Conference: Measuring what matters in a 'post-truth' society

Organised by Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation

Thu 6 April 2017

What this conference is about

This conference seeks to get clarity and learn about how to measure what matters, when we are aiming for SDGs yet we seem to live in a ‘post-truth’ society.

“Partnership and collaboration across every sector and at every level is vital if we are to meet the 2030 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. We need to find ways to measure progress in ways that have meaning to individuals from local to global, and across every sector. The range of organizations and stakeholders present and the range of initiatives being developed show how the Goals can be used to develop a shared framework.” – Jessica Fries , Executive Chairman, A4S. In: Measure What Matters: a Framework for Action (2016).

How do we get to the core of what matters to be evaluated? And for who? How can we generate evidence that has meaning for society at large, not just the key players in society?

How do we contribute to this as evaluators, program officers, policy makers, when facts seem to become less influential than emotions and personal beliefs?

According to the Oxford Dictionaries ‘post-truth’ is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. We can see what happened in the UK (Brexit) and USA (Trump). Evaluators are not the only ones that advocate for evidence-based decision making: 'An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world' (Common Dreams,25 January 2017;

This conference is about measuring what matters in a post-truth society.


  • Claire Hutchings, Head of Programme Quality, Oxfam GB ( - perspective INGO
  • Wendy Asbeek,  Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  Director Policy and Operations Evaluation ( IOB) - perspective government & evaluators
  • Robert Dijksterhuis, Board Member International Programs RVO (Netherlands Enterprise Agency) - perspective private sector

 Facilitators/resource persons

Irene Guijt - OXFAM GB, head of Research

Cecile Kusters, CDI, Wageningen University & Research

Conference questions

  • Is post-truth really a ‘fact’? How does this influence our choices in evaluative practice?
  • How do we measure what matters, and for who? Decision-makers? Voters? Other stakeholders?
  • What can we do to really get to the heart of what matters?

Who this conference is for

This conference is for people involved in development initiatives, from government, international organisations, civil society, private sector, M&E and academia.

Book launch

We aim to launch our new guide ‘Managing for Sustainable Development Impact. An Integrated Approach to Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation’ at the end of the conference!

More info will follow soon.

Conference products

Conference products include presentations, background information,and a conference report will be placed on this conference website.

Conference organisers

This conference is the ninth annual ‘M&E on the Cutting Edge’ event organised by Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (CDI),  in collaboration with OXFAM GB. Other organisations keen to collaborate with this conference can contact the organisers. Past events typically attract over 150 international participants.

Conference approach

Inspiring keynotes, with interactive and reflective sessions and a panel discussion.