Report | Date: 1998-09-01 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Originally published by: Utenriksdepartementet
A brief summary of the 1997 evaluations:
The evaluation concludes that the allocation for HIV/AIDS programmes has been a valuable, appropriate and effective contribution to efforts to combat AIDS in developing countries. Norway should continue to develop a coherent approach to this problem, while maintaining its focus on the most vulnerable groups. Experience of using non-governmental organizations in this work is good and this channel should continue to be utilised to the greatest advantage.
This scheme has had significant spin-off effects, such as a greater focus on developing countries in Norwegian schools. It is recommended that the scheme be continued.
Aid targeting decentralization is achieving promising results with regard to strengthening democracy, especially in middle-income countries. In the least developed countries, decentralization seems to have had a minimal impact. This is partly due to the fact that reforms linked to decentralization are little known and measures are neither adapted to nor understood at local level.
Norway did not take part in the peace negotiations, nor was Norway instrumental in drawing up the strategic terms for peace or the content of the aid programmes during the transitional stage. However, Norway did contribute towards strengthening the authorities’ autonomy in the face of high-pressure donor influence. Since the signing of the peace accord, Norwegian development assistance has functioned flexibly and effectively. Important initiatives, such as support for demining and election preparations, have been taken to ensure that peace efforts continue.
The study identifies the most important ways in which aid for basic education in Africa can be made more effective. One vital prerequisite is to improve donor coordination and ensure that recipient countries play a stronger role in coordinating aid. To a greater extent, aid for education must contribute towards the development of national institutions and human resources. It is important that donor countries concentrate technical assistance on areas where they have comparative advantages. Such assistance should be flexible, without ties or equivalent funding requirements. It should be possible to transfer funds from one budget year to the next. Aid must have a long-term perspective.
The evaluation concludes that the efforts of Norwegian Church Aid to promote reconciliation in Mali in the 1990s were highly successful, partly because the organization had long experience of development assistance work in the country, extensive knowledge and contacts, and had won considerable trust locally. The organization’s ethical standards and the quality of its staff are also underscored as important factors. The report recommends, among other things, that the Norwegian authorities place greater emphasis on training in peace-building work, and that there be more focus on research on peace and reconciliation processes in conflict-torn areas.
The study stresses that positive incentives and an active dialogue on human rights and democracy are more effective than threats to withhold or the actual withholding of aid. Persuasion and dialogue work better because the authorities in the country in question can, over time, identify with and adopt ideas, and then implement them in practical politics. The evaluation recommends that dialogue be used in combination with funding for measures in the field of human rights and democracy. It encourages extensive cooperation with other donors on promoting human rights and democracy.
The evaluation refers to the fact that the institute lacks a planning and research strategy for future activities. A change of leadership and management is required. The study suggests that the future role of the institute be linked to academic-oriented research and combined with documentation and library services, as well as commissioned research and publications concerning relevant political issues.
The evaluation shows that the WIF’s philosophy, goals and work are relevant. The WIF has an innovative scheme for alternative television programming targeting youth. Projects carried out in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Thailand are described as original and well adapted to local conditions. In several cases, however, there are discrepancies between the quantitative goals cited in project applications and the actual results. Questions are also raised concerning the organization’s sustainability, despite its considerable income potential.
The evaluation concludes that IPS can play an important role. The press agency’s dissemination of news on development issues seen from a “Third World perspective”meets a real need. The IPS should develop more specific plans in this area.
The purpose of the evaluation was to study the effects of the humanitarian aid provided by Norwegian Church Aid (KN) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NFH), both in relation to distress and suffering and in relation to the willingness of the combattants to make peace and achieve reconciliation. The evaluation establishes that this type of aid has never been aimed primarily at promoting peace and reconciliation. It is regarded as paradoxical that the organizations consider their main task to be that of relieving suffering rather than trying to limit the actions that cause violence. The report points out that there appears to be no Norwegian body with organizational responsibility for formulating a coherent approach to aid to Sudan, taking into account political conditions, development and humanitarian efforts.
The two organizations’ efforts to relieve need, hunger and suffering are evaluated very favourably. KN is praised for its work in the field of expertise and institution-building, while NFH receives favourable comment for its efforts to help the population in guerrilla-controlled areas near the front lines. It is the only organization active in this field. NFH is criticised for attaching insufficient importance to the long-term view. The evaluation points out that KN lacks a clear strategy for conflict resolution.
The evaluation, which was carried out by Norway in cooperation with six other donor countries in 12 developing countries, found that the WHO’s efforts and role as the leading health-sector organization vary significantly from one country to another. It is recommended that the organization improve its ability to analyse each country’s aid needs and tailor its presence to these needs.
In 1997 work was done on a total of 23 evaluations, six of which were the responsibility of the Christian Michelsen Institute. Fifteen of the evaluations were carried out by Norwegian institutions and firms, and the rest by foreign institutions and firms. One of the evaluations initiated in 1997 is a study of the World Bank’s efforts to focus its activities on poverty alleviation. Other important evaluations commenced last year are studies of institutional and human resource development, the role of development assistance in Botswana, strategy relating to children, the Norwegian indigenous people’s programme* and the UN Capital Development Fund*. Most of the reports are only published in English.
In 1997 Norway was also actively involved in the work of the Evaluation Group of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), including the preparation of a report on the development effect of the assistance provided by non-governmental organizations. The report was based on DAC member countries’ own evaluations of the NGOs. The Norwegian Lutheran Hospital Centre for Partnership in Development took part in this work.
There is also active cooperation on evaluation between the Nordic countries. One joint project was the evaluation of the Nordic Africa Institute which was headed by Norway. There is also cooperation on the development of methods for evaluating development assistance aimed at promoting human rights and democracy.
In the past year, the groundwork has also been laid for closer cooperation with the World Bank in the field of evaluation.