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Evaluation of development cooperation projects

The Commission evaluates its development cooperation projects in order to improve accountability and efficiency.


The European Commission has significant experience in evaluation of its development cooperation projects. The Commission recognises that the evaluation of its interventions is crucial to make its role in development cooperation more effective.

Today, development aid stakeholders and the general public demand greater transparency in the European Union's cooperation with developing countries, increasing scrutinity on the results of these activities.

It is therefore important that the Commission has a clear and transparent framework for undertaking independent evaluation.

Purpose of evaluation

Evaluation consists in judging the results of public actions in order to check their conformity with set objectives. It has two core purposes:

  • learning to make interventions more effective: learning from experience helps those who develop strategies, design projects and implement aid
  • accountability to programme stakeholders and taxpayers: evaluation helps improve accountability in the use of resources and the results delivered by comparing the performance of aid to its original objectives.

Types of evaluation and responsibilities

The European Commission conducts evaluations at different levels:

  • Project and programme evaluations:  These evaluations are conducted at the intervention level. They provide an in-depth understanding of project/programme performance and lessons learned for the future. They are the responsibility of EU delegations or the operational unit in charge of the project/programme.
  • Strategic evaluations:  Strategic evaluations assess the results of geographic, sector/thematic policies, and instruments over a significant period of time. They contribute to accountability by assessing the quality of EU development aid as a whole and provide recommendations and lessons for policy formulation and programming. They are managed by the central evaluation unit at the Directorate-General for International Partnerships, which maintains a published work programme.