The effective sustainable implementation of development cooperation is one of the major objectives of the Austrian Development Agency, the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation. To ensure this, strategies, sectors, instruments, themes, programmes and projects are evaluated regularly to provide the best possible quality and impact of Austrian development activities.
Aiming at effectiveness and sustainability
Evaluations facilitate learning and help the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) as well as the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and other partner organisations to make their work as effective as possible. They assess the quality and the extent to which the Austrian supported interventions have achieved their results so that possible corrective measures can be taken if necessary.
Strategic evaluation reports are published and inform tax payers and policy decision-makers of the outcomes of development cooperation.
Taking joint responsibility
In consultation with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs prepares a two-year evaluation programme for strategic evaluations. Project and programme evaluations are carried out directly with project organisations.
Principles and criterias
ADA conducts evaluations in keeping with the principles and quality criteria of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC):
The planning and execution of an evaluation must assure the greatest possible objectivity and impartiality. Evaluations are therefore carried out by teams of independent, international experts with the collaboration of national experts from partner countries.
The evaluation team must be able to draw on the necessary methodological and subject related knowledge as well as social skills. The methods applied in the evaluation and its findings must be presented clearly in the reports.
Evaluation is designed as a process: External expertise and assessment is combined with a critical discussion by the project stakeholders and target population to gain new perspectives and reach agreements on future work.
The subject, purpose, scope, addressees, evaluation questions, methods, schedule, qualifications of the evaluation team, reporting and coordination must be clearly defined in the terms of reference for the evaluation.
The evaluation findings should be useful for all stakeholders. Steps must be taken to ensure that they are implemented by the policy and operational decision-makers.
All evaluations include the international quality criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.
Evaluation in the future
To account for current developments, the Austrian Development Agency is pursuing new methods and approaches in evaluation. Evaluations will be carried out increasingly with other donors in the future. Added to this is the great challenge of propagating and institutionalising evaluation findings, because this is the only way to ensure that these find their way into both policy dialogue and development cooperation practice.