16 The EU's International Cooperation
and Development Results Framework |
||Politically important |
|Committee's decision||Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested; drawn to the attention of the International Development Committee
|Document details||Commission Staff Working Document on launching the EU's international cooperation and development results framework
|Document numbers||(36775), 7604/15, SWD(15) 80
Summary and Committee's conclusions
16.1 As the "Background" section below indicates (see
paragraphs 0.09-0.16 for details), the previous Committee has
taken a sustained interest over the years in the effectiveness
with which the EU the Commission and the European External
Action Service had spent EU taxpayers' money in development
and cooperation work.
16.2 The predecessor Commission Staff Working Document
"Paving the way for an EU Development and Cooperation
Results Framework" was accordingly debated in
European Committee last November, when it was welcomed as:
"an important step towards putting in place
a results framework which will help drive improvements in the
impact of the European Commission's development programmes by
reporting results achieved and providing performance information
for the Commission and others to act on."
16.3 This further Commission Staff Working Document,
"Launching the EU International Cooperation and Development
Results Framework", following on from the approach taken
by other international development donors, lays out a standardised
set of indicators against which EU development cooperation programmes
will report results. This will allow the results from different
programmes to be aggregated to give a set of development results
for the EU as a whole. Reporting development results will thus
increase the transparency and accountability of the money the
EU spends on development. Properly used, the Results Framework
should also identify at a strategic level which programmes are
most effective at generating development results. The EU will
publish results every year the first such publication
being in the second half of 2015.
16.4 The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at
the Department for International Development (Baroness Verma)
strongly welcomes publication of the EU Results Framework. However,
she says, while publishing the details of the Results Framework
is an important first step, the Commission's full attention must
now turn to implementation in a full and comprehensive manner
and to start reporting on results: "This must be more than
a box-ticking exercise: it needs to increase accountability and
transparency of EU investments and drive change on the ground".
She and her officials will accordingly be active in pressing for
16.5 As the EU continues to publish the results of
its projects, she and they will "engage significantly"
to ensure that this leads to ongoing improvements in the delivery
and effectiveness of EU aid and enhances the ability of the public
to scrutinise EU spending on development, as well as increasing
public engagement. She also expects the Commission to look to
explore how the Results Framework could extend beyond aid into
the wider field of development policy. At the start, the Results
Framework will report only the results from projects that have
completed. It would, the Minister says, clearly be preferable
to report ongoing projects as well, in order to provide a full
picture of what has been achieved in each year. A proportional
system for reporting scaling results by the proportion
of EU funding involved in each project would provide results
that were more useful and much easier to interpret. Over time,
the UK would also want to see the EU setting high-level targets
for results achieved to provide further accountability and help
the public interpret what results mean for the level of performance.
16.6 We endorse all that our predecessors have
said about the importance of this process. As a major international
actor in development cooperation, the EU has in the European Development
Fund (EDF) its largest geographic instrument in this policy area,
with 30.5 billion allocated to the 11th EDF for 2014-20.
But this is only around 30% of total EU spending on external assistance,
including spending on both development and other categories. The
implications of this long-overdue work are thus enormous.
16.7 In the first instance, we would like the
Minister to write to us after the first set of results have been
published, with her views on the outcome and on the lessons they
hold for future work in this area. We would also like to know
at that time what progress has been made in the other areas in
which the Minister would like to see further improvement, as outlined
16.8 In the meantime, we shall retain the Commission
Staff Working Document under scrutiny, and draw these latest developments
to the attention of the International Development Committee.
details of the documents:
Commission Staff Working Document Launching the EU International
Cooperation and Development Results Framework: (36775), 7604/15,
16.9 The Commission began its 2013 predecessor Commission
Staff Working Document, "Paving the way for an EU Development
and Cooperation Results Framework", thus:
"In an increasingly performance-oriented
society, metrics matter. What we measure affects what we do. If
we have the wrong metrics, we will strive for the wrong things."
- J.E. Stiglitz, A. Sen, J.P. Fitoussi, "Mis-Measuring our
16.10 With this central thought in mind, the Commission
sets out what was currently doing to deliver against the commitment
in the 2011 Communication "Agenda for Change",[ 157]
and the related Council Conclusions,[ 158]
by the EU and its Member States to promote common results-based
approaches and strengthen their capacity for monitoring, evaluating,
and reporting operational results achieved by EU funded development
and cooperation projects and programmes. The Commission described
the paper as presenting a preliminary approach to the process
of drafting an overall EU development and cooperation results
framework, and as describing how, once finalized and implemented,
this framework would bring together information on results achieved
by the EU's development and cooperation assistance. The Commission
says that its results framework would track results aggregated
from EU funded development and cooperation projects and programmes,
and have two main purposes: i) as an accountability tool
to communicate results to stakeholders; and ii) as a management
tool to provide performance data to inform management decisions,
ensuring resources are allocated efficiently.
16.11 In her 3 February 2014 Explanatory Memorandum,
the then Minister (Lynne Featherstone) said that better, timelier,
results data was vital "if we are to secure good value for
money in our development programmes and demonstrate this to UK
taxpayers", and was "something the UK has been consistently
calling for" since DFID's 2011 Multilateral Aid Review (MAR)
was first published. By tracking results aggregated from EU funded
development and cooperation projects and programmes, the results
framework would bring the EU in line with other multilateral (e.g.
the World Bank, the IADB, the Asian Development Bank) and bilateral
(e.g. DFID) development actors The Commission approach drew on
donor best practice, and would both enhance the quality and scope
of the information available to demonstrate EU development results
and provide relevant information for internal management decisions.
Some technical issues needed to be sorted out. But the cost of
implementing a results framework would be more than offset in
the long run by increased value for money from Commission aid
16.12 Two days later, she led a European Committee
debate concerning a European Court of Auditors' report, which
had examined 1.3 billion of EU support for governance in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[ 159]
Our predecessors had recommended this debate because the common
denominator between this report and many other documents that
the Committee had considered over the years was the effectiveness
with which the EU the Commission and the European External
Action Service had spent EU taxpayers' money in this and
other development and cooperation work. During that debate the
then Minister said that, as the result of close working with the
Commission by herself, the Secretary of State and her department
over the previous couple of years to improve management by results,
the Commission was in the process of adopting a strong, new central
results framework, which would have a clear effect on monitoring,
evaluation and reporting.[ 160]
16.13 However, in her EM on the Commission Staff
Working Document, beyond saying that she and her officials would
"continue to look for opportunities to influence the design
of the framework, including the periodic reviews which may take
place in the future ... [and] ... to press that the Commission
delivers against its proposed timetable for finalising the framework
and rolling it out", and referring to prospective Council
Conclusions at the 14 May "development" Foreign Affairs
Council, she was less than clear as to how, and over what timescale,
the aspects of the Commission proposal that she believed would
undermine its effectiveness were to be definitively addressed.
16.14 The previous Committee recognised that her
endeavours were perhaps made more difficult by those Member States
who seemed to be grateful for small mercies. However, it also
noted that the UK was in a different position, contributing nearly
15% of some 31 billion projected EU development assistance
expenditure in this financial perspective. The Committee saw no
real sign of (as the then Minister put it) "the Commission's
drive to implement a results framework". On the contrary:
the Commission appeared to be set out working at its own pace,
arguing that having "over 100 delegations" made devising
and running a system that would demonstrate whether or not EU
taxpayers' money was being spent effectively all too difficult,
rather the key priority it should be. The then Minister appeared
to regard commitments to "look again" at annual reporting
and "further examine the option of setting targets for indicators"
as significant achievements in and of themselves. Systems for
data collection and measurement at both Delegation and Headquarters
would no doubt need to be improved: but, the Committee noted,
other development actors, including DFID, had already achieved
this. Without a real drive by both Delegations in the field and
Headquarters in Brussels of which it could see no evidence
the Committee queried whether the Commission's proposed
results framework would amount to more than window-dressing, and
whether UK taxpayers would be any the wiser as to whether or not
EU development programmes were indeed good value for money. It
therefore recommended that these issues be further examined and
debated, after the 19 May "Development" Foreign Affairs
Council, and thus with the benefit of the Council Conclusions.[ 161]
16.15 Fast forward to October 2014, and the then
Minister, commenting on one of the documents tagged to the debate
the annual report on EU development and external assistance
policies and their implementation in 2013 said of what
was the customary wide-ranging narrative:
"Until a fully functioning results monitoring
and reporting system is set up, the Commission will not be able
to measure the impact of the aid programme. Work is well underway
to design a results system and it will be piloted during 2015.
It will be important that future annual reports capture results
to give a much clearer sense of impact achieved."
16.16 The debate was finally held seven months after
the Committee's recommendation, on 6 November 2014, notwithstanding
its clear intention that these matters should be debated soon
after the May 2014 "Development" Foreign Affairs Council.
At the end of the debate, the European Committee resolved thus:
"That the Committee takes note of European Union
Document No. 17709/13, a Commission Staff Working Document: Paving
the way for an EU Development and Cooperation Results Framework;
and welcomes the document as an important step towards putting
in place a results framework which will help drive improvements
in the impact of the European Commission's development programmes
by reporting results achieved and providing performance information
for the Commission and others to act on."[ 162]
The further Commission Staff Working Document
16.17 "Launching the EU International Cooperation
and Development Results Framework" (EU
RF ) accordingly develops
the key issues set out in the December 2013 Staff Working Document
and translates the approaches set out therein into operational
terms; it includes mechanisms in support of the reporting process
and details the indicators against which DG International Cooperation
and Development will report annually as of 2015 to demonstrate
how funds spent contribute to the achievement of the policy objectives.
16.18 The EU RF will also report on results of actions
initiated in the past, i.e. for the first years of reporting,
initiated under the programming 2007-2013.
16.19 The EU RF is also to be seen as part of a wider
set of measures that the Commission says it is putting into place
to strengthen monitoring and reporting on results of EU international
cooperation and development assistance at the various levels,
at the project and programme level, at country level and at the
corporate level of the EU as a donor measures described
"key for strengthening the EU capacity to provide
support to the development of appropriate monitoring and accountability
mechanisms at country level, in line with the aid effectiveness
commitments taken in 2011 by the international community in Busan."[ 163]
16.20 The Commission defines its results framework
as "a tool that is used to measure results achieved against
strategic development objectives" that "should be understood
as an articulation of the different levels of results expected
from the implementation of a strategy".[ 164]
With this in mind, the list of development sectors covered by
the EU RF has been defined to reflect EU international cooperation
and development assistance priorities, as set out in the Agenda
for Change and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and
targets (which will replace the Millennium Development Goals in
particular). The EU RF will thus be reporting on results aggregated
from projects and programmes financed under the external assistance
instruments managed by DG International Cooperation and Development.[ 165]
Publication of this information:
"[will increase] accountability and transparency
and demonstrate to external stakeholders how the EU contributes
to development progress in the countries and regions to which
it provides development assistance, on the one hand, and it provides
relevant information to inform internal management decisions,
on the other hand, thus strengthening the framework for ensuring
effectiveness of EU financed development aid."[ 166]
16.21 In her Explanatory Memorandum of 27 May 2015,
the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for
International Development (Baroness Verma) outlines the EU RF
"The EU's Results Framework has a similar design
to that of other international donors (including DFID)
it has three levels of indicators against which it will report
1 - these are the desired high-level outcomes of the EU's
development work: development progress in the EU partner countries.
An example for this might be the number of countries where the
rule of law has i) improved, ii) deteriorated; iii) stayed the
same over the last 10 years. Indicators at level 1 are agreed
internationally, for example the Millennium Development Goals.
To present a full picture of development progress, level 1 indicators
will be presented in full for all EU partner countries, rather
than just the areas which receive EU funding.
2 - these indicators are the output of development programmes:
specific EU contributions to development progress in partner countries.
An example might be the number of children enrolled in primary
education with EU support. Results at level 2 should be associated
with those at level 1 with a credibl
· e narrative.
3 - these indicators show organisational efficiency and effectiveness
in delivering programmes. Some other donors have split this into
two separate levels, one for efficiency and one for effectiveness.
An example indicator would be disbursement rates and compliance
with EU regulatory and political commitments.
"Level 1 and 2 of the EU Results Framework consist
of 32 indicators each, covering twelve areas and sectors. Where
possible, results data for both levels will be sex disaggregated.
Level 1 and 2 indicators have been chosen using a number of criteria
i) to be in line with the EU development priorities from 2014-20,
ii) to be aligned with partner governments, iii) to ensure data
is possible to collect and aggregate iv) where possible to be
aligned with the indicators used by other donors.
"Level 1 and 2 indicators have been designed
to have a strong link with what are expected to become Standardised
Development Goals (SDGs) under the post-2015 framework. A review
of the EU Results Framework is scheduled to take place in 2016
once the SDGs and the related indicators are defined.
"The Annex of the Staff Working Document gives
full details on the specific indicators that have been chosen.
For each of these, there is a detailed methodology note which
can be found online.
"REPORTING AND COLLECTING METHODOLOGY
"The specific design of the results framework,
and the methodology behind reporting and collecting results, has
not changed significantly since the previous Staff Working Document:
"Baseline - The Results Framework does
not set targets for results achieved, but it sets a baseline of
zero from when the results framework is implemented. Cumulative
results will them be reported, presenting the numbers for the
first year of reporting as well as those for the second year and
so on. Reported results will therefore show total progress since
the introduction of the Framework.
"Contribution approach - Results at level
2 will be reported as country results supported by EU development,
rather than attempting to attribute results directly to the EU's
work. In addition, the total results of each project will be reported
as supported by the EU, rather than attempting to report results
scaled proportionally to the EU's level of funding in a programme.
"Reporting cycle - The EU results framework
will only be based on results linked to projects and programmes
that have come to an end in each reporting period (one year),
rather than attempting to provide results for ongoing projects.
However, in the medium-term, the EU is upgrading operational information
management systems, and will look to consider and test reporting
of annual results from ongoing projects and programmes, providing
a more accurate picture of results achieved in a given year.
"PUBLICATION OF RESULTS
"The first reporting under the new results framework
is scheduled for 2015. In future years, reporting is envisaged
to be part of the 'Annual Report on the European Union's development
and external assistance policies and their implementation'. However,
reporting of the first year is planned as a separate publication
scheduled for the second half of 2015."
The Government's view
16.22 The Minister describes an EU Results Framework
as essential to demonstrating value for money spent on development,
and continues thus:
"It has the potential to be transformational
for the delivery of EU aid. The Results Framework provides a detailed
set of indicators against which all EU development programmes
will report. The publication is a critical step in the process,
but the challenge will be to implement and report on the Results
Framework in an effective way.
"The EU Results Framework should be used both
as an accountability and transparency tool to better demonstrate
and communicate what is being achieved through EU development
cooperation, but also as a management tool to identify on a strategic
level which programmes are most effective at generating development
"The EU will publish results every year and
it is welcome that the first publication of results is happening
soon in the second half of 2015. The UK will be active
in pressing for a full implementation of the Results Framework
in the lead up to this.
"As the EU continues to publish the results
of its projects, the UK expects this to lead to ongoing improvements
in the delivery and effectiveness of EU aid and to enhance the
ability of the public to scrutinise EU spending on development,
as well as increasing public engagement. The UK will continue
to engage significantly to ensure this is the case. The Commission
should also look to explore how the Results Framework could extend
beyond aid into the wider field of development policy.
"The UK strongly welcomes the publication of
the EU Results Framework. This will provide much needed accountability
and transparency for EU taxpayers and has the potential to transform
EU development spending allowing programmes to deliver
much better value for money and development results. Publishing
the details of the Results Framework is an important first step
but the Commission's full attention must now turn to implementation.
This must be more than a box-ticking exercise: it needs to increase
accountability and transparency of EU investments and drive change
on the ground.
"The UK considers that the priority for the
EU should be to implement the published Results Framework in a
full and comprehensive manner and to start reporting on results.
Over time, the UK will also work with the EU to ensure that the
Results Framework continues to evolve and improve. At the start,
the Results Framework will report only the results from projects
that have completed. It would clearly be preferable to report
ongoing projects as well, in order to provide a full picture of
what has been achieved in each year. The UK also considers that
a proportional system for reporting scaling results by
the proportion of EU funding involved in each project
would provide results that were more useful and much easier to
interpret. Over time, the UK would also want to see the EU setting
high-level targets for results achieved to provide further accountability
and help the public interpret what results mean for the level
None, but see (35735), 17709/13: Forty-seventh Report
HC 83-xlii (2013-14), chapter 1 (30 April 2014).
157 Available at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/infopoint/publications/europeaid/documents/257a_en.pdf.
158 Available at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/130243.pdf.
159 Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 5 February 2014, cols.
160 Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 5 February 2014, cols.
161 See (35735), 17709/13: Forty-seventh Report HC 83-xlii (2013-14),
chapter 1 (30 April 2014). Back
162 Gen Co Deb, European Committee B, 6 November 2014, cols.
163 "The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation"
(2011), agreed by a wide range of governments and organisations
offering a framework for continued dialogue and efforts to enhance
the effectiveness of development co-operation. Back
164 The results terminology used in this document follows the OECD
DAC definition, where the term results should be interpreted as
covering the results chain from outputs to outcomes and impact.
165 I.e. the Development Cooperation Instrument, European Development
Fund, European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, Instrument
contributing to Stability and Peace (for the component "Globalthreats"
only), Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation, Instrument for
Greenland and their predecessor instruments covering the programming
period 2007-2013. Back
166 SWD(15) 80, p.3. Back