Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

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Development Effectiveness Review of World Health Organization 2007-2010

Founded in 1948 under the United Nations system, the World Health Organization (WHO) coordinates global health-related efforts and establishes global health norms. Today, the organization employs more than 8,000 public health experts—doctors, epidemiologists, scientists, managers, administrators, and other professionals—in 147 country offices, 6 regional offices, and its Geneva headquarters.

Why conduct this review?

This review provides an independent, evidence-based assessment of WHO's development effectiveness by systematically reviewing 25 WHO evaluations published between 2007 and 2010.

What did the review find?

Evaluation evidence is insufficient to reach definitive conclusions about WHO's overall development effectiveness.

Insufficient evidence is available to make overall conclusions: The available evaluation reports do not cover a sufficient breadth of WHO results achievement at the country or major program level to allow general conclusions about WHO's development effectiveness.

The limited evaluation evidence that is available suggests that the specific WHO programs reviewed are relevant, effective, and sustainable.
  • Relevance — WHO programs reviewed appear to be relevant. They were well suited to stakeholders' needs and well aligned with national development goals. There is room, however, to better link the scale of planned activities to desired objectives, and to develop more effective partnerships with host governments.
  • Performance — WHO programs appear to be effective in achieving the organization's program objectives and expected results. Strong technical design and high levels of national and local ownership contributed to this level of success. The scale of program impact is not always clear from the evaluations reviewed.
  • Sustainability — WHO programs appear to encourage long-term sustainability. One important challenge is ensuring that partner institutions have sufficient capacity to achieve this.
  • Efficiency — WHO evaluations infrequently assessed the cost efficiency and timeliness of the programs, precluding any conclusions in this area.
  • Gender equality — Evaluations did not adequately assess effectiveness in supporting gender equality.
  • Environmental sustainability — Likewise, WHO evaluations did not adequately assess effectiveness in supporting environmental sustainability.
  • Monitoring and evaluation systems — The evaluations reviewed reported that WHO systems for evaluation and monitoring were unsatisfactory.
The WHO Executive Board recognizes the need to strengthen the evaluation function, and approved a new evaluation policy in May 2012.

What is next for CIDA?

  • Monitor implementation of the new evaluation policy and advocate for sufficient resources to provide good evaluation coverage of WHO programming over time.
  • Monitor the extent to which future WHO evaluations address gender equality.
  • Encourage WHO to publish regular reports on development effectiveness based on its strengthened evaluation function.
  • Encourage WHO to systematically manage for results.

Alternate Format

Note: If you cannot access the documents that are provided in an alternate format, refer to the Help page.

Full Report — Development Effectiveness Review of World Health Organization 2007-2010 (PDF, 1.2 MB, 79 pages)
Highlight Sheet — Development Effectiveness Review of World Health Organization 2007-2010 (PDF, 304 KB, 1 page)