The IOB protocol defines our research remit and how we carry out this remit. IOB has six statutory tasks.

They are as follows:

  • To carry out high-quality evaluations that enable the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to account for its policy to parliament and society and to learn from it for future policy.
  • To ensure a balanced multi-annual evaluation programming that adequately covers the ministry’s different policy areas.
  • To help policy departments, implementing organisations and organisations subsidised by the ministry carry out high-quality evaluations, for example by drawing up the necessary guidelines and providing them with targeted advice on questions related to the design and implementation of evaluations.
  • To actively disseminate the knowledge and insights gained from the evaluations to stakeholders inside and outside the ministry.
  • To advise on current and new foreign policy on the basis of the evaluations and the lessons to be drawn from them.
  • Support the evaluation capacity of our partner countries, for example by training or providing training to stakeholders in these countries.

Our work can be divided into three categories:

Periodic reviews, impact studies and other evaluations

The evaluations that IOB carries out and publishes include periodic reviews, impact studies and other evaluation studies. The Order on Periodic Evaluation and Policy Information (Regeling Periodiek Evaluatieonderzoek, RPE) stipulates that each policy area should be periodically the subject of a policy review or impact study.
A periodic review and an impact study differ from each other in terms of the scope and requirements. A periodic review covers one or more policy articles or policy objectives of the national budget, must systematically answer a prescribed number of questions from the RPE and is the synthesis of a number of sub-studies. An impact study is less comprehensive and does not have to answer all RPE questions systematically.

IOB conducts the overall periodic reviews, as well as impact studies that are too complex for the department concerned or which cover new research themes. Other evaluation studies are outsourced. In such cases, IOB can provide support in the form of advice.


To increase the involvement of the ministry’s policy departments in the evaluation process, IOB works with so-called account holders. This enables us to keep in touch with new developments in policy practice. It also allows us to strengthen our relationship and cooperation with the departments regarding evaluation programming and evaluation results. In addition, the account holders provide support in setting up and supervising studies and evaluations outsourced to third parties. In short, they are IOB's point of contact for the policy departments.

IOB also has a support portal (the IOB Help Desk) that policy departments, Dutch missions abroad and individual employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can turn to with questions about how to set up and carry out evaluations. This includes questions such as: How do I write the Terms of Reference (ToR)? What should it say? How do I find a suitable consultant for my research? When can I approach the consultant directly and when should I use the framework agreement? How can I guarantee the quality of my research?
For more information, contact:

Training and capacity building

IOB also provides training at the Ministry in The Hague or at the Dutch representations abroad. For example, about methods and techniques, procedures and guidelines for evaluation. We want to share our knowledge about evaluation, monitoring and learning within the ministry and help increase the quality of the evaluations performed at a decentralized level.

To strengthen local monitoring and evaluation capacity, IOB supports the Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI), a unique partnership in which UNDP and the World Bank have joined forces to better serve governments' M&E capacity needs.

The GEI aims to better coordinate international support for Capacity Development Assessment (ECD) and make it more demand-oriented. Thus, the GEI aims to be a one-stop shop for governments, civil society actors and the private sector to meet national ECD needs, whether it is people training, organizational development or the development of national policies and legislation.

In addition to the Development Banks and UN agencies, GEI's main implementing partners are: the regional Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Result (CLEAR), the International Program of Development Evaluation Training (IPDET), the Program International de Formation and Evaluation du Développement (PIFED) and Better Evaluation, the M&E knowledge platform.

GEI is financially supported by a number of donors: Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Finland, Denmark, IFAD, IDB and the Netherlands (IOB).