Chapter 6. Greece’s results, evaluation and learning

This chapter considers how Greece plans and manages for results in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, building evidence of what works, and using this to learn and adapt. A fit-for-purpose, results-based management system is needed for Greek development co-operation. Greece is not meeting its legal requirement for an annual evaluation of bilateral development co-operation or aggregate evaluation of its development co-operation. In developing an evaluation system, Greece might draw on the experience of members of the DAC Network on Development Evaluation. Deriving a good understanding of the development co-operation results achieved by Greece, and drawing lessons from evaluations, would help Greece to improve decision-making and provide a basis for learning.

    

Management for development results

Peer review indicator: A results-based management system is being applied

Greece’s development co-operation does not focus on results. The Directorate General of International Development Cooperation-Hellenic Aid of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DG Hellenic Aid) has spent considerable time since 2011 following up on the use of grants dating as far back as 2000. This experience has made it clear that a fit-for-purpose, results-based management system is needed for Greek development co-operation.

Greece lacks a fit-for-purpose, results-based management system

The 2006 and 2011 OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) peer reviews of Greece’s development co-operation highlighted the need for Greece to develop a results-based focus for its development co-operation (OECD, 2006, 2013). A results-based focus would shift DG Hellenic Aid’s approach to monitoring development activities from emphasising inputs and financial controls, to achieving outputs and outcomes. Nevertheless, Greece does not yet have a results-based focus or management system for its development co-operation.

The staff of DG Hellenic Aid have spent considerable time since 2011 determining whether recipients of grants – non-governmental organisations (NGOs), bilateral partners, international organisations and multilateral institutions – have met the terms of their funding agreements and fully utilised the grants. In instances where they have not done so, or funds remain unspent, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sought reimbursement from the recipient. Grants to NGOs included in this review date as far back as 2000; grants to other recipients cover 2008-10 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2018).

As a result of this experience, DG Hellenic Aid recognises that a new legal framework should establish an efficient ex-ante and ex-post monitoring and evaluation mechanism (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2018). In designing such a mechanism, DG Hellenic Aid is encouraged to draw on the advice outlined in the 2006 and 2011 DAC peer reviews (OECD, 2006, 2013), as well as lessons learnt within the OECD/DAC Results Community1 and the experience of other similar-sized DAC members.

A fit-for-purpose, results-based management system should apply to multilateral and bilateral co-operation. It should include:

  • results-oriented policies and strategies that state the objectives of development co-operation policies and programmes in terms that can be measured, and explicitly mention development results that are consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, with a clearly articulated chain of expected outcomes (from activities to impacts)

  • a monitoring system that provides quality disaggregated information on overarching goals along the results chain (from output to impact), drawing on qualitative and quantitative information (including from evaluations) and partner countries’ own data, systems and result frameworks; minimising where possible the introduction of additional indicators, separate data collection and parallel reporting requirements

  • utilisation of results information for learning and improving programme management, and communicating the results of aid transparently and credibly; endowing headquarters and field staff with the capacity, tools and incentives to use this information.

In particular, Greece’s engagement with multilateral and regional institutions might be enhanced by a clear understanding of the results achieved by this significant investment in official development assistance.

Evaluation system

Peer review indicator: The evaluation system is in line with the DAC evaluation principles

Greece is not meeting its legal requirement for an annual evaluation of bilateral development co-operation or aggregate evaluation of its development co-operation. In developing a fit-for-purpose evaluation system, Greece might draw on the experience of members of the DAC Network on Development Evaluation.

An evaluation system would help Greece learn lessons about its development co-operation

An evaluation system provides “regular information on the effectiveness of development co-operation interventions as a whole and on specific contributions of the various stakeholders involved in co-operation” (OECD, 2016a). An evaluation system would normally include:

  • an evaluation policy and an evaluation function endowed with sufficient expertise to ensure quality in the evaluation process

  • an evaluation process that is impartial and independent from policy making and the delivery of development co-operation

  • an overall plan and dedicated budget for evaluating development co-operation activities.

The 2002 DAC peer review noted that Law 2731/1999 requires each implementing ministry/agency to undertake an annual evaluation of its bilateral development co-operation programme, which should form the basis of an aggregate evaluation of Greece’s development co-operation. It recognised each implementing ministry/agency was unlikely to establish its own evaluation policy or independent evaluation unit, and suggested establishing a single evaluation policy and evaluation unit for Greece’s aid system. It also suggested that Greece seek opportunities to participate in joint evaluation exercises of multilateral agencies with other donors (OECD, 2002; Government of Greece, 1999).

Subsequent peer reviews recommended creating an evaluation unit, guided by an evaluation policy that clearly defines the role of evaluation, as well as the unit’s functions, responsibilities and place in Greece’s institutional structure for development co-operation (OECD, 2006, 2011). Greece has not followed up on these recommendations.

As DG Hellenic Aid has found in recent years, it is important that Greece learn lessons from its experience in implementing bilateral and multilateral development co-operation initiatives, and from the experience of other DAC members. In considering the creation of a fit-for-purpose evaluation system, Greece might draw on the extensive experience of members of the DAC Network on Development Evaluation and its 2016 review of evaluation systems in development co-operation (OECD, 2016a).2

Institutional learning

Peer review indicator: Evaluations and appropriate knowledge management systems are used as management tools

Deriving a good understanding of the development co-operation results achieved by Greece, and drawing lessons from evaluations, would help DG Hellenic Aid improve its decision making and provide a basis for learning.

Knowledge management would improve accountability, communication, direction and learning

Knowledge management is important to achieving an efficient, effective and accountable development co-operation system. Systematic documentation and transparent dissemination of information on results, and findings from evaluations and audits, can improve the accountability and communications of development co-operation providers, and inform their direction and learning (OECD, 2008, 2016b).

A good understanding of the development co-operation results Greece has achieved, and lessons drawn from evaluations, would help DG Hellenic Aid improve its decision-making and provide a basis for learning. It would also allow Greece to communicate better with the public and account for its use of taxpayer funds.

Greece is an active member of the DAC, and participates in United Nations, European Union and regional processes. It could enhance its contributions to these fora by drawing on knowledge generated from its results, evaluations and organisational performance.

References

Government sources

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2018), “Memorandum submitted by the Greek Authorities to the Development Assistance Committee/DAC of the OECD”, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Athens.

Other sources

OECD (2016a), Evaluation Systems in Development Co-operation: 2016 Review, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264262065-en.

OECD (2016b), “Providers’ Use of Results Information for Accountability Communication, Direction and Learning: Survey Results, August 2016”, OECD, Paris, www.oecd.org/dac/results-development/docs/Providers'_use_of_results_information_for_accountability_communication_direction_and_learning.pdf.

OECD (2013), OECD Development Assistance Peer Reviews: Greece 2011, OECD Development Assistance Peer Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264117112-en.

OECD (2008), Effective Aid Management: Twelve lessons from DAC Peer Reviews, OECD, Paris, www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/40720533.pdf.

OECD (2006), Greece: Development Assistance Committee Peer Review, OECD, Paris, www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/38023102.pdf.

OECD (2002), Development Co-operation Review: Greece, OECD, Paris, www.oecd.org/dac/peer-reviews/2076414.pdf.

Notes

← 1. The OECD/DAC Results Community is an informal network dedicated to results-based management for effective development co-operation. It is supported by the OECD Development.

Co-operation Directorate on behalf of the OECD/DAC: www.oecd.org/dac/results-development/results-community.htm.

← 2. The DAC Network on Development Evaluation contributes to better development results, using evaluation to build a strong evidence base for both policy making and learning: www.oecd.org/development/evaluation/.

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