Representing Bhutan as one of the panelists at the Fourth Evaluation Conclave at Le Méridien in Thimphu, National Council member Jigme Rinzin, said that Bhutan today has a very weak evaluation system, poor technical capacity, lacks funding to conduct the evaluation and there is a need for the standard evaluation report.

Talking at the panel  discussion themed: ‘Are Parliamentarians Successful Advocates for Evaluation’, Jigme Rinzin said that, as a legislator, more standard evaluated reports would mean more reference to while making evident-based decision.

He added that there was a need to promote evaluation to sustain and ensure that every penny is spent wisely, which is why a legislator should provide legal framework and guidelines.

Jigme Rinzin said that it was probably because the parliamentarian never considered the significance of evaluation report in Bhutan, which is why Bhutan does not have adequate and reliable evaluation report to help legislators conduct review and make decisions.

“I was involved in three committees, including the education and hydropower. While reviewing, we did not find any evaluated reports in Bhutan that could help our review,” he said.

Evaluation is fairly a new concept in Bhutan, Jigme Rinzin told the participants and that everything was taken care by the oversight bodies like Anti-Corruption Commission and Royal Audit Authority.

He said that because there is such misconception and lack of understanding, there is no demand for evaluation. Parliamentarians, he added, should create the demand and lead to enhance evaluation so that consultants can conduct evaluation report.

“This is my personal observation over the last nine years as a parliamentarian,” Jigme Rinzin said. “The observation was prepared with the idea to share and attract Bhutanese audience, especially from Gross National Happiness Commission so that they could take note of analysis on evaluation.”

Jigme Rinzin said that although Bhutan has a draft national evaluation policy, which was drafted in 2010, this has remained still as a draft.

“The draft has somehow not gone through the final phase so that consultants could abide by the policy and guidelines,” he said. “Evaluation Association of Bhutan was also formed in 2013, but the CSO Authority has still not approved as CSO and there are more to do to strengthen the association.”

Although there should have been more participants from GNHC, But only a few have come to attend.

Jigme Rinzin said that it was observed that although GNHC and ministries provide annual reports, the reports talk more good things than bad. “This is why the policy is important to provide professional capacity development to evaluators. Parliamentarians should start using more evaluation report.”

An independent, third party observation could help make informed analysis.

“There is no sense of ownership for evaluation with a lack of communication between implementing agency, the user of the report and stakeholders,” said Jigme Rinzin.

A panellist from Sri Lanka said that by supporting legislation on evaluation and national evaluation policy in the country, it would be mandatory for the government to make sure evaluation is equity-focused. The parliamentarian can influence government to include evaluation as the main tool.

A panellist from Bangladesh said: “We should have a parliament forum in the country to sit together and plan to involve, motivate and work on evaluation.”

The four-day evaluation conclave ended yesterday.

Yangchen C Rinzin