Evaluation of Norway’s Support for Advocacy in the Development Policy Arena

The objective of this evaluation was to identify the driving factors that determine the achievement of Norway’s advocacy outcomes and provide lessons for improving the Norwegian government’s future programming of policy advocacy as an instrument for pursuing its development policy objectives. The evaluation looked into Norway’s direct advocacy through diplomatic and non-diplomatic channels as well as indirect advocacy through UN an NGO recipients of funding and was concerned with advocacy activities funded, commissioned or implemented by the Norwegian government between 2005 and 2014/15..

The evaluation was comprised of four main components: a summary of Norway’s main advocacy engagements based on an analysis of its grant agreements database; thematic overviews of 11 issue areas; more detailed case studies of four of these issue areas (maternal and child health (MCH); education; women, peace and security (WPS); and illicit financial flows (IFF)); and finally a synthesis, which presents a comparative analysis across the four issue areas.  

The evaluation finds that Norway’s advocacy engagements over the past decade have covered a wide range of thematic areas. Using a mix of high level diplomacy and indirect support and, working with, other governments, multilateral institutions, civil society; Norway manages to elevate the targeted issues on the global agenda. Its coalition partners perceive Norway as a flexible and efficient partner without a hidden agenda. Norway’s financial resources and experience in some of the policy areas also provide the necessary legitimacy to Norway’s role as a prime mover in the development policy arena.

The evaluation points out that all four engagements have ambitious goals and require long-term efforts. All engagements are facing an unfinished agenda. There is a perception that there is a mismatch between staff and technical resources and the scope of Norway’s engagements.

Building on the evaluation findings, the Evaluation Department recommended that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may choose to prioritize commitments where Norway is perceived to have a comparative advantage. There is a need for a greater focus on adjusting ambitions and plans in line with the resources. Available resources should be accessed from both within and outside of the Foreign Service. Need for an exit-strategy for high-level political engagement is also highlighted in the recommendations.

The final report can be found here.

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