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29.03.2019 - What do partner countries need for sustainable development?

Support for building schools or medical services, for agriculture or the energy supply – the activities of donors in a partner country are generally very varied. To improve the steering of these activities, donors are placing a growing emphasis on overall country strategies. But do these contribute to integrated sustainable development in the partner country, as required by Agenda 2030? And what can be said about the effectiveness of the many different activities?

Country portfolio analyses supply the necessary evidence for the drafting and continuing development of such country strategies. The purpose of looking at the entirety of activities in a country – the country portfolio – is to answer the questions: what does the country need for development to be sustainable, and to that end, what measures are necessary?

This was the subject of a workshop held in Paris at the end of February by the German Institute for Development Evaluation (DEval) in cooperation with the Evaluation Network of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD-DAC EvalNet). The workshop, attended by more than 60 evaluation experts from around 35 bilateral and multilateral organisations, aimed to foster the exchange of experience among donors and support the participants in developing and improving their analytical instruments.

The workshop made it clear that many donors see country portfolio analyses as key instruments for evidence-based portfolio steering. At the same time, some of the participants voiced unanswered questions regarding the assessment of relevance, coherence or effectiveness. During the discussion, potential for improving donor coordination when carrying out country portfolio analyses was also identified.

Accordingly, the DEval report on "Developing a strategic portfolio analysis tool for German development cooperation" will provide an impulse for the continuing development of such analysis instruments. The report will be published in the second quarter of 2019.

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