IEG@50: Celebrating 50 Years of Independent Evaluation at the World Bank

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IEG@50: Celebrating 50 Years of Independent Evaluation at the World Bank

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On July 1, 1973, then World Bank president Robert McNamara announced the establishment of a wholly independent unit, the Operations Evaluation Department (OED) – now known as IEG, for Independent Evaluation Group. Over the years, independent evaluation has emerged as a crucial part of the World Bank’s accountability and learning process. It has been a game-changer, constantly evolving to address the key questions of what is working, why, and for whom.  

Today, IEG celebrates its 50th anniversary with a series of engaging discussions. We will dive into the journey of independent evaluation and explore how it can adapt to support the development of the new World Bank playbook. We are entering a phase where we need fresh approaches to assess progress on Global Public Goods, while staying focused on the development goals of our partner countries. In a world facing multiple crises, building up the abilities of our partner countries to make evidence-driven decisions is more vital than ever. 

Join us on September 14 to learn more about IEG and its critical role in ensuring that the World Bank evolves with its clients’ needs.

00:00 Welcome

- Sabine Bernabe, Director General, Independent Evaluation Group

10:49 Independent Evaluation: Learn from the Past to Inform the Future

- Anna Bjerde, Managing Director of Operations, World Bank Group
- Koen Davidse, Dean of the World Bank Board of Executive Directors, EDS19
- Abdoul Salam Bello, World Bank Board’s Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE) co-Chair, EDS13
- Moderator: Sabine Bernabe, Director General, Independent Evaluation Group

54:02 Director General Roundtable

- Vinod Thomas, Former Director General, Independent Evaluation Group (2006-2011)
- Caroline Heider, Former Director General, Independent Evaluation Group (2011-2018)
- Alison Evans, Former Director General, Independent Evaluation Group (2019-2023)
- Sabine Bernabe, Director General, Independent Evaluation Group
- Moderator: Kate Warren, Executive Vice President and Executive Editor, Devex

1:58:56 Fireside Chat: Better Evidence for Better Policies

- Sergio Firpo, Secretary for Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Policies, Government of Brazil
- Dugan Fraser, Program Manager: Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI)

2:44:00 Closing remarks

- Sabine Bernabe, Director General, Independent Evaluation Group

Live Q&A Experts

Lead Evaluation Officer, Infrastructure and Sustainable Development, IEGFS

Read the chat

Hello everyone, and welcome to the inaugural event of IEG@50: Celebrating 50 years of Independent Evaluation.

I’m Victor Beltran, from the Independent Evaluation Group, and I will be moderating today’s live chat. I am supported today by my colleague and expert blogger Lauren Kelly, who will answer your questions.

During this event, we will discuss the development of independent evaluation at the World Bank, its value to accountability and learning, and its potential future contribution to the strategies and actions needed to address overlapping crises, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

We'll start the event in a few minutes. Please stay tuned and submit your comments and questions using the live chat. We remind you that interpretation will be provided in English and French.

For those interested in listening to the event in Portuguese, please use this link:

You can also join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #IEG50.

While we wait for the event to begin, be sure to bookmark and share these resources about the origin and evolution of independent evaluation at the World Bank, and its potential role in meeting future challenges:

What Difference Does a Better Bank Make?

Always searching for how we can do things better

TIMELINE | Evolution of the independent evaluation function in the World Bank
Moderator: Victor Beltran

I'm ready
Yaasin Shamsuu

Does the World Bank control, audit and monitor the investments it makes, and loans in poor countries, given that its countries are increasingly faced with mismanagement of funds and public embezzlement

The World Bank has multiple independent agencies that support auditing, control, ethics, and evaluation functions. You can read about the Bank's auditing function here:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

What is the goal of the world bank?
Gemechu Adere Merga

The World Bank has two goals: end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable way.
Expert: Lauren Kelly


I would like to know why the world bank has rejected support for Uganda government because of the anti homosexuality law. Is it blackmail or..besides, it's the local people facing the challenges and not those in government. How do we help the local people because of your decision?
SALA Teopista

You can read about the Bank's position on Uganda here.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Is it possible to share the best practices and policies related to renewables especially(for my interest) of IEG with past learnings for the betterment of the parner countries in order to achieve the COP 28 objectives ?

Great Question. I am pleased to share with you our Evaluation of Electricity Supply from Renewable Energy.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

When Can the programme or project impact bé evaluated? Is there a difference between impact study with impact evaluation?

World Bank teams produce self-evaluations of their project after they close; IEG then validates the self-evaluations for every project. We then do a "deeper dive" - called project performance assessments on select projects that provide learning opportunities, by visiting clients and project sites. There are many types of evaluations - any many types of impact assessments. IEG does not conduct impact evaluations itself, but uses these assessments as part of our wider evaluations. For more information on impact evaluation, 3ie is a great resource. Here is the link:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

global crisis is hungers and starvations not war
lawrence malu

IEG has been helping the World Bank identify and use evaluative evidence to address multiple food crises. Recently, we produced an Evaluation Insight Note that found that food crises response projects are more effective when they build medium to longer term resilience features into project design, in addition to short term emergency response. You can read our full findings here:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

How can development partners can support the development of strong national monitoring and evaluation systems?
How can world bank engage and include national monitoring and evaluation departments in conducting WB project evaluations?
Zakaria Harbi

IEG Supports the Global Evaluation Initiative, or GEI. GEI is a global network of organizations and experts supporting developing country governments with strengthening monitoring, evaluation, and the use of evidence in their countries. We focus our support on efforts that are country-owned and aligned with local needs, goals and perspectives. You can find more information here:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

How should one pursue Monitoring and Evaluation as a career option?
Kudzanai Chitute J

Thank you for your interest in pursuing an M&E Career! One key resource is the training provided by IPDET. They also provide reduced fees for persons that apply from developing countries. Here is the Link.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

As bank professionals from developing country, in this digital transformation period we employee of bank sectors facing too many challenges regarding familiaring the societies with digital banking channel in our daily operation we are pushing the societies as they use digital channel for their daily business operations but the societies are not accept easly to use digital channel becouse this is the new form of self service but our society is developed the culture of buying products or services in cash rather than in transfer from the digital channel so that the bank employee are facing so many challenge to convince the society but the salary we are receiving in return is very low when compared to other developed countries so that to balance this economic enbalace what is there role of the world bank as initiator of digital transformation!
Markos chala kebede

Hello! Affordable access to digital services is indeed critical for achieving inclusive development goals. I am pleased to share with you our evaluation on "Mobilizing Technology for Development." It is an assessment of the WBG's preparedness to help clients harness the opportunities and mitigate the risks posed by disruptive and transformative technologies.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

What's the next planning for Bangladesh to maitain a sustainable economy?

Hello. Wonderful question. You may be interested in reading the Climate Change Development Report for Bangladesh that can be found here The World Bank Group's Country Climate and Development Reports (CCDRs) are new core diagnostic reports that integrate climate change and development considerations
Expert: Lauren Kelly

We are actively engaged in a community-driven economic revitalization effort on the beautiful island of Jamaica. We are interested in exploring avenues to seek financial support and collaboration from the World Bank. How can we initiate the application process to determine the availability of financial assistance?
Bill Tinglin

Sounds like a worthy project. You may find some of our evaluative work on CDD programs in Jamaica useful, such as this one on the Bank's Rural Economic Development Initiative. Also, the link to the Bank's CDD site and also their experts can be found here.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Watching from Ivory coat
Allavo Prosper

We are now moving on to the first panel “Independent Evaluation: Learn from the Past to Inform the Future”, moderated by IEG’s Director General, Sabine Bernabè.

The panel discussion is now starting with:
- Anna Bjerde, Managing Director, Operations at the World Bank
- Koen Davidse, Dean of the World Bank’s Board of Directors
- Abdoul Salam Bello, Co-Chair of the Board’s Committee of Development Effectiveness (CODE).

Panelists will discuss how independent evaluation contributed to identifying the factors of development effectiveness, and will contribute to navigating the current context of overlapping crises.

Moderator: Victor Beltran

Dear Colleagues, Congratulations on Celebrating 50 years of the IEG !
Gocha Goguadze

That was a vivid discussion with great insights on the role evaluation can play in the World Bank’s pursuit of better development outcomes and ensuring the Evolution Roadmap builds on evidence of what works and what doesn't.

We also heard about the importance of the accountability function of independent evaluation and how IEG can hold the World Bank accountable to its stakeholders for the implementation of the Evolution Roadmap.

We will now take a short break but please stay tuned for the next segment.

In 15 minutes, at 10:00AM, DC time, three former IEG Directors General will reflect on the evolution of independent evaluation and how it might adapt to meet the challenges of the future.

This part of the event will be moderated by Kate Warren, Executive Editor at Devex

Moderator: Victor Beltran

The Directors General roundtable is now starting with:

Alison Evans, Former Director General, IEG (2019-2023)
Caroline Heider, Former Director General, IEG (2011-2018)
Vinod Thomas, Former Director General, IEG (2006-2011)

Moderator: Victor Beltran

Is IEG evaluated; beyond the email surveys which come occasionally
Rajeev Gopal

Three external reviews of the Independent Evaluation Group have been conducted.

This is the third External Review of the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) commissioned by the World Bank Group (WBG) Board of Executive Directors (Board) and overseen by the Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE):
Moderator: Victor Beltran

The Covid-19 pandemic time saw some remote evaluation. How effective was this compared to on-site work, and what were lessons learned?
Riad al Khouri

We invite you to visit this blog post about adapting monitoring and evaluation practices during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Moderator: Victor Beltran

There has been a focus on building evaluation capacity for several years or decades. However, little attention has been devoted to evaluation capabilities, the actual "ability" to implement a national evaluation policy for instance.

Second part, shall this area of work (National evaluation capability and capabilities) be more synchronized with modernising government and machinery of reforms? Denis Jobin UNICEF Evaluation Office
Denis Jobin

IEG Supports the Global Evaluation Initiative, or GEI. GEI is a global network of organizations and experts supporting developing country governments with strengthening monitoring, evaluation, and the use of evidence in their countries. We focus our support on efforts that are country-owned and aligned with local needs, goals and perspectives. You can find more information here:
Moderator: Victor Beltran

IEG thematic evaluations typically have a long process which make timely learning problematic. How can IEG and WBG management work together to address this issue?

Part of the work IEG is undertaking to make lessons available as timely as possible is producing Evaluation Insight Notes.
Evaluation Insight Notes (EIN) offer new insights from existing evidence. EINs synthesize past lessons and evidence to inform current decisions, address knowledge gaps, and enhance operational learning. Drawing from the Independent Evaluation Group’s (IEG) rich knowledge repository, these syntheses respond to the need for more rapid and focused evaluative evidence. EINs systematically analyze data from a range of evaluations, validations, and other studies to generate insights in a timely manner around important strategic and operational issues. New evidence gathering is not within the scope of EINs.
Moderator: Victor Beltran

What a fascinating discussion with lots of lessons for the future. Those were incredible accounts of how IEG reached key milestones and how IEG has adapted in times of change and crisis to deliver timely and useful findings to help the World Bank, and its client countries, navigate complex situations.

We will now take a short break as speakers prepare for the third and last session of the event. We will start again in 15 minutes. Stay tuned!

This next session will be a fireside chat on Better Evidence for Better Policies, with Sergio Firpo, Secretary for Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Policies at the Government of Brazil

This session will be moderated by Dugan Fraser, Program Manager of the Global Evaluation Initiative.

You can check out the incredible work that the Global Evaluation Initiative is doing to boost evaluation capacity around the world by visiting their website:
Moderator: Victor Beltran

Dugan Fraser, is getting us started for this fireside chat with Sergio Firpo, Secretary for Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Policies at the Government of Brazil. We will learn about how Brazil is prioritizing the establishment of robust monitoring and evaluation systems to better inform and advise key government decisions.

Moderator: Victor Beltran

How independent Evolutions of implemented projects will provide the feed back for the designing and implementation of upcoming projects of World Bank?
Zafar Abbas Siyal

This is a great question. While individual project assessments do feed into the design of new projects, our sector and thematic evaluations often assess the relevance and effectiveness of an entire portfolio of projects and make recommendations on how to improve designs to enhance development effectiveness. Here are some examples of our work in the urban and rural spaces that took such a portfolio approach:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

1, what method will be independent evaluation? 2. What factors will be weighted for evaluation acceptability? 3, what kind of evaluation method will be the progress of universal public good?
mostafa anisuzzaman

Hi. IEG has an extensive library of publications on the methods it uses to conduct rigorous and high quality evaluations. In addition to these methods, IEG often uses participatory methods to ground truth its work. Here is the link to our library:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

What will world Bank say about the current financial situation of Bangladesh and her loans?
Abu Sayed

We invite you to take a look at our Country Program Evaluation of Bangladesh, that includes an accountability focus. Please do read and share!
Expert: Lauren Kelly

World Bank a blocs and independent institution, what is the role of World's roles to save lives of World vulnerable people who don't reach out to have a meal in day as World Bank concerned to save vulnerable Nations like third world countries?
Mathiec Riny Mathiec

Focusing on the most vulnerable is at the heart of many IEG assessments that are designed with a gender and social inclusion lens. Let me post some examples here of evaluations that focused on natural resource degradation and human vulnerability or gender in fragile, conflict affected or violent situations and diester risk reduction,
Expert: Lauren Kelly

What advantages WB plays not enough in africa?
What roles of wb for local Ethiopians

Hi, I thought you may be interested in some of our evaluations of World Bank assistance to Ethiopia that show the incredible strides the country has made to support sustainable development aims. I am providing the links. You may also be interested to know that we are launching a new Country Program Evaluation of World Bank assistance that will be available next year.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Will independent evaluation create a self driven atmosphere?
Madhup Mayank

Interestingly, over time, we find that independent evaluation has motivated the World Bank to do more rigorous self-evaluation. The self-evaluations conducted today are much more critical and comprehensive, as compared to before IEG. Country clients are also increasingly interested in building their own evaluation capacity. So in a nutshell, we do believe that evaluation fervor is spreading!
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Those the world Bank really belongs to the USA OR to the so called members, who are athe same time clients, except for the previlaged collective wes (aka G7)?.
Kensam Solomon

Hi. You may find it useful to read about the constituency of the Bank's Board of Governors and other rules pertaining to the governance of the World Bank here:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

How do you ensure that the Independent Evaluation Group maintains credibility and objectivity in providing evaluation services to the World Bank if it's functions are funded by World Bank?
Using World Bank as an example, how can institutions practically but simply build the function of independent evaluation

Hello. This is an important question. IEG is an independent agency within the World Bank, that reports to the Board of Directors. As such it has institutional independence. But as importantly, IEG staff must exhibit individual independence, in ways that are also bolstered by the quality and rigor of evidence.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

What's your take on covid19 mitigation, analysis and recommendations?

Hello, Thank you so much for this important question. IEG has done two real time evaluations of the World Bank's response to COVID-19 and also has synthesized lessons through blogs and other learning engagements. You can access our COVID-19 learning library here:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Change The world in one word?
Sudeep kumar dey

"Peace." Please take a look at our library of evaluations that help the World Bank to address situations of conflict and fragility, You can find it here:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

How does IEG evaluate itself. Or who evaluates IEG?
Rajeev Gopala month ago

This is an important question. IEG is cyclically evaluated by an independent external panel of eminent evaluation and development experts. The most recent evaluation of IEG can be found here.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

it looks like earth is in trouble, why
dr. john djabeng

It is indeed worrying times. The Board has approved our work program that includes several important evaluations focused on climate change and the environment. Here is the link to our past work in this space and the work program that describes the upcoming evaluations on Blue Economy, Water Resource Management, Biodiversity, and the World Bank's ESF policies.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Dear speakers and moderators, I'm thrilled to ask my question. For certain, the World Bank has improved lives of thousands of people throughout the World and therefore moved lots of people out of poverty. My question remains what is the main obstacle that you meet while dealing with emerging countries.
Jonathan MUYA KUPA

While many emerging countries have achieved important development goals, several of our evaluations point to to the need to continue to strengthen health systems; increase gender equality and strengthen citizen-engagement and the social contract; and to address environmental degradation that undermines poverty reduction efforts subrationally. Let me provide some links!
Expert: Lauren Kelly

What has been done and what is planned to be done by WB and IEG to encourage and develop systemic & systems evaluation?
Sabina Chiaburu

A fantastic way to end the event. Clearly, evaluation has a vital role in supporting governments make key decisions, every day, and on a wide range of issues. It was terrific to learn about Brazil’s experience and how many countries can benefit from these lessons.

We have reached the end of the inaugural event of IEG@50: Celebrating 50 years of Independent Evaluation.

Thank you very much for your joining us and for your participation!

Please remember to bookmark and share these resources about the origin and evolution of the independent evaluation at the World Bank, and its role in meeting future challenges:

What Difference Does a Better Bank Make?

Always searching for how we can do things better

TIMELINE | Evolution of the independent evaluation function in the World Bank

Stay tuned for future IEG@50 events. You can see the full program here:

Until next time.

Moderator: Victor Beltran

What of the challenge of evaluation results is Accountability both from the Donor and beneficiaries' sides. How do you think IEG can improve accountability to make effective evaluation results ?

IEG is always striving to improve. Two ways that it can improve accountability are to continue to strengthen our engagement process with all stakeholders and to continue to also enhance the rigor, quality and timeliness of our evidence.

Please see also our new DG's blog on this issue at
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Correction -- assist member borrowers to development thiet program and project evaluation capabilities.
Delbert A Fitchett

We agree, IEG supports the Global Evaluation Initiative. You can read all about it here:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

How does the IEG tackle the challenge of evaluating multiple sector development/projects in multiple regions putting in mind certain regions have its unique evaluating challenges and certain sector in a certain region might have a unique challenge then a different sector in the same region?
Qais Allamki

Great question. In our sector, corporate and thematic evaluations we splice the data to understand how different projects in different sectors are performing in different regions. In these and also in our country evaluations, we assess the wider coherence of the World bank's assistance across sectors at the portfolio level.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

We sometimes need to adopt tacts and be sensitive to the "political" objectives of evaluations. Development partners and national governments would like to highlight the "glossy" results more than critical feed back intended to improve on a project. Some honest and thorough evaluation can lead to disappoints with the development partners and governments. Any comment?
Muhammad Taher

We believe that evaluation is a process not a project and as such the best evaluations find ways to deliver some tough truths in ways that can also be well received. This is why the engagement process is so important at all stages of the evaluation process. I am sure you agree!
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Would the Evaluation process using current/future tech be completely automated? if so is it projected to be more transparent?
Qais Allamki

IEG has just issued a Blog series on AI. Here's the link if interested:
Expert: Lauren Kelly

done in 1975-1977 when I worked at OED. We showed that McNamara's rural developement drive was failing globally (programmatic evaluation). OED organised a meeting with the operational Departments to get them to adopt the lessons learned. Nothing changed because priority remained on volume and approval tradition. So what's new under the sun?
Jean-Jacques Schul

Hi there. Great to hear from an ex-OED'er! I believe the WB has internalized the lessons of the failed integrated Rural Development projects - by not recreating Christmas tree projects, but by thinking more about country level and portfolio based approaches. There is still a long way however to get to country outcomes, especially rural-urban divides, connectivity and other spatial and social challenges.
Expert: Lauren Kelly

Hi, I'm Mwamba Kapambwe from Zambia. I have observed that the Bank's projects in our country come with good evaluation and accountability systems which, unfortunately, disappear when the project ends. What measures are being developed by IEG/WB to improve the transfer of evaluative capacities to beneficiary institutions? Thanks
Mwamba Kapambwe

Hi there. Please see the work of our Global Evaluation Initiative at
Expert: Lauren Kelly