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Shortcomings in the evaluating and reporting development aid

The monitoring of Swedish development aid provides a great deal of information regarding output and outcomes of contributions, but needs a stronger emphasis on assessing long term impact. In addition, there are shortcomings in the Government’s reporting of the results of development aid to the Riksdag.

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Sweden has been engaged in international development cooperation since the 1960s, with an annual budget currently at approximately SEK 56 billion.

The Riksdag has repeatedly requested that the Government improve reporting on results, emphasizing the need for a clearer link between results and policy direction. The Swedish National Audit Office (NAO) has therefore examined the work of the Government and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – Sida, on monitoring and evaluation of development aid.

The audit shows that Sida and the Expert Group for Aid Studies regularly perform monitoring and evaluations that contribute a large volume of information on the development results to the Government.

However, Sida needs to be more strategic in terms of collecting information about the long-term impact of Swedish development aid. This is, above all, in order to achieve the goals at the strategy level, and for the Riksdag, the Government and the generalpublic to gain insight into the impact of development aid.

The Swedish NAO further notes that the results reported to the Government have a limited influence on aid policy formulation. Instead, political priorities and other factors tend to shape policy changes.

“It is important that a clear framework is in place, setting out how the results of development aid are to be monitored, evaluated and reported, to ensure that all the components fit together into a cohesive whole,” comments Linnéa Åström Tolf, project leader for the audit.

Regarding the Government’s reporting on the results of development aid to the Riksdag, the audit shows that, in part, it does not contain the information requested by the Riksdag, despite Sida allocating considerable resources to gathering results. Consequently, the Riksdag is not being provided sufficient information on the results of Swedish development aid, nor is it possible to assess whether the aid aligns with the objective for Swedish development aid.

“This means that the Riksdag does not have sufficient insight into what the aid leads to. Also, allocating considerable resources to monitoring and evaluation is not effective unless the results are used in designing the aid,” comments Auditor General Helena Lindberg.

Recommendations in brief

It is recommended that the Government perform a review of the monitoring, evaluation, reporting and governance of development aid, to ensure that all components fit together into a well-considered whole. This includes:

  • developing the current reporting on the results of the aid to the Riksdag, and ensuring that the link between an analysis of achieved results and policy direction is made clearer
  • ensuring that the design of development aid is based more on an analysis of the results achieved
  • the Government’s ordering of information on results being concentrated to strategically important areas so that total reporting does not exceed the need
  • clarifying the roles of the Expert Group for Aid Studies and Sida in collecting and reporting on the long-term effects of the aid.

The recommendations to Sida include

  • working more strategically and selectively with evaluation as a tool for gathering information on long-term effects
  • ensuring that conditions are in place for monitoring and evaluating long-term effects.

See the report for the full recommendations.

Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.

Updated: 08 April 2024

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