Evaluations are an essential tool to assess the quality of programmes funded by the EEA and Norway Grants, and determine whether the funds provided contribute to achieving the results we aim for. Capturing and evaluating results is also important to ensure transparency and accountability of the Grants towards the general public.
The donor countries and the beneficiary countries use the evaluations to obtain valuable information on what works and what does not work, to learn from experience and make adjustments when needed.
The evaluations follow international standards and principles, and provide an external, neutral view on the Grants’ implementation and achievements.
The aim of evaluations is to assess the effectiveness and outcomes, determine whether the resources used are reasonable in relation to the results achieved, and systematize experiences in order to provide information to policy makers and the public and ensure quality and learning.
Through systematic collection and analysis of data, evaluations provide impartial assessments of the achievement of results, as well as recommendations for future improvements.
The purpose of a typical evaluation is to:
Read more in the Evaluation guidelines, which contains the core methodology for undertaking evaluations under the EEA and Norway Grants 2009-2014.
Evaluation is part of the Grants’ result-based management framework, where indicators, baselines and targets are set, and progress towards results is monitored and tracked. The results framework is linked to an evaluation plan and a monitoring system which complement each other: evaluation is used to address challenges that cannot be adequately handled by regular monitoring through e.g. reporting, audits and self-assessments.
Evaluations of the Grants build on the OECD guidelines for evaluation, and comply with the principles of neutrality, independence and the promotion of operational recommendations. They feed into the decision‐making processes and make an essential contribution to managing for results, by informing the planning, budgeting, implementation and reporting cycle.
Evaluating the EEA and Norway Grants
The Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) - the donor countries' secretariat for the Grants - is responsible for initiating and managing external evaluations and reviews of the EEA and Norway Grants, as described in the Evaluation mandate. Yearly evaluation plans are prepared in consultation with relevant stakeholders in the FMO, donor countries and beneficiary states. The evaluation plan includes a short explanation of the purpose, audience and particular aspects the evaluation should include.
These evaluations are supplementary to evaluations carried out by institutions in the beneficiary countries.
Following up on findings and recommendations
Perhaps the most important part of an evaluation is how the findings in the evaluation reports are being followed up. Concrete actions to respond to the key recommendations from the evaluation reports are planned. Information and lessons-learned are shared across programmes and organisations, and results are disseminated widely. As well as assessing the progress of the current programmes, findings and recommendations will also inform the development of programmes in the next funding period.