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International Partnerships

Evaluation in practice

Evaluation methodology

The EU Better Regulation Guidelines define the overall methodological approach to evaluation across all European Commission services, but the evaluation of EU external actions also makes extensive use of the work of the OECD Development Assistance Committee. Dedicated methodologies are developed on this basis, to ascertain whether the objectives specific to EU external actions have been met and to formulate recommendations to improve future partnerships worldwide.

Types of evaluation

We manage two categories of evaluations: strategic evaluations at corporate level and intervention evaluations at the level of specific projects and programmes.

Strategic evaluations assess EU strategies, policies and actions, from design to implementation. They usually cover all activities (spending and non-spending, i.e. policy dialogue and cooperation) across several years. In doing so, they involve several European services and actors, and assess the achievement of EU priorities for external actions and progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Strategic evaluations can be of several types depending on their focus: country, regional, global, sector/policy, aid modalities (e.g. budget support) and financial instruments.

Project and programme evaluations (also known as ‘intervention-level evaluations’) assess relevance, performance and its determining factors in view of sustainability of results, EU added value and coherence, all the while gathering lessons from each intervention. These are managed by EU Delegations or the operational units in charge of the managing the interventions.

Stakeholder engagement

Evaluations provides a key opportunity for the Commission to engage with stakeholders. The Commission seeks to engage all relevant stakeholders (including Commission services, beneficiaries, civil society actors, governments and local authorities) in the evaluation process. It may, where appropriate, undertake joint evaluations with EU Member States in the spirit of a ‘Team Europe approach, and other partners, with close involvement of the authorities of concerned partner countries.

Evaluation planning

An evaluation work programme (EWP) is available for strategic evaluations foreseen in the upcoming 5 years. It is updated on a yearly basis.

Yearly operational evaluation plans (OEP) are also available for projects and programmes (intervention-level) evaluations and are also regularly updated.