The audit revealed that the projects that Norway has supported have for the most part been organised in keeping with the objectives and principles laid down for Norwegian development aid projects. Most of the activity goals in the projects have been met, but the Office of the Auditor General queries the long-term effectiveness of some of the schemes. There have also been problems related to risk assessment in connection with the projects, in particular for the UNESCO projects, and there has been little independent evaluation of the projects.
The purpose of this audit was to assess the results of the multi-bi development aid projects being carried out under the auspices of the World Bank and UNESCO, the extent to which Norwegian objectives and principles for this aid have been adhered to, and the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s role in connection with initiation, planning and follow-up of the projects.
In connection with the World Bank projects, the audit demonstrated that there were a number of delays in the actual implementation. This was often connected to the fact that there was a disparity between the size of the project and the local authorities’ capacity to implement it. In connection with some of the smaller UNESCO projects too, there is uncertainty with regard to the long-term effectiveness, as a result of inadequate maintenance of the infrastructure.
The project evaluations do not really supplement the ongoing reporting of results. Furthermore, the evaluations were always led by the involved organisations themselves. No concrete, independent, external evaluations have been performed.
In order to ensure optimum management of the various elements of uncertainty, relevant risk assessments must be included in the planning phase of the projects. In the opinion of the Office of the Auditor General, it is a major weakness that the plans for the audited UNESCO projects do not include risk assessments.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs accepts and agrees with the findings and assessments discussed in the audit report and has stated that improvements have already been introduced in keeping with these, in particular a transition to fewer and more target-oriented schemes.
This report is available in Norwegian on the Office of the Auditor General’s website – www.riksrevisjonen.no – or can be ordered from the University bookshop Akademika, tel. +47 22 11 67 70.