ABSTRACT

The previous chapter explored the potential value-add of complexity theory to understanding change and impact in peace operations. The purpose of this chapter is to outline a framework for doing M&E that is informed by complexity theory in order to overcome the challenges facing UNPOL and the M&E thereof identified in Chapters 1 and 2. The framework is not meant to be an exhaustive methodology for conducting M&E per se. Instead, it draws together the central tenets of what I propose to be an improvement in extant thinking and praxis into a framework for context-specific application. The framework is underpinned by ideas and concepts synonymous with complexity theory in two key ways. First, complexity concepts inform the circular and systemic design of the overarching framework such that it is iterative, context-sensitive and incorporates feedback processes. These qualities render the approach more responsive to the emergent nature of change and more capable of facilitating both first-level and second-level organisational learning. Second, the field-level M&E process embedded within the framework is grounded in complexity principles that pertain to issues of causality and attribution in dynamic and unpredictable circumstances. It therefore details three key areas. First, it specifies demands for foregrounding assessments to ensure context-awareness. Second, it introduces important criteria for the selection of data sources and methods to ensure the approach is outcome/impact-focused, has the capacity for flexibility, and privileges participation – advocating a methodologically ecumenical approach that utilises a combination of methods as appropriate. Third, it lays out the imperatives for careful interpretation and response to findings. Overall, the framework presents an approach to M&E that not only provides an innovative way of tracking the impact of UNPOL activities in the field but is also tailored to contribute to and enable organisational learning objectives. The chapter proceeds in three main parts. The first section introduces the overarching framework, presenting its architecture, the rationale for

its design and its key features. The second section explicates the internal field-level 3-step M&E process, describing each step in turn and suggesting the possible tools and methods for its execution as well as relating each step to the others. The third section articulates how the framework facilitates learning processes, including how this is designed to feed back into and inform mission planning. The chapter concludes by summarising the main elements of the framework and its potential benefits as a foundation for the primary field research in subsequent chapters.