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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.

Iceland participates in international collaboration for evaluations, within the venue of Nordic+, DAC and the COVID-19 Global Evaluation Coalition. Iceland‘s evaluations are published by the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre.

Evaluations in 2022

Following is an overview of the evaluation work planned for 2022 by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Additional evaluations may be conducted, and preliminary review and evaluability assessment is conducted before evaluations are commissioned or carried out.

Iceland adopted its third National Action Plan (NAP) in 2018 for the period 2018-2022. An evaluation, which was published in February 2022, assesses the results of the NAP with the aim of providing basis for the formation of a new NAP, which is to be adopted in 2023.

Abstract from the evaluation: Iceland’s current National Action Plan (NAP) emphasizes the importance of cooperation between different ministries, institutions and civil society organizations that work within the area of topics stipulated under United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on women, peace and security (hereafter UNSCR 1325). The Icelandic NAP is organized into four different main themes, i.e.; (1) education and advocacy, (2) participation, (3) prevention, protection, assistance and rehabilitation, and (4) cooperation and consultation. The NAP consists of 30 different actions to achieve the goals within the four main themes. The responsibility for fulfilling these action points is shared between offices within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and its sub-organizations, i.e. the Directorate of Labour and the Directorate of Immigration, as well as the Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme under the auspices of UNESCO (GRÓ-GEST).

The NAP touches upon different sectors of society which makes cooperation between various ministries and institutions crucial even though the main responsibility of its implementation lies with the 1325 Task Force at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It should be emphasized that the NAP is not an action plan for the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs alone, but rather, it is a national strategy that outlines the Icelandic government’s approach and goals when it comes to UNSCR 1325 in cooperation with relevant institutions and civil society organizations. Therefore, it is important that relevant key actors are involved in developing the NAP from the very beginning, since emphasis is placed on wide-reaching cooperation within society to formulate actions that will create progress on resolution 1325. This cooperation must furthermore remain active throughout the action plan’s period to ensure its successful implementation.

The evaluation of the Icelandic NAP of 2018-2022 produced the following results: There are still several action points that need to be fulfilled under the category of (1) Education and advocacy, to ensure that key actors receive education on UNSCR 1325, which is the foundation for ensuring progress on UNSCR 1325. A vital action in that regard is the mapping of key actors in the field, which has not yet been finished. The mapping of key actors needs to continue in order to raise awareness of UNSCR 1325 and ensure its implementation. Online courses would serve as a good tool to ensure that ministry staff and other stakeholders receive the required education on UNSCR 1325 regardless of their location. Iceland is a strong advocate for gender equality internationally, and has been active in working towards progress on UNSCR 1325 during the implementation period of the current NAP. However, if Iceland aims to ensure cooperation and mainstreaming within the public administration on UNSCR 1325, goals must be articulated clearly and the responsibilities of each actor defined in a manner that leaves no ambiguities for implementation. When it comes to increasing the (2) participation of women at all levels of peacebuilding and peace processes, Iceland has contributed with a training programme for women and men from conflicted areas via GRÓ GEST, Gender Equality Studies & Training Programme under the auspices of UNESCO. Iceland has also been active within the Nordic Women Mediators (NWM) network but Iceland must define what it wants to gain from the participation and develop a strategy on how Iceland can become a strong advocate within the network so that more women will be party to peace processes and peacebuilding in their own country. Another objective of the NAP is to second experts to work within international organizations on gender equality but such objectives must be planned in a decision-making framework within the mandate of the Icelandic government. Iceland has worked towards (3) prevention, protection, assistance and rehabilitation both internationally and domestically. Iceland supports UN Women and UNICEF projects related to UNSCR 1325 within conflict zones financially, however it is important to consider how Iceland defines the concept of UNSCR 1325, and thus its objectives, in order to evaluate the success of the projects.

Additionally, Iceland currently supports other organizations where emphasis is also warranted, such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). One of the goals of the NAP is to provide information regarding measures of rehabilitation and assistance following sexual and gender-based violence to all women that have sought and/or have been granted asylum in Iceland. The Directorate of Labour has developed community education material for adult immigrants where information on different measures of rehabilitation and assistance is covered among other topics. However, the presentation is carried out in a mixed group, with both men and women participating, and it is therefore difficult to assess whether the information is adequately conveyed to the women present. Women who seek asylum in Iceland only receive this information orally in interviews connected with the asylum process. It is suggested that relevant key actors, including the women themselves, be consulted on how best to deliver this information effectively. If Iceland wishes to ensure rehabilitation to women in need, it is important to engage with key actors within the field, i.e. people working first-hand with this group of women, and the women themselves. The Istanbul Convention has been ratified and the implementation is progressing. However, interviews for this evaluation revealed that there are still cases where women do not enjoy their rights under the Convention. Work on organizing actions against human trafficking in Iceland has also progressed considerably. However, it is important to increase consultation between relevant actors in this field during the early stages of writing the next NAP to define the role and responsibility of key actors, and monitor progress. The 1325 Task Force has, however, not followed up on the progress on these issues. Information regarding this progress has subsequently not been published in the NAP progress reports as was originally intended. When it comes to domestic (4) cooperation and consultation, the objective was to activate a Consultation group for Civil-Government coordination. The group has not been activated. To ensure the participation of civil society organizations domestically, it is important to establish such a coordination group, define its mandate, and what actors should be included. Finally, according to the NAP, the 1325 Task Force should have called after information on the progress of all the action points from relevant key actors and written a progress report for the NAP, but such reports were never written. Mid-term evaluation of the NAP in 2020 was not conducted as originally intended.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has supported SOS Children's Villages, Iceland development efforts in Togo. The mid-term evaluation of "Strengthening of the fight against sexual exploitation of children, especially girls, in the Ogou District, Togo" is an independent external evaluation conducted to assess the overall level of implementation of the project and generate lessons after one and a half years of implementation. SOS Children's Villages Togo, Atakpamé Program, is implementing this project since from January 2020 to December 2022 in nine communities. The project is initiated to prevent sexual exploitation, care, and support to children, mainly girls, who have been sexually exploited. The evaluation covers activities carried out from January 2020 to June 2021 and the evaluation report was published in March 2022.

Conclusions indicate that the project will be able to achieve its objectives in the long term, provided that a rescheduling is carried out to make up for the activities that were not carried out or postponed because of the COVID-19 context. Awareness-raising activities have certainly increased the level of knowledge of families and raised awareness among the population on the consequences of the phenomenon of sexual exploitation and the need to report cases and denounce the perpetrators.

The project had developed four types of support (psychological/psychosocial, medical, legal, as well as scholar and vocational ones) for victims of sexual exploitation; those supports have helped reduce the consequences for these victims, their families, and the community. A total of 77 girls, victims of sexual exploitation, have benefited from such support.

Of the 176,897 euros planned and disbursed for the implementation of activities covering the evaluation period, 51% has been executed. This low level of budget execution is due to the delay in the start-up of activities; but above all to the COVID-19 context, which led to the postponement, even the non-implementation of several planned activities.

The mid-term implementation of the project have generated several lessons and good practices, drown from the relevance and effectiveness of the approaches, which have enabled the beneficiaries’ communities’ adherence. These include the Savings Groups (SG) approach, which seems to respond effectively to the problems of economic vulnerability of parents; the Super Nagan approach, which has given confidence to children and victims of sexual exploitation. Also, the various services developed during the project have helped victims to reduce the consequences of sexual exploitation by allowing them to continue their studies or to move towards vocational training. Cases of exploitation are increasingly reported among the population, rising from 49 cases in 2020 to 73 in the first half of 2021 and children are more likely to report abuse to their parents. Different attitudes and behaviours seem to be influenced by socio-cultural constraints. 

The project has elements that can guarantee the sustainability of its achievements, but they remain fragile and must be further consolidated before the end of the project's implementation. Six strategic recommendations are set forth, and 11 operational recommendations, which can be used for successful continuation of the implementation of the project.

Report in English
Report in French
Summary in French

This is an end of project evaluation for the Buikwe District Fishing Community Development Programme (BDFCDP) but Iceland applies a district-based programme approach in its bilateral cooperation with Uganda. Programme components are two: collaboration within the field of water and sanitation, and in the field of education. The scope of the water and sanitation component totalled 2.407.542 USD and 6.541.716 USD for the educational project component. The programme was implemented by Buikwe District Local Government (BDLG) with support from the Government of Iceland (GoI) 2018-2022. The development objective of the BDFCDP was to facilitate improvement in livelihoods and living conditions of people in 20 fishing communities in the four sub counties of Najja, Ngogwe, Nyenga and Ssi Bukunja in Buikwe district.

The evaluation relied on mixed methods, to include household survey, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and document and literature review. Further, water quality testing was performed, with total of 182 samples drawn from 13 water sources, nine from reservoir tanks, 46 from water tap stands and 114 from household drinking water containers.

Approximately 26.000 persons benefited from the water and sanitation project with access to an improved water source. Within the educational project, 87 school rooms and 19 offices were constructed in 19 schools. 92 school rooms were renovated, 21 apartments for school staff constructed, as well as four laboratories which were also equipped. Sanitation facilities were built in nine schools and 21 school kitchens constructed. Students were provided with close to 24.000 schoolbooks in core subjects.

The evaluation found the BDFCDP programme to be very relevant and aligned to the development priorities of Uganda expressed in Vision 2040, the respective NDP II, and the SDGs particularly goals 4 and 6.

The evaluators conclude that revisions in project design and approach have been made since the first phase of the BDFCDP, that local ownership is very strong and that the programme has enjoyed firm support by authorities. However, procurement processes are time consuming, which has been an obstacle for timely implementation.

Findings also indicate that the ratio of households within the programme area that have access to healthy water within 1 km., has increased to 83% from 32% from 2015. Quality of water from source is good, but there are instances of contamination in water for consumption within homes, which calls for a massive sensitization about the safe water chain. Sustainability of public toilet facilities is also a challenge and proper operation and management needs to be ensured for the future.

Schools were closed for almost two years during the project time due to COVID-19. This had an impact on some education project components, such as to build capacity for quality teaching and school leadership and district education sector management capacity.

A number of other findings and recommendations are set forth in the evaluation, which will also serve as lessons learned for the third phase of the BDFCDP which commenced in 2022.

Iceland participates in an evaluation reference group for a final evaluation of the UN Women project  “Promoting Women and Girl’s effective participation in peace, security and recovery in Mozambique” project. The project is funded by the Government of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway.  The evaluation was launched in March 2022 with an estimated completion in May 2022.

A financial audit of GRÓ was launched early April 2022. The purpose is to assess the processes and procedures concerning financial management and use of development funds by GRÓ, host institutions, the four training programmes and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, as well as follow up recommendations from previous audits.

The audit was completed in October 2022 and results shared with relevant stakeholders. As per standard work procedures, findings of financial audits are not made public. Results will be used for continued work towards enhancing efficiencies and maximizing synergies by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the GRÓ centre and the four training programmes. 

The Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) merged with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) at the beginning of 2016, when the MFA’s Development Cooperation Office took over Iceland’s bilateral development cooperation. The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has reiterated the importance of Iceland evaluating the success of the merger. The evaluation began in the middle of the year 2021, and its design is partially based on lessons from other donor countries. The evaluation focus is divided into three main fields:

  1. Efficiency and effectiveness of development cooperation
  2. Organization and strategy
  3. Human resources and management

The first two factors are based on the goals/criteria set by the merger, the Government's recommendations on the mergers of institutions, and numerical criteria for the effectiveness of development cooperation. This part of the evaluation is carried out within the MFA and is largely based on the analysis of statistical data and other factual data. Among other things, it is based on international standards of integrity and the effectiveness of development cooperation.

The third factor deals with human resources and management, but staff’s attitude towards different aspects of the merger is also be examined. An independent, external evaluators carry out this part of the evaluation. Planned completion is in first quarter 2022.

The review is planned in early 2022, in accordance with MFA‘s annual evaluation plan.

For Iceland's international development cooperation, various opportunities can be found in increased cooperation with the academic community. These include knowledge formation and dissemination, innovation, training, promotion, and awareness raising, in addition to maximizing the synergy of Iceland's work in the field of development cooperation. The Icelandic academic community has a wealth of expertise that can be used to work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Iceland's development goals. Additionally, it is important to engage young scholars in research and knowledge work in areas directly related to development cooperation. It is important that such cooperation is well defined, both in terms of goals and the ways in which Iceland intends to employ for the remainder of the duration of the current policy for international development cooperation.

The evaluation is geared towards mapping the involvement of the academic and university community in development cooperation, both in Iceland and to some extent in neighbouring countries, with the aim of defining best practices and ways for the Ministry to work with and encourage increased participation of the academic and university community in development cooperation, and thus increasing the value of Iceland's contribution to achieving the SDGs.

The evaluation began in late 2020 and is expected to be completed by mid-year 2022.

The review is intended to assess the cooperation agreement between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue, Landsbjörg, on its operation of an Icelandic International Search and Rescue Squad (ICE-SAR), participation in the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC). The agreement, which expired mid-year 2021, was intended to strengthen cooperation with ICE-SAR, both in terms of cooperation for INSARAG, which is an international network of organization dedicated to urban search and rescue following disasters, of which ICE-SAR is a founding member, and in terms of UNDAC, an emergency response under the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Additionally, the agreement was intended to strengthen the MFA’s involvement in ICE-SAR’s international cooperation.

The intention of the review is to provide input for the formulation of a new and renewed cooperation agreement between the MFA and ICE-SAR, in addition to highlighting the possibilities and shortcomings of the cooperation and arrangements that currently exist. The review is expected to be completed in first quarter 2022.

The evaluation assesses Iceland´s mechanisms for private sector collaboration in its international development. The primary focus rests on Iceland’s core mechanism, which is the SDG Partnership Fund, established in early 2019. Other mechanisms are also under review, such as collaboration with Business Iceland and technical assistance program in collaboration with multilateral institutions. The evaluation also applies forward-looking perspectives and reviews feasible ways for Iceland to collaborate via mechanisms through like-minded countries and international organizations to which Iceland is a member.

The evaluation is commissioned by the MFA and conducted by NIRAS, an international consultancy firm. The evaluation commenced in May 2022 and will be completed by fall 2022.

As a part of its regional efforts in West Africa, Iceland has collaborated with UNICEF since February 2019. The WASH projects help to ameliorate the situation in fishing communities to improve the health, well-being, and livelihoods of children and their families.

This joint evaluation assesses the results of projects with the aim of using lessons generated for future development initiatives. The evaluation will be conducted by external evaluators, commences by late 2022 and will be completed by mid-year 2023.

OECD DAC peer reviews provide in-depth examinations of development systems and policies, including lessons learned, in all DAC member countries. Iceland and Greece will conduct a peer-review of Hungary‘s international development in 2022. Consultations and missions is carried out in June and results presented 30 November 2022.

The evaluation is planned in late 2022, in accordance with MFA‘s annual evaluation plan.

Evaluations in 2021

Following evaluations were conducted in 2021.

Evaluation of the Icelandic CSO Strategy was published in February 2021. The evaluation’s scope encompassed support granted to Icelandic CSOs since 2015, with special focus dedicated to the framework agreement for humanitarian interventions between the MFA and the Icelandic Red Cross (IRC). Nearly 100 development, humanitarian, and communications projects were funded 2015-2020, in addition to 19 projects funded under a framework agreement with the IRC. These efforts involved 18 Icelandic CSOs with projects in 32 countries that had a strong poverty focus and targeted marginalized and vulnerable groups to a great degree. Results indicate that the MFA made important efforts to establish a comprehensive administrative system for CSO support during the strategy period. Recommendations call for an updated strategy; a more extensive use of framework agreements that not only extend to humanitarian assistance, but also to development cooperation; increased integration of human-rights based approaches; streamlining work procedures, and enhanced coherence.

A due diligence study of those CSOs that declared interest of engaging in framework agreements with the MFA was initiated mid-year 2021. The study, which was commissioned by the MFA and conducted by a team of external consultants, was completed in early October 2021. The reports are not made public, as the study pertains to the internal financial management of the respective CSOs. Findings will be used for a feasibility assessment for CSO partner framework agreements.

An internal review of Iceland‘s participation in the United Nations Junior Professional Officer Program 2005-2015 (Icelandic) was published in May 2021. A summary of results is available in English, and Icelandic. The review was intended to generate lessons learned for a renewed participation on Iceland’s behalf. The review sought to identify the results generated, value added for Icelandic participants and the respective UN agencies.

Ten young professionals participated in the program and were hired by three UN organizations. Two former JPOs still work within the UN system, two are employed by the MFA and three work within academia, with an emphasis on international issues. Finally, three former JPOs are engaged with international work on behalf of CSOs in international development.

Findings indicate that Iceland’s participation in the JPO program has returned various kinds of results, and a point of interest is that all candidates have pursued professional careers within the fields of international affairs and development cooperation. The main conclusions indicate that it is feasible for Iceland to participate, as long as funds are available, and the participation does not exceed reasonable limits. It is suggested that participation be based on a holistic view of the human resource base within international affairs and development cooperation in Iceland, and that implementation be based on best practices. 11 recommendations are set forth where emphasis is placed on maximizing benefits derived from participation and that the MFA formulate a professional framework for program administration. This entails for the MFA to set clear objectives and seek to learn from the participation of like-minded countries, in addition to regularly evaluating the results from participating in the JPO program.

Iceland participated in an evaluation reference group for a mid-term evaluation of the first two and a half years of implementation of the “Promoting Women and Girl’s effective participation in peace, security and recovery in Mozambique” project. The project is being funded by the Government of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway, and complementing efforts previously funded also by these donors as well as other international and national initiatives. With a duration of four years, the project started in December 2017 and was granted a Non-Cost Extension (NCE) by end in December 2021. It is currently being implemented in 17 districts and 7 provinces of the country with a total budget of approximately 4.5 million dollars. The project’s aims to promote the active and full participation of women and girls in peace, security and recovery processes in Mozambique at all levels. It has a national scope and it was set to support three main areas: (1) the drafting, consolidation and dissemination of the first National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security in Mozambique (NAP 1325), (2) the creation of governmental technical capacity to promote and monitor the implementation of the NAP 1325 in all provinces of the country, (3) the provision of integrated services for women and girls who are victims of violence and supporting their economic recovery and independence.
The evaluation found that the project has been and continues to be highly relevant to the needs of the beneficiaries or to the context in which it was being implemented. The project achieved all output targets and in many cases over-achieved the targets. Nonetheless, most of the outcomes have not been reached and a number of actions are recommended for continued implementation.

Mid-term evaluation report (English version)
Mid-term evaluation report (Portuguese version)

Over a five-year period, from 2016 to 2020, the development assistance costs associated with quota refugees and asylum seekers, amounted to over ISK 7 billion. The implementation of projects and provision of services is the responsibility of various ministries and agencies. In recent years, extensive work has been carried out to improve the methodologies and processes concerning the reporting of these costs as a part of Iceland’s ODA.

In early 2021, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation proposed that an independent assessment of development cooperation costs and related services concerning quota refugees and asylum seekers be carried out in cooperation with the ministries and agencies responsible for implementation. An evaluation reference group with representatives from the different ministries and institutions involved was appointed.

The evaluation report was published in December 2021. Findings indicate that considerable reforms have taken place, to include Iceland’s methodology which has been approved by OECD DAC, the receipt of asylum seekers is to a larger extent coordinated, and efforts are underway for refugees and asylum seekers to be assigned a single social security number. The latter will facilitate overview, increase accuracy and enables coordinated data processing from different public systems.

The report states that there is still scope for improvement. Three different ways to move forward are suggested. The most feasible one, in the short run, entails further classification of costs within accounting systems, where the Directorate of Immigration and the respective municipalities account for DAC eligible and non-DAC eligible costs when they occur and are entered into accounting systems. By changing work processes, the ratio of approximated cost would decline and real cost, to a greater extent, be accounted for. Additionally, planning processes would greatly improve. The lack of timely information of costs occurred has a negative impact of Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ overview and planning against budgetary goals and Iceland’s goals for meeting annual ODA targets.  

Iceland has contributed to the fight against genital mutilation (FGM) through its international development cooperation.

Since 2011, Iceland has supported a Joint UNFPA-UNICEF Program on the Abandonment of FGM to eliminate FGM by 2030. The geographical scale of implementation is across 17 countries. Iceland participated in an evaluation reference group for a final evaluation of Phase III, along with representatives of Norway and Austria. 

Results indicate that the Joint Programme continues to be a strategic and relevant response by UNFPA and UNICEF to the global issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). Phase III design appropriately recognized the importance of positioning FGM on the political agenda of regional entities, and supporting accountability systems. The Joint Programme has also advanced its work to support national legal and policy environments, responsive to national context. The design of Phase III recognizes the importance of working on complex issues, which reflect modification of FGM practice, in particular medicalization and cross-border FGM. The Joint Programme has adapted effectively to COVID-19 within programming, and contributed to the global understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted FGM. Currently FGM receives insufficient consideration in humanitarian systems and programming, with limited access to services for FGM survivors in humanitarian settings. Given that efforts required to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 5.3 of abandoning FGM fall far beyond programme implementation, there have been commendable efforts to reach non-Joint Programme countries.

Evaluation report
Evaluation Brief
Conclusions and recommendations

Evaluations in 2020

A mid-term review of Phase II of the Mangochi Basic Services Program 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 program 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 program 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 program be extended by a year. Further, it recommends that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Development considers an extension of the program span for District Program-Based Approach (PBA), considering that the programs 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 was 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 DAC’s 2017 recommendations, in particular those 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 will 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. 

Börn á leik, skóli, Afríka, Þróunarsamvinna 

Evaluation reports

UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund

IDA (International Development Association)

MOPAN Assessment of the World Bank

ESMAP (Energy Sector Management Assistance Program)


Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality

Human Rights, Inclusion and Empowerment (HIRE) Multi-Donor Trust Fund

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.

Iceland participated in an evaluation reference group for a mid-term evaluation of the first two and a half years of implementation of the “Promoting Women and Girl’s effective participation in peace, security and recovery in Mozambique” project. The project is being funded by the Government of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway, and complementing efforts previously funded also by these donors as well as other international and national initiatives. With a duration of four years, the project started in December 2017 and was granted a Non-Cost Extension (NCE) by end in December 2021. It is currently being implemented in 17 districts and 7 provinces of the country with a total budget of approximately 4.5 million dollars. The project’s aims to promote the active and full participation of women and girls in peace, security and recovery processes in Mozambique at all levels. It has a national scope and it was set to support three main areas: (1) the drafting, consolidation and dissemination of the first National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security in Mozambique (NAP 1325), (2) the creation of governmental technical capacity to promote and monitor the implementation of the NAP 1325 in all provinces of the country, (3) the provision of integrated services for women and girls who are victims of violence and supporting their economic recovery and independence.
The evaluation found that the project has been and continues to be highly relevant to the needs of the beneficiaries or to the context in which it was being implemented. The project achieved all output targets and in many cases over-achieved the targets. Nonetheless, most of the outcomes have not been reached and a number of actions are recommended for continued implementation.

Mid-term evaluation report (English version)
Mid-term evaluation report (Portuguese version)


In 2019, 18 infants out of 1,000 live births died in the neonatal period on a global level. The distribution of these deaths was uneven, with the highest neonatal mortality rates (NMR) in sub-Saharan Africa, attributing to as much as 28 deaths per 1,000 live births. One of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) includes reducing NMR to at least 12 per 1,000 live births by 2030. Several studies have emphasised the need for interventions to improve procedures and outcomes of childbirth to lower NMR. The NMR declined in Malawi from 41 in 2000 to 23 in 2016, but the pace of progress needs to be accelerated. The objective of this study was to describe the impact and outcomes of infrastructure improvement in neonatal care services, in a district hospital in Mangochi, Malawi through Iceland‘s development cooperation efforts. Ingunn Haraldsdóttir, Bob Milanzi Faque, Þórður Þorkelsson and Geir Gunnlaugsson published the findings of their study in the Journal of Global Health Reports.

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.

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