Inspectie Ontwikkelingssamenwerking en Beleidsevaluatie

About IOB


The objective of the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) is to increase insight into the implementation and effects of Dutch foreign policy. IOB meets the need for independent evaluation of policy and operations in all the policy fields of the Homogeneous Budget for International Cooperation (HGIS).

IOB also advises on the planning and implementation of evaluations that are the responsibility of policy departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its evaluations enable the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Development Cooperation to account to parliament for policy and the allocation of resources. In addition, the evaluations aim to derive lessons for the future. To this end, efforts are made to incorporate the findings of evaluations into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' policy cycle.

Evaluation reports are used to provide targeted feedback for the purpose of improving policy formulation and implementation. Insight into the outcomes of implemented policies allows policy makers to devise measures that are more effective and focused.

Organisation and Quality Assurance

IOB has a staff of experienced senior-evaluators and an enthusiastic group of policy researchers. IOB has its own budget. When carrying out evaluations, IOB may call on assistance from external experts with specialised knowledge of the topic under investigation. To monitor its own quality, IOB appoints internal peer reviewers and sets up an external reference group for each evaluation, which includes not only external experts, but also interested parties from within the ministry, and other stakeholders. IOB's evaluation policy and guidelines for evaluations are available here.


IOB evaluations are part of the evaluation programming of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is included in the Explanatory Memorandum to chapters V and XVII of the government's budget. The MFA's evaluation programming (for Foreign Affairs and for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) is determined annually by consultations of the Secretary-General and Directors-General (SG/DG consultations).

An organisation in development

Since IOB's establishment in 1977, major shifts have taken place in its approach, areas of focus and responsibilities. In its early years, its activities took the form of separate project evaluations for the Minister for Development Cooperation.

Around 1985, evaluations have become more comprehensive, taking in sectors, themes and countries. Moreover, IOB's reports were presented to parliament, thus entering the public domain.

1996 saw a review of foreign policy and a reorganisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the review, in which the name of the department was changed from IOV (Operations Review Unit) to IOB, IOB's mandate was extended to cover the entire foreign policy of the Dutch government.

In recent years, IOB has extended its partnerships with similar departments in other countries, for instance through joint evaluations. Finally, the aim of IOB is to expand its methodological repertoire. This includes a greater emphasis on an approach in which statistical methods of impact evaluation are applied.
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