Itad is proud to see the Final Evaluation Report of the EU’s Support to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Partner Countries publicly launched.
Itad conducted this evaluation on behalf of the European Commission from July 2013-April 2015, working in partnership with COWI Belgium. You can find the final evaluation report here. Capacity4Development’s article on the evaluation, including an interview with some of our evaluation team, as well as the EC’s response to the evaluation’s recommendations is here. And a brief description of the scope of the evaluation is available on Itad’s website here.
The evaluation report is timely. It comes as the EU prepares the successor to its Gender Equality Action Plan 2010-2015 and as the international community concludes discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals. The evaluation findings should inform the EU’s position on both.
In the evaluation report we recommend that to ensure that gender does not continue to be marginalised within the EU’s development cooperation, gender targets need to be integrated into the EU’s Development and Cooperation Results Framework, against which the EU will report, review and manage its development efforts. The successor to the Gender Equality Action Plan should then map out the means of achieving those gender targets included in the Results Framework. To facilitate effective implementation we recommend that senior managers delegate responsibility for driving the implementation of gender commitments to Heads of Delegations and that EU Delegations invest in both gender capacity and gender analysis to inform country level strategy and programming. Of course, implementation progress needs to be closely monitored. To enable this, we recommend that gender sensitive indicators are more systematically integrated into programme and project monitoring, country strategy reviews and evaluations and that Delegations are called upon to report against gender targets in External Action Management Reports.
The EC’s initial response to the evaluation’s recommendations is encouraging. Senior officials have publicly accepted the situation described in the evaluation report. They acknowledge that leaders and senior managers have not given gender adequate attention and that whilst some progress has been made during the life of the Gender Equality Action Plan the good practice that exists is largely the result of committed individuals rather than organisational effort. There are signs that this could change. The new DEVCO leadership has already signalled the importance of gender to the organisation’s work. Furthermore, the draft successor to the Gender Equality Action Plan includes a component which seeks to make a ‘cultural shift’ in the way the EC addresses gender. Whilst some parts of the new Gender Equality Action Plan are a menu from which EU Delegations can pick and choose, this particular component is not.
The ‘fiche contradictoire’, to be made available on DEVCO’s website, will detail the EC’s formal response to the evaluation’s recommendations. One year after the evaluation, the EC is obliged to publish progress made against its planned actions, again in the fiche contradictoire. This is clearly a space to watch…
Claire Hughes, May 2015