There are three main types of project and programme cycle management approaches: sector policy support, budget support and project support. For further information please go to Aid delivery methods.
The core methodological guidance refers to the EuropeAid methodology orientating EU External assistance funded actions. Guidance is provided to EuropeAid staff on the key means of preparing, implementing and evaluating external aid actions:
Since 2010, the European Commission has intensified the use of Joint Evaluations carried out with other donors, focusing particularly on EU Member States. Joint evaluations are used systematically for budget support interventions and where possible for country level evaluation.
The Commission is also committed to join with Member States in deciding strategy for co-operation with partner countries, so that the logic of joint country-level evaluations is strengthened.
Cooperation with the Member States' evaluation units is also regarded as essential and should be further intensified. Periodic meetings with EU Heads of Evaluation Services are already taking place to exchange ideas and best practices, to encourage dialogue on common evaluation issues and to improve practices.
Does aid reach the people who need it? How effective is the EU in reaching its objectives? Are EU development policies the right ones, and are they appropriately applied? Could EuropeAid deliver its aid more efficiently?
Strategic evaluations analyse EU strategies from conception to implementation, assessing the results of EU funded activities. These evaluations are complex, covering several programmes and instruments over a significant period of time. They are conducted at several levels : country, region or sector; they can also assess the procedures and instruments EuropeAid uses to provide aid.
The objective is to draw lessons from what has worked and what has not, so that EuropeAid can improve accountability and enhance its effectiveness. Strategic evaluations help understand why in a specific context development strategies have been successful or not, and provide recommendations to the decision-makers for the future programming and implementation.The Evaluation Unit ensures the quality and objectivity of strategic evaluations
Within EuropeAid, it is the role of the Evaluation Unit to ensure the independence of the evaluation process and the objectivity and quality of the evaluation reports in order to increase the credibility of the findings, conclusions and recommendations.
To ensure the objectivity of each evaluation, the Evaluation Unit contracts independent evaluation experts and ensures that they apply a robust methodology for evaluation in a transparent way. The Unit coordinates their work, with the support of a steering group of experts, throughout the process to guarantee the quality of the evaluation. Once the report is finalised, it ensures its distribution and publication, as well as the follow-up of the main recommendations by the relevant EU institutions and services.Work Programme
A work programme defined by the European Commission establishes the list of countries, regions, instruments or sectors of cooperation to be evaluated on the principle that cooperation with partner countries should be evaluated on a regular basis. This programme can, however, be adjusted to take into account political and development priorities as well as programming phases and legal frameworks.
For more information about evaluation reports or to order a hard copy, please send a message to the Evaluation Unit.
Directorate-General for Development and Co-operation EuropeAid
L-41 - 03/86
Has a project reached its stated objectives? Where there any unforeseen positive or negative effects? What could be learned from the experience and how can EuropeAid and its partners do an even better job next time? How can an on-going intervention be improved to maximize its results?
EuropeAid commissions evaluations of individual EU-funded projects and programmes during and after their implementation. Evaluations on project/programme level are used to improve on-going operations and to learn from experience. Good practice but also negative experience can help to design and manage better projects in the future.
Project evaluations are managed by the EU Delegations or EuropeAid Headquarter units in charge of the intervention to be evaluated. Independent external experts are hired to conduct the evaluation. A Reference Group composed on partner government officials, local stakeholders and, if applicable, donors active in related projects accompany the evaluation and ensure that the recommendations are taken up.
Project Evaluations are following a methodology defined by EuropeAid’s Evaluation Unit. Project evaluations are complemented by EuropeAid’s project reviews, the Results Oriented Monitoring (ROM) system.
The quality of an evaluation depends on the application of appropriate methodology to professional standards. EuropeAid has developed over the years a robust evaluation approach. This approach is available hereunder:
Detailed evaluation guidelines: detailed guidance on the different phases of an evaluation. These guidelines have been designed for evaluation managers or evaluators.
Vol 2 - Guidelines for geographic and thematic evaluations
Vol 3 - Guidelines for project and programme evaluations
Evaluation tools: to structure an evaluation, to collect and analyse data, to assist the formulation of judgments.
Vol 4 - Evaluation tools
The way development aid is provided is constantly evolving. To reflect this changing in context, EuropeAid develops new, appropriate and innovative methodological tools in cooperation with international institutions such as the OECD and the World Bank.
Two major new approaches to evaluate budget support programmes and capacity development interventions which have recently been produced, tested and published are:
DEVCO is responsible for implementing the majority of the Commission's external assistance instruments. It is up to EuropeAid to get the best possible results from this work.
As set out in the Agenda for Change Communication, we are committed to promote a common-based results approach with EU member states and enhance our capacity to monitor and evaluate results.
In order to report on the Millennium Development Goals, EuropeAid has produced the brochure EU Contribution to the Millennium Development Goals (2010) which has been updated in September 2013.
In 2012, an EU Experts Group on Results has been created to contribute to this aim counting with the participation of Commission services, the EEAS and Member states. More information on the work of this Group can be found on Capacity4Dev website.
In December 2013 the Commission issued the Staff Working Document (2013) 530 "Paving the way for an EU Development and Cooperation Results Framework". Such framework will attempt to measure the EU contribution towards the global development progress (e.g. MDGs) and – more concretely – to a set of development outcomes and outputs supported by EuropeAid and EEAS over the next years – focusing on the priority sectors of EU cooperation as stated in the Agenda for Change.
The EU Development and Cooperation Results Framework aims to be operational as of 2015.
In addition to the monitoring of projects and programmes by the EU Delegations in the field and by the Commission’s Headquarters services, the Commission also operates an external, independent review system, called Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) for its focus on the performance of projects and programmes. It aims to provide both EU Delegations and Headquarters with qualitative and quantitative data on the performance of the projects and programmes which receive EU financial support. ROM focus on problematic projects and programmes as assessed by Operational Managers in their annual reporting exercise.
ROM thus provides, at the level of a project or a programme, feedback to project managers and supervisors on the performance of the implementation under their responsibility and, where appropriate, gives recommendations on how to improve or rectify/modify them.
At the level of the Commission’s reporting, ROM provides a general overview of the performance of projects and programmes.
How does it work?
ROM reviews are based on document reviews and on-site visits to projects carried out by external sector experts. The analysis is structured around the five OECD-DAC evaluation criteria (relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability), it also reports on progress of results.
The ROM Report (MR) is presenting the findings of the ROM project visit. It includes general and financial information on the project, grades to characterize the quality of implementation ('very good', 'good', 'problems', 'serious deficiencies') and, where appropriate, recommendations for improvement.
The ROM report offers a good opportunity to discuss the state of play of different projects with the EU Delegations and stakeholders.
ROM reviews are organized by service contractors in agreement with the Commission’s HQ services and the EU delegation concerned. The contractors are selected per geographical region as well as one contractor for a number of thematic projects and programmes not limited to a specific geographic region.Do you want to know more? Further information is available on the Capacity4dev group dedicated to the methodology and results of ROM.
What is it and why is it important?
Monitoring of projects and programmes aims at supporting project management of projects and programmes. It helps manage its risks. It involves the systematic and continuous collection of data useful for further analysis (review and evaluation) and for informed decision-making.
Monitoring often focuses mainly on the project’s or programme’s inputs, activities and outputs. It should also look at how the outputs can effectively induce the outcomes and impact which the project or programme is aiming at. Appropriate monitoring is key for ensuring the necessary accountability in relation to the performance and results of a project or programme.
A key role for Operational Managers is to check and, if relevant, promote updating and improvements of project design, work plans and other management tools. Operational managers should assess the quality/capacity of existing monitoring arrangements, with a view to ensuring quality of the Operations.
How does it work?
Monitoring takes place at different levels. It is necessary within the project or programme, which must have the monitoring arrangements in place which allow the project managers to see where they stand with implementation. Specific monitoring arrangements are defined for each project and programme.
Monitoring also takes place at the level of the supervisory authorities and on the side of the donor.
The guidance document “Strengthening Project Internal Monitoring” aims to assist the European Commission staff of EuropeAid in the monitoring of projects and programmes as well as mainstreaming good practices.
The way EuropeAid transfers funds to recipient governments – and the types of budget support – is further explained in 'Budget support and dialogue with partner countries' .
Aid is provided either through different methods which span from support to specific projects and programmes to support to the budget of a recipient government. Essentially, there are two aid delivery methods, i.e. two types of an action in terms of policy with geographical focus: budget support and project modality
Projects can either support a government to implement a sector policy and improve service delivery, or can be designed as standalone projects, for example to support civil society or private sector.
Where the conditions are right, the Commission is committed to provide budget support as a means to strengthening country ownership, financing national development strategies (including poverty reduction strategies) and promoting sound and transparent public finances. Budget support involves the direct transfer of funds to a partner country’s budget where they can be managed using national systems.
Whenever possible, the Commission promotes the sector approach to work with partner countries, other donors and stakeholders. The sector approach, which can be promoted under Budget support or project modality, usually gives partner governments greater ownership of development policy and financing. The end result is greater coherence between the allocation and use of internal and external resources of the country, spending and expected results.
The European Commission sees the sector approach as an important way of working with partner governments, donors and other stakeholders. It ensures partner governments’ ownership of development policy, strategy and spending. What is more, the sector approach offers increased coherence between national policies, sector policies, resource allocation and spending practices. And, by actively implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) and the Accra Agenda for Action (2008), it acts to minimise transaction costs incurred by partner governments.
A Sector Policy Support Programme (SPSP) will include:
For more information, please read the Guidelines on EC Support to Sector Programmes