Evaluations in international development
Iceland regards evaluations as a critical tool for learning, informed decision-making and enhanced accountability in international development cooperation. This is clearly reflected in Iceland’s official policy for development cooperation for 2019-2023, which places high importance on a results-based approach to development and using evaluations to keep track of and demonstrating results.
Iceland‘s Evaluation Policy 2020-2023 outlines evaluation principles and criteria, in accordance with OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) criteria and quality standards for development evaluations.
Evaluations are initiated, prepared and managed by an independent Results and Evaluation Unit within the Directorate for International Affairs and Development Cooperation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Development. The process for evaluations is transparent and shall be independent from programme management and policy making. To ensure this independence, the unit reports directly to the Permanent Secretary of State. The cross-cutting priority issues of gender equality, human rights and environment are addressed in all evaluations.
Evaluations in 2020
A mid-term review of Phase II of the Mangochi Basic Services Programme 2017 – 2021 was completed in June 2020. Iceland works with District authorities to improve the livelihoods of rural populations by contributing to the health, education, water and sanitation, and gender and youth sectors. The specific objective (outcome) of the programme is improved provision and use of basic services in maternal health and family planning, primary education, water and sanitation, and community development, for men and women living in rural Mangochi District.
The evaluation findings indicate that the programme is already generating some impacts based on trends in impact indicators. Maternal deaths are on the decline, school drop-out rate in Standards 5 to 8 has slightly fallen, and the incidence of water borne diseases is almost non-existent due to improved access to safe water. The evaluation also finds that overall the project is soundly managed, and that in particular that local ownership of the project has contributed to its sustainability and success.
In light of delays in implementation, however, the evaluation recommends that the programme be extended by a year. Further, it recommends that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Development considers an extension of the programme span for District Programme-Based Approach (PBA), considering that the programmes work towards a long-term impact of beneficiary livelihoods.
OECD DAC mid-term review was completed in October 2020. The review took stock of the status of Iceland‘s development cooperation in light of the findings from the DAC peer review in 2017. The results were positive and the team encouraged by the progress made by Iceland, the ability of its system to adapt to new opportunities and take decisive action.
The team was pleased to note that Iceland has already taken steps to address 9 out of 13 of the DAC‘s 2017 recommendations, in particular related to focusing development cooperation in areas where it has a comparative advantage and maintaining a poverty focus; establishing and working towards an interim target of 0.35% of GNI; and increasing the number of staff with development cooperation expertise. The next DAC peer-review will take place in 2023 which will be a crucial time after a number of important evaluations have taken place, and will allow a more in-depth assessment of progress on implementing a number of new and forthcoming strategies, how Iceland manages for results and links to the SDGs, as well as exploring the results of new private sector instruments and country partnerships.
The COVID-19 epidemic has an impact on evaluation fieldwork, the annual evaluation plan for 2020 was updated accordingly. Three evaluations were postponed until 2021: the final evaluation of Buikwe Basic Services Programme in Uganda; an impact evaluation of Iceland´s development cooperation within the fisheries sector in Sri Lanka 2005-2009; and an evaluation of Iceland’s humanitarian and emergency assistance 2010-2020.
Three evaluations are planned for the second half of 2020. A formative evaluation of collaboration with academia, and an evaluation of MFA‘s governance of Civil Society Organizations collaboration have commenced. A final evaluation of the Common Fund for Fisheries in Mozambique is planned in collaboration with Norway, but will be rolled-out when circumstances warrant.
Evaluations in 2019
In 2019, an external, final evaluation of the Geothermal Exploration Project was conducted. The main objective of the project was to assist countries in the East Africa Rift System (EARS) to increase their knowledge of geothermal potential by conducting reconnaissance and surface exploration studies and to build capacity and expertise in the field of geothermal development and utilization. The project was jointly funded by the MFA and the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) with a total budget of € 10 million and was implemented in collaboration with several partners, including UN Environment, the World Bank and the African Union.
Key findings of the evaluation indicate that project has clearly led to an advancement of geothermal development in partner countries and their capabilities to take further action. Relevant contributions were made, both towards individual countries achieving their overall goals, and in strengthening their organisational and human resource capacities to achieve progress. It is recommended that Iceland continues its collaboration, using a demand-led approach.
Iceland participated in a joint Nordic Evaluation of the Nordic Development Fund in 2019. Key findings were positive and indicated that the NDF is well-functioning and has good future potential. At the same time, the evaluation also concluded that if the NDF´s programs are to continue, its owners need to contribute more capital and the Fund´s system for monitoring, evaluation and learning to be improved.
In addition, internal reviews were conducted for the United Nations University Programmes in Iceland, as a part of MFA´s feasibility studies for the establishment of GRÓ Centre for Capacity Development, Sustainability and Societal Change.
- UNICEF STRATEGIC PLAN 2018–2021: Executive Summary
- MOPAN UNICEF assessment (2012)
- MOPAN UNICEF assessment (2015 and 2016)
- UNICEF - evaluations by category
- UNICEF's Humanitarian evaluations
- Joint evaluation of UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. Final Report
- UNICEF Stragetic Plan 2014-2017
- UN Women Annual Reports
- Evaluation on the Contribution of UN-Women to Prevent Violence against Women (2013)
- UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women - Annual Reports
- Various UN Women Evaluations
- MOPAN assessment of UN Women (2014)
- Strategic Plan 2014-2017
- Strategic Plan 2018-2021
IDA (International Development Association)
MOPAN Assessment of the World Bank
ESMAP (Energy Sector Management Assistance Program)
PROFISH (The Global Program on Fisheries)
Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality
Human Rights and Development Trust Fund
Nordic Development Fund (NDF)
GRÓ Centre for Capacity Development, Sustinability and Societal Change
Fisheries Training Programme
The Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme
The Land Restoration Training Programme
The Geothermal Training Programme
- Training Activities Offered On-Site in Developing Countries
- Capacity Building for Geothermal Energy Development for 36 Years
- Report of the Commissioner-General 2013
- Harmonized Results Report (2013)
- MOPAN UNRWA Assessment (2011)
Maternal Health Thematic Fund
Program: Iceland - Nicaragua: Geothermal Capacity Building Project 2008-2012 : Component: Report on the External Final Evaluation of Iceland - Nicaragua: Geothermal Capacity Building Project 2008-2012 / Alta Consulting ; Reykir Consulting, June 2013
Programa: Islandia - Nicaragua: Proyecto de Fortalecimiento de Capacidades Geotermia 2008-2012 : Componente: Informe de la Evaluación Final Externe del Proyecto de Fortalecimiento de Capacidades en Geotermia 2008-2012 / Alta Consulting ; Reykir Consulting, Junio 2013
Malawi and Uganda:
- EVALUATION OF ENZA: Final report (2018)
- Icelandic CSO Evaluation: Synthesis Report (2018)
- Icelandic CSO Evaluation: Icelandic Red Cross Support in Belarus (2018)
- Icelandic CSO Evaluation: ICA Support in Ethiopia (2018)
- Icelandic CSO Evaluation: Icelandic Red Cross Support in Malawi (2018)
- Icelandic CSO Evaluation: ICA Support in Uganda (2018)
- ICRC - External Review (2012)
- JIJIGA INTEGRATED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT External Evaluation of Second Phase funded by ICA (2014)
- ABC Children's Aid - Kenya: Construction Project in Nairobi and Project in Loitokitok Evaluation Report (2014)