The Oslo Governance Forum – Governance Assessments for Social Accountability


Date: 3-5 October 2011
Venue: Oslo, Norway 


The Oslo Governance Forum (OGF) is an initiative of the Oslo Governance Centre and the Democratic Governance Group of UNDP. The Forum will facilitate exchange of innovative experiences, knowledge and policy options among international development practitioners, academic institutions, government representatives and civil society from the global south.

The Oslo Governance Forum will take place from the 3-5 October 2011. The overarching focus is on governance assessments and their current and potential contribution to improving social accountability within developing countries. For the purposes of the OGF, social accountability has a wide meaning and relates to the mechanisms and instruments that are used by communities, groups and ordinary people to make governments and their agents, answerable and responsive in terms of the commitments that they have made. Governance assessments are an increasingly important tool for monitoring whether governments are failing or succeeding in terms of their commitments in legislation, government policies and international law.

To date, much of the focus of the development community on governance assessments, has been on the “supply side”, that is, improving the methodological aspects of an assessment and getting the right indicators. The OGF will focus on the “demand side”, examining, discussing and sharing experiences on how governance assessments are used by stakeholders as a basis for dialogue on governance deficits, as an instrument to monitor performance and as an input for revising and correcting policies. One of the key elements of democratic governance and accountability is empowerment of the people and the fostering of demand- and people driven accountability as opposed to accountability to external actors like donors.

The world is changing rapidly and never before has democratic governance and accountability been so visibly important on the global stage. The Arab Spring revolutions have shown that governments must take people’s calls for accountability and their rights to be governed democratically more seriously. These events have also added to the growing number of case studies that attest to the potential of social media and related technologies for mobilizing people for change.”

See the Forum home page for more information as well as the Concept Note for the Forum



International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities.


Date: 12-14 September 2011
Venue: Johannesburg, South Africa

UNDP Evaluation Office and the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Africa are co-hosting the second International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities. See the official website here.

This is a follow up conference to the 2009 International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities held in Casablanca, Morocco, which was organized by the UNDP Evaluation Office in partnership with the Moroccan National Observatory for Human Development.


1. To share experiences from countries with different levels of development of national M&E systems including those who may be considering creating one and have important experiences with other types of evaluation efforts;

2. To identify lessons and constraints in implementing national M&E systems; and,

3. To identify supply and demand for technical assistance in strengthening institutional capacity for national M&E systems under the umbrella of South-South cooperation.

If you have any questions please send your inquiry to:

Mr. Indran A. Naidoo, Deputy Director General, Monitoring and Evaluation
Office of the Public Service Commission, South Africa

Ms. Azusa Kubota, Evaluation Specialist, UNDP Evaluation Office

Follow in Twitter: @NEC_2011 for the latest information on the International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities – 12-14 September 2011.

Theory of Change: A thinking and action approach to navigate in the complexity of social change processes

Iñigo Retolaza Eguren, HIVOS/DD/UNDP, May 2011 Available as pdf.

“This guide has been jointly published by Hivos and UNDP, and is aimed at the rich constellation of actors linked to processes of social development and change: bilateral donors, community leaders, political and social leaders, NGO’s representatives, community-base organizations, social movements, public decision makers, and other actors related to social change processes.

The Theory of Change approach applied to social change processes represents a thinking-action alternative to other more rigid planning approaches and logics. When living in complex and conflictive times, we need to count with more flexible instruments that allow us to plan and monitor our actions in uncertain, emergent, and complex contexts from a flexible and non-rigid logic. As known, this thinking-action approach is also applied to institutional coaching processes and to the design of social development and change programs.

In general terms, the Guide synthesizes the core of the methodological contents and steps that are developed in a Theory of Change design workshop. The first part of the Guide describes some theoretical elements to consider when designing a Theory of Change applied to social change processes. The second part describes the basic methodological steps to develop in every design of a Theory of Change. For reinforcing this practical part, a workshop route is included, illustrating the dynamics in a workshop of this kind.

The approach and contents of the guide emerge from the learning synthesis of the author, Iñigo Retolaza, as facilitator of Theory of Change design processes where social change actors from several Latin American countries have been involved. His two main bodies of experience and knowledge are: (i) the learning space offered by Hivos, where he could facilitate several Theory of Change workshops with Hivos partner organisations in South and Central America, and (ii) his professional relation with the Democratic Dialogue Regional Project of UNDP, from a research-action approach around dialogic processes applied to various areas of the socio-political field: national dialogues on public policy making and adjusting and legislative proposals, facilitation of national and regional dialogue spaces on several issues, capacity building on dialogue for social and political leaders from several countries in the region”



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