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Independent Evaluation on Public Financial Management

Has SECO’s official development assistance contributed to successful reforms in public financial management?

Judith Zimmermann

OPM is evaluating Public Financial Management (PFM) activities funded by the Economic Cooperation and Development Division in the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affair’s (SECO). The thematic evaluation covers a sub-set of 20 PFM projects in eleven countries as well as global programmes such as International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and The Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA).

The challenge

The independent evaluation undertaken by OPM provides

  1. an instrument of accountability, addressed to the Swiss Parliament for the planning of the next dispatch and the interested broader public and
  2. an important opportunity for SECO’s institutional learning.

Our Approach

The evaluation will examine 20 projects in the PFM thematic area on a desk-review basis, complemented by interviews with SECO staff in their HQ in Berne as well as with SECO staff on the ground. To prepare the desk reports a detailed matrix was created to answer all the evaluation's questions following 13 accountability and 4 learning questions.

The approach includes awareness of procedures and activities required for assessment of

  • projects for which SECO is the sole donor and mandates implementing agency (by tender), and nominated as bilateral projects,
  • projects implemented by other development partners with contributions from SECO, the so-called multi-bi projects, and
  • SECO contributions to global initiatives, nominated as global projects.

The approach assessed the portfolio project-by-project with due consideration to different implementation modalities and partners. Furthermore, four projects in two countries (Albania and Peru) were looked at in-depth, with field visits and extensive interviews with relevant stakeholders.

Outcomes and wider impact

The evaluation is providing SECO with insights in learnings across the PFM activity landscape and with recommendations for further programming or project tweaking for ongoing projects.