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6 Minor Studies

6.1 Introduction

Minor studies funding is to support initiatives which contribute to Danida’s strategic development objective that aims at strengthening the quality of Danish development cooperation and provides, or should provide, guidance and input into strategy development and planning. It is an instrument to promote internal learning, influence policy and strategic thinking and to encourage innovation. As such it is distinct from the other modalities being evaluated as it supports Danida policy development rather than directly supporting Southern institutions or individuals.

It is a flexible instrument, which can be applied quickly, within an annual planning cycle, and focuses on relevant and often innovative issues within development assistance. It is an instrument for quick learning and uptake of knowledge, especially with respect to priority, topical issues within development assistance. Operationally, studies under this modality tend to re-analyse and build on known information, compiling and consolidating existing knowledge and placing it into a specific policy context.

There is an annual process within Danida to allocate funding for these studies which are initiated by representatives and embassies. Funding also follows a structured approach to communication which includes a written report and a pro-active approach to com munication with at least one meeting where results are presented. As well as internal communication, where the results and outcomes of the study justify it, wider international sharing of findings is encouraged.

The modality is dependent on evidence from existing information sources which relies on proper data collection within aid programmes, well-performed and structured reviews and state-of-the-art evaluations. This may be a limitation where data or information are inadequate, not available or inaccessible.

Four studies relevant to the Evaluation have been identified by UFT, and have been completed during the period[40]; the total cost of these was DKK 2.1 million.

6.2 Relevance

Each of the four studies was clearly linked to Danida policy and the priorities identified in two key strategic documents[41]. The studies addressed:

  • Important aspects of climate change in Africa;

  • The multiplier effect climate change issues can have on conflict when they become part of a complex and volatile situation and secondly the important part climate change can play in exacerbating poverty;

  • Documenting the lessons learned from supporting green growth[42] through the implementation of eco-enterprises in Guatemala and Honduras;

  • The mechanisms by which land and property rights stimulate and sustain economic activity of individuals and businesses by assess the impact of different issues Land and property rights, tenure security and economic behaviour in Uganda.

6.3 Effectiveness

A study carried out through the regional environmental programme in Central America (“Programa Regional de Medio Ambiente en Centroamérica (PREMACA)”) is a good example of how results from a Danida supported programme are put into a new context, in this case that of green growth, and the study was used to shape the approach and definition of the green growth paradigm. The PREMACA study increased existing knowledge on green value chains producing a short and results-oriented study demonstrating how green growth and greener value chains could be successfully pursued in development programmes, especially within agriculture and private sector support. Effectiveness of the study was increased through well-designed communication and it is often cited as a case study of how positive results can be achieved within a greener growth paradigm.

This is also the case for the three other studies, although effectiveness is on a more general level. The relatively fast process of this funding modality made output from them quickly available and permitted the information to feed into important policy processes within Danida, with implications for strategic thinking around low carbon development and climate change.

The Climate Change and Conflict study output was particularly timely and served to highlight climate change as an important factor that is likely to exacerbate existing conflicts in regions where Danish development aid and humanitarian interventions operates, such as the Horn of Africa. The considerations for the Climate Change – Conflict nexus are now increasingly embedded in bilateral interventions, for example in Northern Kenya and Somalia, and in regional activities on the Horn of Africa. Although the study was not the first to highlight the importance of this linkage it certainly raised awareness within Danida and significantly contributed to bringing the issue on the agenda and further into consideration in aid programmes.

The Land and Property Rights study provided a more recent insight into the influence that policy in these areas has on economic growth driven through agriculture and natural resource management, providing useful material through three publications[43].

6.4 Efficiency

In terms of the quality of the outputs and the uses to which they were put, the total cost of the four studies (DKK 2.1 million), appears to represent extremely good value for money.

6.5 Impact/Sustainability

From the available evidence these studies all appear to have made an impact on Danida policy and raised awareness amongst the organisation’s decision-makers, which is what they were designed to do. One in particular (PREMACA) provided clearly articulated information which helped drive and develop focussed, evidence-based policy. The others provided more general information with less direct benefit, but did serve to consolidate information and raise awareness.

6.6 Conclusions

It is important that Danida policy and decision-makers have access to reliable and evidence-based information and the Minor Studiesmodality provides this opportunity. In general the Evaluation has found only limited institutionalised mechanisms for communication and information, and this modality provides one option for consolidating and sharing relevant and focussed knowledge; as such this is a positive characteristic.

Historically this role was partly held by the now phased-out technical networks, but in their absence the ability for embassies and representatives to commission independent consolidation of evidence in support of policy/strategy decisions is an important one.

The modality, for all its potential usefulness appears underutilised, only four studies were commissioned for agriculture and NRM in the six years covered by the Evaluation, and one of these on Policy and land rights was at the very end of the six-year period (August 2011). The reasons are linked to the fact that studies need to be demand-driven through Danida’s system and there is insufficient capacity to use and manage them.

Whilst there is an unwillingness to utilise the funding instrument for the type of studies for which it is designed, there is clearly a need for the facility to exist and evidence of clear, cost-effective benefits from its use. It is possible that the new overall strategy for development research, which is under development, will identify priority issues that can provide an easy entry-point for those with access to the fund in the embassies and Danida in Copenhagen.

[40] Low Carbon Development and Poverty Alleviation – Options for Development Cooperation inEnergy, Agriculture and Forestry. Mikkel Funder, Jacob Fjalland, Helle Munk Ravnborg and Henrik Egelyng, DIIS Report 2009:20; PREMECA, Green Growth in Practice under Danida’s Regional Environmental Programme in Central America. Jakob Grosen, Development Associates ApS, March 2012; Addressing Climate Change and Conflict – experiences from natural resource management. Mikkel Funder, Signe Marie Cold-Ravnkilde and Ida Peters Ginsborg in collaboration with Nanna Callisen Bang, DIIS REPORT 2012:04; Land Tenure under Transition – Tenure Security, Land Institutions and Economic Activity in Uganda, Helle Munk Ravnborg, Bernard Bashaasha, Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Rachel Spichiger and Alice Turinawe, DIIS Working Paper 2013:03, March 2013.

[41] Climate change is a priority area in both Commitment to Development and Freedom from Poverty – Freedom to Change).

[42] Green growth should be understood as an integral part of sustainable growth which promotes general economic growth and development in a manner that enables the environment today and in future to deliver the resources and environmental services on which our welfare depends. Green growth should catalyse investments, innovation and job creation, which not only sustain continued growth, but also give rise to new economic opportunities. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a green economy is one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. (The Right to a Better Life – Strategy for Denmark’s Development Cooperation, Danish Government, June 2012).

[43] Land tenure security and development in Uganda, DIIS Policy Brief, April 2013, 4pp. Land Tenure under Transition – Tenure Security, Land Institutions and Economic Activity in Uganda, Helle Munk Ravnborg, Bernard Bashaasha, Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Rachel Spichiger and Alice Turinawe, DIIS Working Paper 2013:03, March 2013.
Land Tenure and Economic Activities in Uganda: a Literature Review, Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Rachel Spichiger, Sarah Alobo and Michael Kidoido, with the collaboration of Bernard Bashaasha and Helle Munk Ravnborg, DIIS Working Paper 2012:13, November 2012.

This page forms part of the publication 'Evaluation of Danida supported Research on Agriculture and Natural Resource Management 2006-2011' as chapter 9 of 16
Version 1.0. 09-09-2013
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