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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Global Affairs Canada Results-Based Management Guides: 1998-2021


 Greg Armstrong - Last updated: April 2 2023

The Global Affairs Canada suite of Results-Based Management guides, tools and checklists are among the most practical guides available for the design, management, monitoring and results reporting for projects funded by any international agency.  And, of course, they are essential for anyone bidding on or implementing projects funded by Global Affairs Canada.   

As strong as the project-level RBM guides are, however, the agency-wide results framework for GAC is surprisingly weak.

This article reviews the most recent changes made to the GAC RBM system between 2016-2023, considers how flexible the GAC Results-Based Management system is, in practice, and looks at the state of agency-wide Global Affairs Canada results reporting,  in early 2023.

16 GAC RBM guides, tables and checklists inside a red Canadian maple leaf symbol
GAC RBM Guides: 1998-2021

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

How GIZ uses Results-Based Management in Monitoring and Evaluation

Greg Armstrong

With $16 billion in 1,700 ongoing technical cooperation projects, and more than 19,000 staff working in 130 countries, GIZ is one of the world’s biggest technical cooperation implementing agencies. This article reviews the GIZ role in German international development assistance and, GIZ policies on Results-Based Management, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Map showing in which countries GIZ is active

Who This is For:  Project Managers, Bid Managers
Level of Difficulty:  Moderate to complex
Most useful:  Guidelines on designing and using a results-based monitoring system (RBM system)

The size and scope of German International Assistance

According to Donor Tracker in 2017 Germany was the second largest donor for international development assistance in gross amounts disbursed.

Even given the fact that the $ 24.7 billion budget for international assistance included roughly $6 billion for refugee related expenditures, this still makes Germany in gross terms the biggest donor in Europe, and the second biggest in the world.  It ranked 6th in Europe in terms of % of GNI contributed.

Germany is also the largest contributor to the European Development Fund, the largest component of EU-administered development assistance.  

 The two largest components of this development assistance are managed by  KfW Development Bank and its subsidiary DEG, the German Investment Corporation and BMZ – the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Role and Function of BMZ 

While much of this German ODA was managed by KfW Development Bank, and other government Ministries,  BMZ - The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, administered  the largest portion of the budget -roughly 37% of the ODA budget in 2017, and that was predicted to rise to 49% ( $10.7 billion) in 2018.

2018 Budget Allocations - BMZ
Click to enlarge
The largest component of the BMZ aid budget in 2018 was allocated to bilateral development cooperation.

Of the 8.5 billion Euro ($US 9.5 billion administered by BMZ, in 2017 several billion was provided for
financial cooperation, some through the European Union’s aid mechanisms, some to the World
Bank, and the regional development banks, to foundations and civil society organizations.  Some was
also provided to a wide range of United Nations agencies. 

Germany is, for example, the largest government contributor to the UNDP.

And Germany supported close to 2,000 UNDP projects through UNDP regular resources and another 113 UNDP projects directly in 2017.  
Map showing the location of 2,087 UNDP projects supported by Germany in 2017
UNDP projects supported by Germany in 2017
(Click to enlarge)

GIZ, as an implementing agency itself received roughly 2.6 billion Euros  (close to $3 billion) in 2017, roughly 2.5 billion coming from BMZ and other German ministries, the rest from organizations such as the European Union, U.N. agencies, foundations or private sector companies, for the implementation of technical cooperation activities and between 2015-2017 was the largest recipient of Europeaid contracts, and although no longer the single largest recipient in  January 2019 remained  in the top 3.
Chart showing the top 10 EuropeAid contractors between 2015-2017
List of top EuropeAid contractors 2015-2017
Over the past 5 years  GIZ has been awarded 218 EuropeAid contracts worth roughly $450 million.

5-Year total of GIZ contracts with EuropeAid - as of January 2019

The Role of GIZ as an Implementing Agency

Monday, March 12, 2018

Aid Agency Results-Based Management Policies: Switzerland, New Zealand,The World Bank, the Netherlands,the United Kingdom, Canada and Sweden

Greg Armstrong

Last updated March 27, 2023

The OECD has produced 7 case studies on how Results-Based Management policies are used by the World Bank, and the international aid agencies for Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, the United Kingdom,  The Netherlands and New Zealand.  These guides will not help anyone manage a project, but they do provide a useful comparative overview of the intentions of these agencies as they seek to create usable, comprehensible Results-Based Management frameworks.

Case Studies on how 6 aid agencies use Results-Based Management
OECD Results-Based Management Case Studies

Level of Difficulty:  Moderate-Complex
Length: 10-15 pages for each case study, 33 pages for the synthesis
Primarily useful for: Implementing agency managers
Most useful: Annex 1 of the synthesis document
Limitations:  The studies present one side of the analysis – from the agency management, not from users

In 2016 and 2017 OECD produced 7 very short case studies (all PDF files) on how Results-Based Management was used for agency management in planning and reporting on aid projects in 2016 and 2017.  While for some of these agencies things have changed substantially since then, the summaries are still useful guides to the general results orientation of aid agencies.  The seven case studies include:

Utility and Limitations of the OECD country case studies

For any implementing agency manager  considering either bidding for a project funded by one of these agencies, or for anyone working on a multi-donor project, trying to understand what drives different agencies’ results agenda, each of these guides can provide some superficial introductory summaries of what the insiders in the agencies have to work with, and what pressures may be on them as they manage their agencies programmes. 

But aid agency administrators often think their own agency’s approach to RBM is easier to understand than do the implementing partners, who have to translate the often arcane Results-Based Management policies into practical plans and reports.

These are very short case studies, based on documentary analysis and interviews with aid agency managers, and therefore they present only one side of the story on each agency’s approach to results-based management.

Those who want detailed guidance on how to implement the Results Based Management frameworks in any practical way will not find it in these reports.  That guidance is, for some, but not all of the agencies, available from their websites.

Links to Aid Agency Results-Based Management Guides and Handbooks

Update:  A few of the studies, such as those on the Netherlands, The United Kingdom and Sweden, still provide more information than anything  publicly available on those donors' own websites. But, since these case studies were originally produced, and since I originally wrote this review in March 2018, a number of the links to aid agency sources have expired, or disappeared.  Those who want more detailed guidance on how the different agencies incorporate Results-Based Management in their work, may in some cases find them (as of February 2023) at these links:

  • The Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation's website at first glance makes it easier to find information on priorities, than on results.  The agency's monitoring and evaluation page includes a link to a 52-page report on results of the Swiss development cooperation programme between 2017 and 2019 [a very large 16 MB file] which does provide some interesting indicators on Switzerland's contributions to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and this suggests that somewhere there are more details on a results framework. This page also has a link to a publicly available interactive e-learning course on Project Cycle Management
  • The basically (in English at any rate) opaque  Dutch Development Results site unfortunately is less useful than the OECD case study, and subsumes the Dutch Development results within the framework of the SDGS.  This includes links to results by 11 SDG themes, and for 20 countries.

Lessons Learned from the Case Studies

Of potentially more interest from a comparative perspective is the 31- page synthesis report Strengthening the Results Chain by Rosie Zwart.  

OECD Synthesis Report on Results-Based Management
OECD Synthesis Report on Results-Based Management

This document summarizes and analyses the challenges facing the different agencies, in terms of how they link their internal results frameworks to long term international development results, how they use standard indicators, and the problems associated with this, how the results and indicators contribute to accountability, how attribution of credit for results is handled in each agency, how they use narratives to make sense of the results frameworks, and the extent to which results reporting contributes to  any meaningful learning – and change, within the agencies

Short summary paragraphs on how 7 aid agencies use Results-Based Management
Short summaries of how aid agencies use RBM
[click to enlarge]

Readers may find the Annex to the report, which summarizes many of these issues by aid agency, useful, before deciding whether to read the individual country reports.
A chart comparing how 7 aid agencies use RBM, using 6 criteria
RBM Comparison Chart for 7 Aid Agencies
[Click to enlarge]

The bottom line:  These case studies can provide useful overviews of the challenges facing different aid agencies as they implement Results-Based Management.  Policies change,  however, and readers should check the agencies' own websites for updates.


Greg Armstrong is a Results-Based Management specialist who focuses on the use of clear language in RBM training, and in the creation of usable planning, monitoring and reporting frameworks.  For links to more Results-Based Management Handbooks and Guides, go to the RBM Training website

RBM Training

RBM Training
Results-Based Management

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