Expect the unexpected: focus on the unintended effects of international cooperation

It is striking how little attention is paid to the unintended effects of development cooperation in evaluations thereof, despite the OECD guidelines that stipulate that evaluators should look at these. A recent meta-evaluation of the evaluation quality of the largest bilateral aid agency in the world, USAID, showed that only 15% of it evaluations paid attention to the unintended effects of development cooperation. In the case of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, NORAD, only 40% of the terms of reference for evaluations requested evaluators to take unintended effects into consideration, which was often done in a superficial way. More and more it is acknowledged that this dearth of (evaluation) research on the unintended effects of international cooperation needs urgent attention. Dirk-Jan Koch, recently appointed Special Professor of International Trade and Development Cooperation at Radboud University, Nijmegen, states that two types of unintended effects – the ignored and the invisible – should be studied much more.

Source: BROKERS