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Deutsche Evaluierungsinstitut der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit

Methods & Standards

Country Portfolio Reviews

Between September 2017 and December 2018 DEval developed a tool for performing country portfolio reviews (CPRs) of German bilateral development cooperation. It did so to support the BMZ's efforts to make the strategic management of bilateral development cooperation portfolios even more evidence-based. The report on this tool was published in 2019.

CPRs address strategic issues at the level of the portfolio as a whole, and provide independent and well-founded information on which to base strategy formation. By developing the CRP tool, the BMZ believes that DEval has made an important contribution toward developing the standards and instruments for reviewing German development cooperation.

Objectives of the project

The project aims to strengthen the BMZ's strategic management of bilateral development cooperation. To do so it will provide independent and high-quality information obtained from CPRs to support the evidence-based design of country strategies aligned with the 2030 Agenda. The project will achieve this by setting up a CPR project unit, and developing processes and procedures for performing CPRs continuously and independently for the BMZ.

Areas of activity

1. Perform CPRs as a basis for preparing country strategies

The project's key line of action will be to conduct CPRs to support strategy building processes in the BMZ's regional divisions. CPRs will be performed for countries where the country strategy is due to be redesigned or reviewed, or where the regional divisions concerned see a need for independent review of their country portfolios. The CPRs will provide the regional divisions with key information for managing portfolios in line with the 2030 Agenda, as well as with options and recommendations for their future design. A CPR will also serve as a basis for reflecting on how the country strategy is evolving.

By 31 December 2022 at least nine CPRs will be conducted in different country settings. These will provide the BMZ regional divisions with the basis on which to prepare new country strategies or refine existing ones, and to manage the respective country portfolios.

2. Continuously refine the CPR tool and develop approaches for CPRs in special country contexts

To make the CPRs even more useful and as responsive as possible to the regional divisions' specific needs, the CPR tool will be continuously refined and further developed in the course of project implementation. The tool for conducting CPRs developed by DEval encompasses methods and procedures that were developed and tested in two countries and that should be used in all CPRs. CPRs have yet to be applied and tested in countries where special framework conditions prevail, such as fragile countries in particular. Consequently, at least two of the nine CPRs planned will be conducted in special country contexts. In these settings, specific procedures and methods will be developed and tested that are designed for use in such country contexts. The existing CPR tool will then be further refined to incorporate these methods and procedures.

3. Generate findings to improve the development cooperation system at the cross-country level

In bilateral development cooperation, country portfolios are designed in the context of the German development cooperation system's strategic management directives and scope for action. It is envisaged that cross-country analyses of the CPRs conducted will identify structural challenges and potential for German bilateral development cooperation across different countries. It will then be possible to systematically analyse cross-country findings on the German development cooperation system and on management issues in the context of the 2030 Agenda, and make the findings available to the policy divisions and key decision-makers at the BMZ. Accordingly, the analyses will be provided as a basis for a meta-analysis as part of the DEval evaluation programme.