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Analysis of the Multilateral Engagement of German Development Cooperation

Multilateral development cooperation (DC) is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this sense, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) strives for strong multilateral development cooperation. However, systematic evidence gaps exist, which is why DEval is evaluating the BMZ's multilateral engagement.

© DEval, own visualization according to Reinsberg et al., 2015

Multilateral development cooperation (DC) accounts for a significant proportion of the BMZ's commitment, at just under 30 per cent of all expenditure. Multilateral DC is implemented by multilateral organisations such as the World Bank, other United Nations (UN) organisations (e.g. UNDP, WFP) and regional development banks.  The various funding modalities are of central importance: in addition to mandatory or voluntary core contributions (untied funds), so-called multi-bi contributions (tied or earmarked funds) are also used.

The DEval evaluation analyses the BMZ's multilateral engagement, paying particular attention to the financing modalities:

  • To what extent is the multilateral portfolio aligned with the BMZ's strategic priorities (relevance)?
  • To what extent are bilateral and multilateral development co-operation interlinked (coherence)? What factors facilitate or hinder this interlocking?
  • Are the financing modalities used efficiently (efficiency)?

In addition, the current state of research on the effectiveness of tied and untied funds will be analysed.



Multilateral cooperation is essential to tackle the current major global challenges. In order to achieve the SDGs and protect global public goods, the international community needs to work together. In DC, effective, efficient, and coordinated cooperation at the multilateral level is essential in addition to bilateral cooperation.

In this sense, the BMZ formulated the goal of strong multilateral cooperation in its strategy on multilateral development policy published in 2023. One of the key objectives is to make the development policy system more effective; other objectives include interlinking bilateral and multilateral development cooperation and agenda setting at the multilateral level.

Multilateral development cooperation accounts for a significant proportion of the BMZ's commitment, with just under 30 per cent of funds. Accordingly, the BMZ cooperates with many multilateral organisations, such as the UN or the World Bank Group, which are considered important multilateral actors.


The overarching aim of the evaluation is to close evidence gaps in multilateral development cooperation and to provide key findings for the implementation of the latest multilateral BMZ strategy of 2023. The evaluation is DEval's first comprehensive analysis of the BMZ's multilateral engagement. Evaluation purposes are transparency, accountability, and learning. Transparency and accountability relate to a structured and systematic analysis of the multilateral portfolio of German development cooperation. Learning is to be facilitated primarily by findings on interlocking and the effectiveness of (un)tied funds.


  • Portfolio analysis:

               1. Descriptive statistics on the allocation of funds for multilateral engagement

               2. Strategy assessment: comparison of strategic priorities with empirical evidence

               3. Portfolio similarity analysis: similarity between the BMZ's bilateral and multilateral portfolio

  • Systematic literature review: structured overview of the current literature and international scientific evidence on the effectiveness of untied and tied funds
  • Case studies: qualitative content analysis of documents and interviews


Portrait von Dr. Angela Heucher
© DEval

Dr Angela Heucher

Senior Evaluator - Team Leader, Gender Equality Officer

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-938


Portrait von Amélie Gräfin zu Eulenburg
© DEval

Amélie Gräfin zu Eulenburg

Head of Department: Sustainable Economic and Social Development, Integrity Officer

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-930


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