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A main objective of Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) is effective and sustainable development assistance. In order to ensure this, strategies, sectors, instruments, topics, programmes and projects are regularly evaluated. These evaluations help to improve the quality and impact of Austrian development activities.
Evaluations facilitate learning processes in Austrian Development Cooperation and support ADC's partner organisations to optimize their performance. In addition, evaluation findings are applied to ascertain the quality of Austrian contributions, determine to which extent the results have been achieved and to take corrective measures, if necessary.
The reports of strategic evaluations are published, informing taxpayers and policymakers about the results of development cooperation.
In coordination with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (FMeiA) develops a two-year evaluation programme for strategic evaluations. These evaluations are managed by ADA together with the FMeiA. Project and programme evaluations are directly conducted with partner organisations.
ADC's evaluations follow the principles and the quality criteria of the OECD DAC. Important principles are:
During the planning and implementation process of an evaluation the greatest possible degree of objectivity and impartiality have to be aimed for. Evaluators have to be totally independent from operational implementation of the intervention. Therefore evaluations are conducted by external and international teams including national experts.
The evaluation team needs to have the necessary knowledge regarding methods, content and social skills. The applied evaluation methods and its results need to be presented in a comprehensive manner in the evaluation report.
Evaluation is process oriented, combining external expertise and assessment of stakeholders and target groups in order to generate new perceptions and commitments for the cooperation in future
Purpose, objectives, scope, target groups, evaluation questions, methods, time schedule, evaluation team qualifications, expected reports and coordination have to be clearly defined in the Terms of Reference.
Clear lines of responsibility for the follow-up of evaluation recommendations are required for the political and operational decision-makers. The evaluation results should be useful for all involved stakeholders.
All evaluations include the quality criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.
In order to accommodate current development trends, ADC is looking for new methods and approaches in evaluation. In future, evaluations will be carried out more with other donors. Another major challenge is the dissemination and institutionalisation of evaluation findings ensuring that they are incorporated into both policy dialogue and development cooperation practice.