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Delegated Cooperation evaluated by Ecorys

On the 27th of April, a closing seminar was held in Brussels to present the evaluation of Delegated Cooperation (DC). This was a large and  complex strategic evaluation carried out on behalf of the Evaluation Unit of the European Commission’s Development Cooperation Directorate (DEVCO). The evaluation, for which Ecorys has worked on for the last three years, covered the period 2007 up to 2014.


Delegated Cooperation (DC)

DC is an aid delivery mechanism which the European Commission started to use in 2007. DC means in practice that one donor has delegated and entrusted the management of its project or programme to another donor. DC consists of two types: Delegation Agreements (DAs), which are funds entrusted by the European Commission to development cooperation entities of EU Member States; and Transfer Agreements (TAs), which are funds entrusted to the Commission by EU Member States. DC has been closely related to the international aid effectiveness agenda, which came to existence from 2002 onwards. DC was generally meant to address key principles of that agenda, in particular better Division of Labour and better harmonisation between donor interventions. Over the period 2008-2014, 164 DAs and 59 TAs have been agreed with a total value of 1.6 billion. 

The suggested reciprocity between EU and DC partners or among the DC partners does not exist. On the one hand, the agencies of large member states have been most active in DAs, such as the German agencies GIZ and KfW and French AFD. On the other hand, the smaller member states have been most active in TAs.

General conclusions and recommendations

Ecorys demonstrated that the impact of DC on aid efficiency and effectiveness has been limited.  DC was tailored and operationalised in such a way that only parts of the aid effectiveness agenda could be supported. It was used mostly as an operational tool, with limited attention given to the broader aid effectiveness principles. Ecorys therefore recommended to redefine the DC objectives in line with the evolving aid effectiveness agenda and the operational evolution of DC on the ground. In addition Ecorys argued that DC should be more explicitly geared toward strengthening the partnership between the EU and Member States, with a stronger involvement of EU Member States in its design and implementation.

Although DC aimed to enhancing co-financing, 26 percent of all DAs have not been co-financed. The evaluation therefore recommends to reaffirm co-financing as a mandatory feature of DC agreements. With such improvements, DCs will continue to be a tool addressing operational challenges, such as the heavy workload faced by EUDs, but in a more efficient and effective manner.

Ecorys further advised to pay more attention to aspects that are important to partner countries, such as better alignment of the DC-supported projects to their systems. Currently the majority of DC partners, especially the ones with their own implementing capacity, prefer to use their own systems.

To read the full evaluation report, please click here. For more information, please contact: