The mission of the UN Environment Evaluation Office is to provide strategic information to Member States, UN Environment senior management and other UN Environment managerial and project staff to enable them to review progress made by the organization and to reflect critically on the constraints and challenges of delivering a quality global environmental programme. 

The mandate for conducting evaluations in UN Environment derives from several UN General Assembly Resolutions, summarized in the regulations and “Rules Governing Programme Planning, the Programme Aspects of the Budget, the Monitoring of Implementation and the Methods of Evaluation” (ST/SGB/2000/8). The rules and regulations require all UN programme activities to be evaluated (regulation 7.2) and that evaluation findings are communicated to Member States through intergovernmental bodies (rule 107.1c). This mandate is further supported by a number of UN Environment Governing Council decisions (75(iv), 83, 6.13/1, 12/15 13/1 14/1, 23/3 – 11 and 27/13). These decisions authorize evaluation of UN Environment activities.

According to the Secretary General’s bulletin on programme planning, monitoring and implementation (ST/SGB/2000/8), which consolidates the General Assembly decisions on the evaluation function, “the objective of evaluation is: 

(a) To determine as systematically and objectively as possible the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the Organization’s activities in relation to their objectives;

(b) To enable the Secretariat and Member States to engage in systematic reflection, with a view to increasing the effectiveness of the main programmes of the Organization by altering their content and, if necessary, reviewing their objectives” and that the associated rules require all UN programme activities to be evaluated.

The United Nations Environment Assembly has recognized the importance of evaluation as an integral part of the programme planning cycle, and has requested the Executive Director to ensure that the evaluation unit be made more managerially independent of the programming and project implementation and that it continue to refine evaluation methodologies in collaboration with Governments and partners within the United Nations system. The mandate covers all programmes and projects of the Environment Fund, related trust funds, earmarked contributions and projects implemented by UN Environment under the Global Environment Facility and under partnership agreements. The Evaluation Office reports directly to the Executive Director,  works independently from the substantive programmatic divisions and reports of evaluation activities are submitted to the governance function of the organization.