Relevant? Almost Always: The Role of the Relevance Criterion in Development M&E

2 June, 16:00 – 17:00,

Welcome to a seminar on the relevance criterion in development M&E arranged by EBA as part of the GEI gLocal Evaluation Week!

The use of the OECD/DAC evaluation criteria is now standard in most development evaluations. Relevance is sometimes considered a key criterion insofar that it represents a “gatekeeper” to others. If an activity is not relevant, why examine whether the wrong thing has been done efficiently? Or sustainably? Yet, the role of the relevance criterion can be ambiguous, and some have noted that it is often used too generously—evaluators almost always find that interventions are relevant.

Against such a background, how can we understand the purpose and usage of the relevance criterion? This question is addressed in the EBA working paper Relevant? Almost Always: Relevance in Development Cooperation. This seminar will use the paper as a departure point for a discussion on how the relevance criterion can be made more useful in development monitoring and evaluation activities.


Joel Samoff, Report author and Adjunct Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at the Center for African Studies at Stanford University

Cecilia Ljungman, Managing Director for NIRAS International Consulting, France

Alison Pollard, Evaluation Policy Analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Zenda Ofir, Independent Evaluator

Moderator: Kim Forss, Member of the Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA) and Development Consultant


This mini-seminar will be broadcast live on Zoom. Please register using the link in the column to the right.