Monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for South-South and Triangular Development Cooperation: lessons from Brazil for the 2030 agenda
In the past 15 years, South-South development cooperation (SSDC)1 and triangular development cooperation (TrC) have been growing in prominence as a result of an increase in resources, geographical reach and
diversity of approaches to new forms of development partnerships. At the same time, demands for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are also being made by citizens, taxpayers and civil society that are engaged in SSDC
Yet, the lack of a clear and common conceptual framework makes SSDC monitoring and evaluation challenging. This problem is compounded by the evidence gaps and the low quality of data on SSDC, which is generally incomplete and unreliable, owing to weak M&E systems and overall information management in Southern partners. Development agencies among Southern partners are relatively new and still lack the seasoned M&E experience of traditional donors. Moreover, Southern partners understand SSDC in different ways, compared with a more homogeneous understanding among traditional donors. Hence, Southern partners have no comparable conceptual and methodological framework to match the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Developments Development Assistance Committee (DAC/OECD) to guide and standardise their development cooperation M&E.
This paper provides an overview of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practices from different institutions engaged in South-South development cooperation (SSDC) and triangular development cooperation (TrC) in Brazil, based on a literature and document review and semi-structured interviews with 13 Brazilian and international institutions.
The findings corroborate the initial hypothesis that there is no unified M&E system for Brazilian development cooperation but heterogeneous M&E practices. These practices are mainly focused on outputs and shaped by the Brazilian Cooperation Agencys parameters as well as those of the executing institutions.
The challenges and pitfalls identified by domestic and international institutions involved in Brazils SSDC/TrC showed the growing awareness of the need to prioritize M&E. However, heterogeneous concepts of evaluation and diversified institutional contexts suggest that a broad and cross-sectorial debate could
enhance construction of a unified framework for Brazilian development cooperation, working hand in hand with general discussions on South-South cooperation and international development governance.