In development cooperation, evaluation is understood by the OECD Development Assistance Committee as
“The systematic and objective assessment of an on-going or completed project or programme, its design, implementation and results. The aim is to determine the relevance and fulfillment of objectives, development efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability.”
In development cooperation, evaluations are often seen as distinct from studies like appraisals and reviews although such studies are also, in principle, evaluations (albeit with very restricted scope).
What is normally termed evaluation in aid management are normally more extensive, cover a wider range of questions and topics, are designed and carried out in accordance with recognised evaluation methods, and are almost always conducted by external experts.
In aid management, evaluations are often seen as a key instrument to assess the results/effects of aid; to provide some external verification of whether aid works or not. As can be seen from the definition above, this is only one of many different questions, which an evaluation can answer.
Most evaluations of Norwegian aid are commissioned by the organisation or unit responsible for grant management or for implementing the programmes to be evaluated. These are called decentralised evalautions.
This section of norad.no covers evaluations commissioned by the Department for Evaluation, called centralised evaluations.