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1 Introduction and Context of Evaluation

1.1 Introduction

Denmark’s development cooperation (Danida[2]) has supported development research across a range of subjects for several decades, primarily through account §06.35 of the Danish Finance Act. Sub-accounts correspond to research and information activities in Denmark (§06.35.01) and international development research (§06.35.02), and these are further subdivided into more specific channels, each with a specific purpose.

An overview of the specific channels presented in the Finance Act of 2012, is given in Table 1 below. The channels covered by the present evaluation are listed in bold type.

Table 1 Overview of channels of support for development research
Four-digit account Six-digit account Eight-digit account
§06.35 Research and information activities §06.35.01 Research and information activities in Denmark § Projects in Denmark
§ Research activities
§ Information activities
§ Intercultural cooperation
§ Fact-finding activities
(minor studies)
§ Seminars, courses, conferences etc.
§ Evaluation
  §06.35.02 International development research § The consultative group on international agricultural research (CGIAR)
§ Other international development research

Source: Danish Finance Act of 2012.

Together § and § constitute the overall frame for support to research on development related topics and capacity building.

Between 2006 and 2011, annual support to all development research initiatives ranged between DKK 200 and 285 million, and has been disbursed through various multilateral and Danish channels. For the institutes and mechanisms based in Denmark, including the Consultative Research Committee for Development Research[3] (FFU), Danish universities and research networks, the annual figure for support to research in agriculture and natural resource management (NRM) ranges from DKK 69 to 116 million, with an average of DKK 100 million per year.

Denmark cooperates with research institutions and think-tanks to enhance Southern countries’ own research and to generate new knowledge that can be applied in development. The broad objectives of this approach are:

  • To strengthen countries’ own research through graduate training and PhD programmes and to ensure that developing countries have access to knowledge.
  • Create new knowledge that can be applied in supporting development including for example issues of climate change, sustainable energy, the use of mobile telephone technology and value chains in the private sector.

Working with, and supporting, international research organisations aims to provide research results, to perform consultancy and to implement education and capacity building that benefit developing countries. From 2006 to 2011 Danida channelled DKK 321 million to the CGIAR[4] system through the CGIAR Fund, as well as DKK 414 million through FFU North-driven projects.

Research is also supported through multilateral initiatives including the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other global fora such as the G20. Support is given to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which is one of the most important instruments for furthering environmental and climate initiatives in the developing countries.

In order to assess support via Danish institutions and organisations, as well as to provide recommendations to feed into the current process of formulating an overall strategy for development research, Danida’s Evaluation Department (EVAL) commissioned Orbicon A/S and ITAD to undertake an external evaluation[5]. The Evaluation has been limited to support for research within agriculture and natural resource management during the period 2006 to 2011, abbreviated Terms of Reference are presented in Annex A.

The dual purpose of this Evaluation has been to:

  • Assess, document and explain the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency – and where possible sustainability and impact – of Danish support to development research within the thematic areas of agriculture and natural resource management.

  • Provide lessons learned and recommendations which may feed into on-going discussions on how to improve support to development research, and more specifically into the current process of developing an overall strategic framework for support to development research, which is expected to be published in September 2013.

The Evaluation was carried from January to June 2013 and included field visits to Burkina Faso and Tanzania.

Structure of report

This report contains details of the methodology and approach used by the Evaluation and the findings, conclusions and recommendations based on a range of information and data sources. It is split into 11 chapters as follows:

  • Chapter 1 Introduction– this provides the background to the Evaluation.

  • Chapter 2 Intervention Mapping– this provides an overview of the five modalities which were at the heart of the Evaluation, and characterises these in terms of their history and the resources used.

  • Chapter 3 Methodology and Approach– which covers the tools used in collecting and analysing data, and explains the limitations and assumptions of the methodo logy.

  • Chapters 4 to 9 Modality Evaluation –these chapters cover the five modalities in some detail and measure performance against the five Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) evaluation criteria. The interventions under the FFU modality are split between North- and South-driven projects. At the end of each chapter there is a section on the Conclusions that the Evaluation has drawn from the findings reported.

  • Chapter 10 Synergy and Coherence –considers how the various modalities have interacted, supported and to some extent developed, from each other, highlighting areas relevant to the current issues.

  • Chapter 11 Conclusions and Recommendations –draws overall Conclusions from the Evaluation at strategic and operational levels with Recommendations which are also medium- to long-term (strategic) and short- to medium-term (operational).

  • Annexes – a number of annexes provide supplementary information and data not included in the main report.

1.2 Background to Evaluation

Changing strategies

The overall objective of Danish development assistance was articulated in 1971 in the Law on International Development Assistance and is to reduce poverty with the intention that this will contribute to social progress and political independence[6]. Development research was considered as one of several tools, but no detail was provided in the Law itself. During the evaluation period, Denmark has had two development strategies, Partnership 2000[7] in 2000 and Freedom from Poverty – Freedom to Change in 2010[8], [9]. Partnership 2000 highlights the increasing importance of research and research-based knowledge for development cooperation and calls for a closer connection between research and policy development. The main objective of Danish support to development research has been to contribute to the solution of developing countries’ problems, both in terms of new research results and in the building of capacity. Partnership 2000cites the need to utilise improvements in the professional and political basis for decision making, to improve the overall performance of Danish development cooperation.

In 2006, at the start of the evaluation period, three priority focus areas for development assistance[10] were identified by the Danish Government, within the context of poverty eradication:

  • Good governance – a fundamental prerequisite for development

  • Women – a driving force for development – focus on strengthening women’s rights and access to resources – access to education – strengthening position of women in Africa (Danida’s five-point plan on gender equity)


It gave high priority to promoting a sustainable environment in developing countries linked to a thematic area which targeted efforts contributing to sustainable management of the environment and natural resources. It included recognition of the significance of climate change as a growing challenge that makes demands on adaptation to ensure that the living conditions of vulnerable population groups in developing countries do not deteriorate.

More recently Freedom from Poverty – Freedom to Change mentions the importance of documenting and communicating results, and that the internal learning process should be enhanced through research and evaluation as well as focusing on applying research results in developing countrieswith an approach that uses value-chains in a farm-to-fork modality.

The Technical Advisory Services (UFT) is currently working on a strategic framework for Danish support to development research to create clear direction for the future prioritisation of the diverse elements within the Danish Government’s support. The strategic framework for development research is expected to strengthen the opportunity for development research to contribute to the overall objective of the development assistance[11] as well as making it easier to monitor the relevance, quality and effect of the support to development research.

Past evaluations

Two key technical evaluations cover some of the modalities under consideration by the present study. They are an evaluation of the ENRECA (Enhancement of Research Capacity in Developing Countries) modality in 2000[12] which focuses on one funding option that was managed by the forerunner to the FFU, and the more significant Commission on Development-Related Researchin 2001, often referred to as the Hernes’ Report[13] after its senior author, which is a wide ranging and detailed look at development research supported by Danida.

Since 2001, many of the recommendations of the Hernes’ Report and its annexes have been dealt with by Danida, but others re-emerged as issues during the current Evaluation and are dealt with in the following chapters, most notably those relating to:

  • Communication and the need for a coherent and structured approach to infor mation management.

  • The research paradigm during the evaluation period there has been a tendency for a linear modelto be used in which research identifies issues, develops solutions, passes on responsibility for uptake to extension and extension passes information on to farmers. Current thinking, and approaches suggested in the Hernes’ Report, is for a more holistic approach involving a broad base of stakeholders and value chains.

  • The strengthening of partnerships.

  • The development of broad-based institutional capacity.

  • The linking of research to sector programmes.

[2] The name Danida appeared in 1963 as a contraction of Danish International Development Agency and, subsequently, Danish International Development Assistance. Today Danida is no longer a contraction but has been retained as the term for Denmark’s development cooperation (

[3] Rådgivende Forskningsfaglige Udvalg, appointed by the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation.

[4] The CGIAR consists of an aligned global partnership among 15 international agricultural research centres (CGIAR Centres) that conduct research into agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Furthermore, research centres looking into economic, policy and institutional aspects related to global food and nutrition security are also included. The CGIAR Fund is a multi-donor, multi-year trust fund with the World Bank, Washington D.C., as a trustee and administrator of the Fund. The CGIAR Fund is financing the portfolio of 15 thematic research programmes aiming at four selected system level outcomes: reducing rural poverty; improving food security; improving nutrition and health; assuring sustainable management of the natural resources.

[5] The Team from Orbicon-ITAD comprises: John Sutherland, agricultural research and evaluation specialist (Team Leader); Carsten Schwensen, development economist and evaluation specialist (Deputy Team Leader); Anne Højmark Andersen, agriculturalist/natural resource management and evaluation specialist (Burkina Faso); Damian Gabagambi, agricultural economist and evaluation specialist (Tanzania).

[6] The Danish Law on International Development Assistance (Lov om internationalt udviklings-samarbejde; First version, 1971).

[7] Denmark’s Development Policy Strategy – Partnership 2000. The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Copenhagen, 2000.

[8] Freedom from Poverty – Freedom to Change Strategy for Denmark’s Development Cooperation, The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Copenhagen, July 2010.

[9] A new strategy for Danish Development Cooperation, “The Right to a Better Life”, was launched in 2012. A new Act on Danish Development Cooperation was passed by the Danish Parliament in 2012 and entered into force on 1st of January 2013.

[10] Commitment to Development – Priorities of the Danish Government for Danish Development Assistance2007-2011. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Copenhagen, Denmark. August 2006.

[11] To strengthen research capacity in developing countries and create new knowledge which can contribute to solving developmental problems.

[12] Evaluation of Danida’s Bilateral Programme for Enhancement of Research Capacity in DevelopingCountries (ENRECA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. December 2000.

[13] Commission on Development-Related Research (2001): Partnerships at the Leading Edge: A DanishVision for Knowledge, Research and Development (the Hernes Report). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. April 2001.

This page forms part of the publication 'Evaluation of Danida supported Research on Agriculture and Natural Resource Management 2006-2011' as chapter 4 of 16
Version 1.0. 09-09-2013
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