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Sustainability in German Development Cooperation

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, sustainability became the guiding principle behind human development. This maxim also applies to German development cooperation (DC). DEval has investigated how and to what quality sustainability has been evaluated in German DC up to now and where there is potential for improvement. The evaluation was completed in 2018.

In 2015, the United Nations passed the 2030 Agenda, defining 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs combine economic development with social equality and ecological balance. All countries are called on to implement the sustainability agenda. German development cooperation, too, needs to adapt its projects and measures accordingly.

In an evaluation synthesis, DEval has investigated the factors that influence the sustainability of development measures. Moreover, the institute has performed a meta evaluation analysing how the sustainability of projects has been evaluated up to now and how evaluation practice can be improved. The evaluation is embedded in the topic of sustainability in development cooperation, on which DEval has been focussing for many years.

 

Results and recommendations

Sustainability is evaluated very inconsistently and unsystematically in German development cooperation.

A large number of different criteria are used for the evaluations, making them rather difficult to compare. As a result, the potential for learning from the evaluations and thus improving the sustainability of German development measures in the long term is greatly limited.

The evaluations use an outdated concept of sustainability.

Although they refer to numerous individual aspects of the 2030 Agenda, they do not take account, for example, of correlations between social, economic and environmental impacts with a view to the global Sustainable Development Goals. In the future, examination questions should be geared towards the principles and goals of the 2030 Agenda.

In view of the inadequate quality of methods used in evaluation practice up to now, DEval recommends reforming the existing project evaluations.

It is especially necessary here to improve the evidence of impact and sustainability, and to present the methodical procedure transparently in the evaluation reports of KfW and GIZ.

 

The evaluation was completed in 2018. This is a summary of the results and recommendations; you can find the complete results and recommendations in the report.

Objectives of the evaluation

The aim of the evaluation was to establish the current state of evaluation and assessment practice for sustainability in evaluations performed by the KfW Development Bank (KfW) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). In addition, it investigated the factors that influence the sustainability of German DC projects.


The following questions were examined: How can the evaluation practice for assessing the sustainability of German DC projects be improved? How can a greater emphasis be placed on sustainability in German DC? How can German DC manage its processes more in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals?


The results of the investigations were intended to provide guidance for KfW and GIZ on planning and implementing high-quality evaluations. They were also intended to identify success factors for the sustainability of projects. The aim was to disseminate relevant management knowledge with regard to a sustainability orientation in German DC.


The evaluation reports were published in January 2018. The evaluation is embedded in the topic of sustainability in development cooperation, on which DEval has been focussing for many years.

Background

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda also presents new challenges for German DC. To contribute to sustainable development as defined by the 2030 Agenda, German DC needs to focus to a greater extent on the sustainability of its projects. To this end, an assessment practice for sustainability is also needed that adapts to the new framework conditions.

Methods

A total of 513 evaluation reports by the KfW Development Bank (KfW) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) were analysed for the evaluation. The quality of methods used in the reports and the sustainability evaluation practice were recorded as part of a meta evaluation by means of a quantitative content analysis. Moreover, the impact of country- and project-specific factors on the sustainability of development measures was determined in an evaluation synthesis using different inferential statistical analysis procedures.

Team

Contact

Portrait von Dr. Martin Noltze
© DEval

Dr Martin Noltze

Senior Evaluator - Team Leader

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-934

E-mail: martin.noltze@DEval.org

[Translate to Englisch:] Portrait Sven Harten
© DEval

Dr Sven Harten

Head of Competence Centre for Evaluation Methodology / Deputy Director

Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-950

E-mail: sven.harten@DEval.org

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