Economic development cooperation has proven successful, with four-fifths of the evaluated projects since 2005 rated by external experts as good to very good.
Independent consultants evaluate SECO projects and measure the results obtained. At the same time, SECO can learn from past projects and use the feedback to improve the effectiveness of new projects.
Between 2005 and 2018, almost 81% of the 301 projects subject to external evaluation were rated as good to very good. This result also compares well internationally. In the same period, over 60% of projects were completed on time and within budget. For more than half of the projects, SECO needs to continue its support beyond planned project closure so as to ensure their sustainability.
Evaluation policy and process
The evaluation policy describes how to conduct evaluations, draft the report and subsequently use the evaluations. To preserve the impartiality of project appraisal, SECO conducts internal, external and independent evaluations and assesses its projects according to the OECD/DAC criteria for international development evaluations:
The continuation of benefits from a development intervention after major development assistance has been completed.
Project managers perform the internal reviews; independent consultants outside SECO perform the external and independent evaluations.
Each type of evaluation makes a significant contribution to one of the two objectives, i.e. accountability and learning. Independent evaluations are geared more towards accountability, while internal reviews focus more on lessons learnt.
Guidelines on conducting evaluations exist to support SECO staff and external consultants. These specify the principles, the different categories and types, the criteria (relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability) and the main stages in the process.
The evaluation programme regularly lists the evaluations scheduled in SECO WE operational sectors and the evaluations commissioned by the external evaluation committee. This covers a period of approximately 18 months.
SECO takes external evaluations very seriously. This helps to make SECO’s work more effective, and the funds disbursed produce a greater impact. This is important to me as a Parliamentarian.
Former Member of the Evaluation committee
The evaluation policy requires SECO to report to an external evaluation committee.
The committee comprises five members, representing political, academic, business and international spheres as well as civil society. This increases the transparency, impartiality and credibility of evaluations and makes better use of the lessons learnt. The committee proposes independent evaluations, comments on the results, oversees implementation of its recommendations, and approves the annual report on effectiveness.