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German Institute for Development Evaluation

Human Rights in German Development Policy: Concept, Implementation, Effectiveness

Background

According to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), human rights should be the guiding principle behind German development cooperation. This principle is implemented using a human rights approach that covers all aspects of development policy. The German human rights approach has the primary objective of improving the human rights situation in partner countries. The conceptual foundations of the human rights approach and its implementation are defined in a concept entitled “Human Rights in German Development Policy” (BMZ, 2011) that BMZ published in 2011 and are substantiated in guidelines for technical and financial government development cooperation (BMZ, 2013).

Objectives of the evaluation

The evaluation aims to investigate the content and implementation of the human rights concept and guidelines, as well as the effectiveness of the German human rights approach in partner countries. To achieve this, we will be conducting the evaluation in two parts, publishing the results of each part in a separate report. In the first part of the evaluation, we will begin by investigating the content and implementation of the human rights concept as a strategy in BMZ and in the implementing organisations. In the second part, we will proceed to investigate the effectiveness of the approach in partner countries. Here, we will be placing an emphasis on the realisation of human rights in the area of sustainable economic development in partner countries. BMZ believes that this area of development cooperation holds great potential for the realisation of human rights but also involves human rights risks.

Overall, the evaluation is intended to contribute to learning by identifying potential improvements to the effective implementation and further development of the human rights concept and the German human rights approach to which it explicitly refers. In investigating the implementation and effectiveness of the German human rights approach, the evaluation will also contribute to the accountability of the government, civil society and private sector development cooperation actors responsible.

Purposes and objectives of the evaluation

The evaluation includes summative and formative elements and is interested in gaining knowledge in two key areas: (1) Firstly, it aims to investigate the human rights-based approach and its implementation and effectiveness as well as to identify potential for improvement. (2) Secondly, the evaluation intends to contribute to examining the effectiveness of government, civil society and private sector actors with regard to their impact on human rights and the avoidance of human rights risks in partner countries.

These two priority areas are evaluated in the scope of two modules that follow on from one another. The evaluation aims to contribute both to learning and to accountability. In terms of learning, the goal is to identify ways of enhancing the human rights concept and its implementation at BMZ and the implementing organisations as well as to increase its effectiveness in partner countries. When it comes to accountability, the evaluation aims to provide information on the degree to which the human rights concept has been implemented and to evaluate the effectiveness of the human rights approach in the focus area of sustainable economic development.

Design and methodological approach

Due to the different types of knowledge that we are interested in gaining in the two parts of the evaluation, the methodological approaches also differ

- Part 1 of the evaluation covers strategy. It will perform an empirical comparison of the positions, objectives and fields of action from the human rights concept and the guidelines (strategy intended) with their actual implementation by the actors involved (strategy executed) and explain any differences. To this end, qualitative interviews will be held across the board with those actors who are responsible for the implementation of individual fields of action. For particularly significant fields of action, specific additional methods will also be applied in each case. These additional methods will include, for example, a survey of human rights institutions in partner countries, content analyses of product documents, expert interviews, portfolio analyses and allocation analyses

- The starting point for investigating the effectiveness of the German human rights approach in the second part of the evaluation will be what we call a programme theory. A programme theory sets out how one or more interventions should contribute towards objectives and results. In view of the high degree of complexity of the programme theory to be investigated, it makes sense to apply approaches that empirically “track” and verify individual steps of results chains. One example of such an approach is that of process tracing. We anticipate collecting the data for the second part of the evaluation in case studies in the partner countries and, where appropriate, using quantitative secondary data. The final design and the methods used will be determined during the inception phase of this part of the evaluation.

Schedule

- September – December 2019: evaluation conception phase

- January – May 2020: data collection and synthesis phase for Part 1 of the evaluation

- June 2020 – January 2021: reporting and publication of the report for Part 1 of the evaluation

- June 2020 – September 2020: inception phase for Part 2 of the evaluation

- October 2020 – September 2021: data collection and synthesis phase for Part 2 of the evaluation

- October 2021 – May 2022: reporting and publication of the report for Part 2 of the evaluation