Results of the German Cooperation
All German Cooperation programmes with Afghanistan aim to achieve sustainable results. Specifically, this means that projects are designed for long-term use, to generate results that benefit the Afghan people and to ensure that responsibilities can subsequently be taken over and implemented independently by local state and private partners. When planning such a project, a team of experts conducts a feasibility assessment at a local level, thus ensuring that planned German Cooperation measures are both expedient and sustainable. This also includes respect for human rights and gender sensitivity.
Results are intended changes brought about by the implementation of development measures. To verify results, the development progress of individual projects is monitored continuously and ultimately evaluated thoroughly in accordance with international quality standards.
Since the end of 2009, data on the German Cooperation with Afghanistan in areas such as construction measures, financial services, and education and training has been recorded using a tracking system. This system was developed in 2010 as part of the development offensive for northern Afghanistan. Its purpose is to document implemented measures, ensure reliable reporting and strengthen accountability to the public and taxpayers with regard to funds used and the achievement of corresponding results.
In 2014, the tracking system was upgraded to the German Development Tracker for Afghanistan or DevTracker for short. The new platform aims to present data in a user-friendly manner and to document and describe results – or output data – in qualitative terms. This, in turn, facilitates analysis and enables transparent reporting. A summary of project evaluations is published and made available online. In addition, each project delivers annual progress reports on the implementation of programme components.
Data from DevTracker is currently used primarily for public relations purposes or as a source of information for German and Afghan ministries and the German Embassy.
If you require access to this database for research purposes, please send a request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The objective of results monitoring is to improve the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of measures and thus to achieve the best possible ‘development return’ on resources used. This provides greater transparency with regard to progress and deficits in project measures. The long-term documentation and comparison of results enables conclusions to be drawn, which can then be used to improve the design of future projects.
German Cooperation measures with Afghanistan are monitored at various levels and documented using databases.
At international level, this is achieved in cooperation with international institutions:
- The online platform of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) provides links to the annual financial expenditure of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and other donors, thereby increasing transparency.
- Within the context of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC), the German Cooperation monitors and reports on the effectiveness of joint development work in Afghanistan – with particular emphasis on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- The Asia Foundation’s annual Survey of the Afghan People polls Afghan attitudes and opinions, for instance on a variety of development measures and on results achieved at local level.
Monitoring activities are also carried out jointly with the partner country Afghanistan and its institutions:
- The Development Assistance Database (DAD) of the Afghan Ministry of Finance reflects the financial framework and the full range of measures of all German Cooperation programmes with Afghanistan. It is updated and supplemented with new data annually and made available to the public in Dari and in English.
- In addition to specific monitoring activities, the German government provides support for Afghan ministries in form of advisory and capacity development activities, with the aim of optimising and improving the efficiency of communication, monitoring and evaluation processes.
- Projects financed by the German government continuously monitor the results of activities in each project.
At the end of each project, a detailed evaluation is carried out by external evaluators in accordance with international quality standards (OECD-DAC criteria). The findings of these evaluations document the extent to which planned objectives have been achieved, the relevance of the project, whether the project was effective, sustainable and efficient, and whether it would be advisable to extend the measure. Conclusions are used to optimise future projects.
In its Country Strategy for Afghanistan 2014 – 2017, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) sets out the strategic orientation of its development priorities. The indicators of the country strategy reflect the development objectives to be achieved by the end of the project, and enable an independent evaluation of the country strategy. Interim evaluations address current developments and contribute to designing the ensuing country strategy and adjusting the strategic orientation of German-Afghan Cooperation. Data from the DevTracker is factored into the development of a new country strategy and supports the comprehensive evaluation of all individual measures.
The next evaluation of the country strategy 2014 – 2017 is scheduled for 2019. To carry out this assessment, independent evaluators will use for instance the baseline values established in 2014 and 2015 to measure any changes that have occurred by comparison with the initial situation. They will also draw on information from the DevTracker, as well as on evaluation and monitoring data from individual projects. In addition, as part of the annual Survey of the Afghan People in the northern priority provinces of the German Cooperation, BMZ has further data collected in those districts in which the German Cooperation is especially active and in which there is evidence of development changes.
RESULTS ACHIEVED TO DATE
Some of the multilateral and bilateral donors in the field of development cooperation have subjected their cooperation approaches and project activities to a comprehensive evaluation process and made the results available to the international public. These include for example the US audit organisation SIGAR, the Canadian government, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the World Bank. To make it clear, these merely represent a few excellent individual examples and not a summary of evaluations of all development organisations and governments engaged in Afghanistan.
To summarise it can be noted that – owing to considerable development efforts on the part of the international community – since 2001 the Afghan people and the Afghan government have made remarkable progress in the areas of education and training, health, energy, water management, and institutional capacity development of state and provincial authorities, as well as improvements in good governance. At the same time, the evaluations highlight a few fundamental deficits that still need to be addressed. These include for example inadequate recognition of human rights, very limited progress on women’s rights, high school drop-out rates, continued high levels of illiteracy, economic growth that is much too low and corruption within the Afghan government.
However, most evaluations also point to shortcomings on the part of the multilateral and bilateral donors themselves. These include insufficient coordination of activities among donor countries and aid organisations. Civil-military cooperation has also been inadequate and insufficiently coordinated. In many cases, parallel structures have been created. In the context of civil-military cooperation, too little attention has been paid to the selection of actors and partner institutions. Development activities were not distributed evenly across the provinces while, on the Afghan side, institutional absorption capacities have been inadequate. Consequently, widespread corruption has become even worse in some cases.
The findings of the evaluations clearly demonstrate that development projects have achieved a great deal and have significantly improved the quality of life of many sections of the Afghan population. At the same time, state institutions are still very weak and meet with little acceptance. For many Afghans the volatile and deteriorating security situation is a cause for concern, and there is a lack of economic and political prospects for the future. New concepts and strategies are required to achieve targeted progress in these areas.
The latest results of the German Cooperation with Afghanistan are summarised in the data overview and show the progress achieved as a result of measures financed by the German government.