German Institute for Development Evaluation

Evaluation synthesis on (official) German development cooperation in fragile contexts (concluded)

The evaluation examines the effectiveness of bilateral, official German development cooperation (DC) in fragile contexts. Fragile contexts are characterised by a lack of state authority, capacity and legitimacy and place considerable demands on the implementation of development measures. Despite this, the number of DC activities with fragile states is steadily increasing.


The evaluation aims to contribute to improving the understanding of German official DC in fragile contexts in two respects. A portfolio analysis compares concepts of state fragility and examines the core principles pursued by German DC in its strategy to support fragile states. Furthermore, consideration is given to the extent to which strategies are reflected in the allocation structure. In order to identify the concepts and core principles involved, the portfolio analysis first and foremost considers the guiding principles of current strategies and guidelines, in addition to academic publications. The allocation structure is analysed using the OECD-DAC’s Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and data from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).

In a second step, an evaluation synthesis examines how the fragility of the context affects the effectiveness of different DC instruments and their evaluation. While many evaluations and research publications consider the effectiveness of individual instruments, evaluation syntheses focus on the influence of context. The effectiveness and the quality of reporting are analysed based on an assessment of around 1,000 evaluation reports published by the implementing organisations GIZ and KfW.


This evaluation is designed to improve the effectiveness of German DC in four respects: Firstly, it will support the selection of a suitable concept and a model for measuring fragility. Secondly, it will demonstrate the extent to which development practices correspond with strategic guidelines. Thirdly, it will show how the quality of evaluations in fragile contexts can be supported. And fourthly, the evaluation will provide information for strategy development and project programming in fragile contexts.

The evaluation addresses the following issues:

1. What concepts of state fragility are suitable for the programming of German DC projects?

2. In what areas is the German strategy for supporting fragile contexts consistent? Where have changes been made? To what extent is this reflected in the allocation structure?

3. To what extent does the fragile context affect the quality of evaluations?

4. To what extent does the fragile context affect the success of different types of DC?

As at: June 2018