adapted for future Reviews.

This main body of the Guide:

  • provides the definition of Strategic Reviews in IUCN;
  • clarifies their scope and purpose;
  • suggests the composition of the Strategic Review team, resources, and other general characteristics of this type of Review; and
  • describes the phases of a Strategic Review process, which include planning, data collection, data analysis, reporting and the implementation of recommendations.

The appendices include:

  • tools to assist with the planning stage of the Review, such as an example of an organizational assessment framework, and evaluation matrix;
  • tips for preparing the data collection instruments, implementing some of the most common data collection methods, and preparing presentations on findings; and
  • examples of questionnaires and other data collection instruments that can be adapted for future Reviews.

As part of ongoing capacity building efforts, the global M&E Initiative has established a small PM&E Resource Library at HQ containing up-to-date PM&E books, training materials, articles, guidelines obtained from bilateral and multilateral evaluation units, the World Bank, UNDP and evaluation reference books published by SAGE Press.

The M&E office regularly provides copies of relevant PM&E books, training materials and articles of interest to regional offices. The regional M&E staff member or the Programme Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that project and programme staff are aware of these resource materials, and are made available to them as needed.

Core references cover:

Links to other methods and tools

  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): Performance Review Branch
  • Department for International Development Cooperation (FINNIDA)
  • American Evaluation Association

Other Resources

  • Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • NRM Changelinks