German Institute for Development Evaluation

Meta-evaluation and evaluation synthesis of sustainability in German development cooperation (concluded)

With the launch of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development by the United Nations in 2015, sustainability has become the guiding principle for human development. 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide the framework for sustainable economic, social and ecologic development. The ratification of the Agenda 2030 also poses new challenges for German development cooperation (GDC). In order to contribute to sustainable development as outlined by the Agenda 2030, German development cooperation needs to emphasize more than ever on the sustainability of its impacts. This requires adjusting the assessment of the sustainability of development projects to a new international development context. Yet, the understanding of sustainability is heterogeneous among GDC actors , which impedes systematic learning. Thus, the Agenda 2030 offers the opportunity to perform a systematical and inter-institutional analysis of the current evaluation practice and the determinants of sustainability in development projects of the German development cooperation. 


The objective of this evaluation is to review the status quo of the assessment of sustainability in evaluations of the KfW Development Bank (KfW) and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Additionally, the evaluation analyzes the determinants of the sustainability of projects carried out by the German development cooperation. Hereto, the team analyzed over 500 evaluation reports of KfW and GIZ. The methodological quality of evaluation reports and the current evaluation practice of sustainability are captured through a meta-evaluation, employing a quantitative content analysis. Different tools of inference-statistical data analysis are applied within the scope of an evaluation synthesis to determine the influence of country and project specific factors on the sustainability of development measures.

The evaluation aims at providing evidence that helps to improve the future evaluation practice of sustainability in German development projects. The results further help to accentuate sustainability in German development cooperation and to align strategies and steering decision with the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. Thus, results support orientation in planning and implementation of high-quality Evaluations by KfW and GIZ. They moreover identify success factors for sustainability of German development projects and hence impart relevant steering knowledge related to the sustainability orientation of the German Development Cooperation.

The evaluation is part of DEval´s long-term thematic focus “sustainability in development cooperation”.


The evaluation subject, the evaluation questions and the methodological approach were developed together with relevant stakeholders during autumn 2016. Currently, data compilation and analysis is underway. First results were presented in the second quarter of 2017. Report compilation will follow in the autumn 2017, the publication of the evaluation report is scheduled for spring 2018.


As at: December 2017