Evaluation is critical to effective and efficient disaster and emergency management programs and practices, for it allows those involved to look closely at what has worked and what has not worked in the past and then make changes to improve responses in the future. Without evaluation, those who coordinate disaster and emergency management plans will not be able to determine which aspects of their plan where especially effective and which need improvement. Only by looking closely and critically at what happened, how it happened, and what the outcomes were will provide the necessary information to make improvements and correct mistakes.
As far as a basis for establishing evaluation standards, many groups choose to use Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluations. This method involves acting and evaluating upon the principles of humanity (addressing suffering and protecting human life); neutrality; impartiality; and independence. Further, it uses the following criteria to ask pertinent questions about a program's points of success and/or failure: 1. relevance (with a focus on particularly vulnerable groups); 2. effectiveness (whether or not the program or practice accomplished its goals); 3. sustainability (positive vs. negative outcomes); 4. partnerships (how well various groups worked together); 5. localization (whether local organizations have participated and received support); and 6. coordination (how well the program or practice was organized and carried out).