Evaluation Report 2010:4: The Sustainability Dimension in Addressing Poverty Reduction: Synthesis of Evaluations
Annex 2 (PDF, 193 kt)
Annex 3 (PDF, 236 kt)
Annex 4 (PDF, 1,5 Mt)
Annex 5 (PDF, 261 kt)
Annex 6 (PDF, 891 kt)
Annex 7 (PDF, 229 kt)
By: Julian Caldecott, Mikko Halonen, Svend Erik Sørensen, Sukhjargalmaa Dugersuren, Paula Tommila, Alina Pathan
ISBN 978-951-724-874-7 (printed)
ISBN 978-951-724-875-4 (pdf)
Finnish development policy calls for a balanced approach to development cooperation, in which the three dimensions of ecology, society and economy are treated as equally important. This study assesses whether and how the implementation of this policy has enabled real progress towards its goal of sustainable poverty reduction. The evidence base for this synthesis evaluation comprised: (a) summarised reviews of 22 evaluation reports describing recent Finnish development actions; (b) scores for all 22 actions according to 14 assessment criteria; (c) notes from semi-structured interviews with selected knowledge holders; and (d) replies to a questionnaire given to a number of international observers. These data were combined to support analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Finnish aid, its propensity to mainstream ‘cross-cutting issues’ and ‘environmentally sustainable development’, its sustainability in general, and its distinctiveness.
The highest-scoring criteria across all activities were relevance, coherence, partner satisfaction, compatibility and Finnish added value, interpreted to indicate strength in performing relatively easy or high-priority tasks. The lowest-scoring criteria were replicability, complementarity, efficiency, connectedness and activity design, interpreted to indicate weakness in performing relatively demanding tasks. Mediocre scores were given to coordination, impact, effectiveness and sustainability, interpreted to be largely due to weak activity design.
It was concluded that Finnish-supported activities typically meet the priorities both of Finland and of her partner countries, respond to some but not all elements of the global development agenda, and usually satisfy the needs and wishes of cooperating partners. On the other hand, and with some exceptions: stakeholders do not communicate enough to create synergy; environmental and cross-cutting issues are only weakly mainstreamed; activities are not well-enough designed to deliver many results or impacts, or to resist external pressures; and sustainability and poverty reduction are both indistinctly measurable and little measured.
It was also concluded that some stakeholders are more likely than others to be motivated to perform well on difficult, repetitive or long-term tasks, or are more likely to hold relevant local knowledge, and that these patterns have important implications for aid delivery and sustainability. The reviews, interviews and correspondence all point to serious emerging challenges to the sustainable reduction of poverty, including climate change, water and food security, social problems and state fragility, and ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Recommendations are offered on how to strengthen the Finnish aid programme in light of the above findings.