Evaluation for the Anthropocene: Global environmental perspectives

January 2020
Document Type:
Staff Publications
Juha Uitto

Evaluation Matters - He Take Tō Te Aromatawai Online First
New Zealand Council for Educational Research 2019

Author: Juha I. Uitto, GEF Independent Evaluation Office

The Sustainable Development Goals1 (SDGs) which have been adopted by 195 countries and that apply universally not only to the developing countries but also to industrialised countries, emphasise integration of the three pillars of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. In reality, however, the development discourse has focused almost exclusively on the social and economic pillars and much less on the environmental dimension, although the natural resource base and the environment form the foundational layer on which societal progress and economic development rests (Reid et al., 2017).

My perspective reflects the necessity to preserve the natural foundation, while recognising the fact that we all operate within coupled natural and human systems—the nexus where environment and development meet. This perspective, in my view, should guide both how we approach our aspirations towards sustainable development, and how we evaluate it. Our strategies should embrace integration, while evaluations must also be designed to deal with the nexus in a complex adaptive system.

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