In February 2023, Chris Roche and Allan Illingworth joined other Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) practitioners, development partners and government officials from the Pacific in Nadi for a four-day ‘Second Pacific MEL Convening’. The meeting was a follow-on from the inaugural MEL Convening which was held in 2019 and helped shape and develop the Pacific Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Capacity Strengthening Rebbilib. This second convening brought together a broad range of MEL stakeholders with an interest in strengthening MEL capacity in the region and with a focus on strengthening MEL visibility, awareness, accessibility (Data challenges) and leadership in and with Pacific countries.
Discussions focused on how to change the development dialogue to have an increased understanding of MEL context in the Pacific including shared challenges, key lessons learned and regional aspirations including the Pacific’s unique MEL culture. Similarly, it also sought to improve communication between a wider network of stakeholders including MEL professionals and enthusiasts, government, private sector, development partner organisations and leaders. A side group of donor partners also met as part of the ‘Duavata group’ discussing improved donor roles in MEL and activities which could contribute to this space. Finally the group worked together to identify capacity strengthening strategies to addressing planning, monitoring and data challenges in the Pacific. Going forward, this network of Pacific MEL practitioners and Country delegates have drafted Eight Priorities for MEL in the Pacific and crafted an Updated Call to Action which can be brought to the CROP agencies and national governments in the Pacific Islands.