The Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) has a long and rich experience in evaluation. DEVCO recognises that the evaluation of its interventions is crucial if it is to learn from experience in order to enhance its effectiveness in development cooperation.
Today, development aid stakeholders and the general public are demanding greater transparency in the European Union's cooperation with developing countries. This places DEVCO under increasing scrutiny regarding the results of its interventions.
So, it is important that DEVCO has a clear and transparent framework for undertaking independent evaluation (DEVCO has committed itself to develop an effective evaluation system to produce independent and high quality evaluations.)
Purpose of evaluation in EuropeAid
Evaluation consists in judging the results of public actions in order to check their conformity with set objectives. It has two core purposes:
- Learning – to improve the effectiveness of DEVCO interventions: By learning from successes and failures, evaluation generates knowledge about what has worked under which conditions, enabling those who develop strategies, design projects and implement aid to improve its effectiveness.
- Accountability – to programme stakeholders and taxpayers: Evaluation contributes to providing accountability for the use of resources and the results delivered by comparing the performance of aid to its original objectives.
Types of evaluation and responsibilities
DEVCO conducts evaluations at different levels:
- Project and programme evaluations: These evaluations are conducted at the intervention level. They provide an in-depth understanding of project/programme performance and lessons learned for the future. They are the responsibility of Delegations or the operational unit in charge of the project/programme.
- Strategic evaluations: Strategic evaluations assess the results of geographic, sector / thematic policies, and instruments over a significant period of time. They contribute to accountability by assessing the quality of EU development aid as a whole and provide recommendations and lessons for policy formulation and programming. They are managed by the central Evaluation Unit, which maintains a published work programme.