IDEAS was conceived to help build a community of development evaluators through a professional association that would be:
- inclusive and pluralistic
- responsive to the particular needs of developing and transition countries
- an advocate for networking, capacity building, and exchange of knowledge
- led with representative governance
- proactive in supporting regional and national efforts to promote development evaluation.
Proactive support was offered by DFID, DGIS, SDC, World Bank, and UNDP.