Following consultations with stakeholders, the CGIAR Advisory Services (CAS) Shared Secretariat has been renamed to CGIAR’s Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service (IAES) to better reflect the purpose of the office.
Interest in a purpose-driven name blossomed following the publishing of the endorsed One CGIAR Operational Structure in February 2021, which indicated a possible change in name.
“After the document was released, we began to receive feedback from various stakeholders which led to discussions about identifying a new name,” says Allison Grove Smith, Director of IAES.
Consultations were held with a variety of stakeholders, including the Chair of the Independent Science for Development Council (ISDC), the Chair of the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) and CGIAR’s Global Governance and Assurance Group in its capacity as the Secretariat of CGIAR’s System Council. The topic was raised in planning meetings with CGIAR’s executive management team and with the System Council’s Strategic Impact Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (SIMEC).
“During these conversations, some participants emphasized that greater visibility is needed of our independent evaluation work, and the independent nature of the advice and evidence of ISDC and SPIA, which we support operationally,” explains Grove Smith.
Several ideas were proposed and deliberated during the process. Ultimately, most stakeholders felt that the name Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service best represented the purpose of the office and the nature of its work as both a service-oriented secretariat to two independent bodies producing impartial evidence and advice regarding CGIAR’s science agenda and outcomes and impacts, and the implementer of CGIAR’s external evaluation plan.
“Signaling where independent evaluation rests within CGIAR’s operational structure took on increasing importance after the 2019 Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN) review,” comments Karmen Bennett, CGIAR’s Global Director of Governance and Assurance (a.i.). “Expressly referencing independent in the title signals that the service has operational separation from management, thus reinforcing the assurance provided to CGIAR’s stakeholders – internal and external – on the impartiality and objectivity of the advice,” she added.
The new name comes into effect immediately and has been updated across all communication materials. A new boilerplate text has been developed for inclusion on the first page of documents and presentations. The boilerplate references the precise language of the Terms of Reference of the CGIAR Advisory Services Shared Secretariat:
We provide operational support as the secretariat for the Independent Science for Development Council and the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment, and implement CGIAR’s multi-year, independent evaluation plan as approved by the System Council.