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The Policy/Impact Evaluation of EUSDR instruments, tools and activities for measuring the impact in the Danube Region was finalised and can be downloaded here. The assessment was carried out by Spatial Foresight from July 2021 to May 2022.
The EUSDR Impact Evaluation answers nine evaluation questions structured along four themes: (A) implementation, (B) impact, (C) communication and (D) effects of COVID-19 pandemic. The evaluation builds on the complex intervention logic of the EUSDR and its recent alignments, namely the revised EUSDR Action Plan 2020. The theory-based evaluation focuses on changes envisaged by the Strategy and looks to identify and assess the processes behind the changes.
Here are some excerpts from the conclusions drawn in the evaluation report:
- the revised EUSDR Action Plan 2020 is coherent, relevant, appropriate and realistic
- implementation of the EUSDR Action Plan 2020 is going well
- current tools and processes are working well
- the new monitoring system makes use of DTP reporting and enables coordinated submissions to the EC MRS implementation report
- important effects can be expected along the impact pathways for all PAs, i.e., change can be expected in capacities, behaviours and policy change
- high contribution expected for EU Cohesion Policy goals and the European integration
- medium contribution to the European Green Deal and Digital Europe, less to recovery and resilience objectives
- comparatively low to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- the EUSDR embedding process is assessed as comprehensive and complete
- awareness about the EUSDR is rising and every fifth resident of the region knows the Strategy
- internal communication measures are efficient in reaching the target group
- external communication was kick-started in 2020 by new strategic documents – the EUSDR Communication Strategy and EUSDR Communication Guide
- most external communication measures are appropriate; however, their efficiency can vary greatly depending on the prior knowledge of the EUSDR
- the pandemic effects are mainly negative but there are also some positive ones
- negative effects on personal contact, networking and coordination
- positive effects from digitalisation, reduced travel costs, and wider outreach with digital/ videoconference formats for meetings and conferences
- the EUSDR Action Plan 2020 has not lost its relevance and appropriateness due to COVID-19
To summarise the findings, the revised EUSDR Action Plan 2020 is going well. The Strategy is being implemented based on a solid governance structure and with a clear distribution of roles and responsibilities that only need fine-tuning in specific cases (e.g. when new staff take over the EUSDR tasks). Processes and tools effectively support the implementation.
Administrative tasks such as reporting, internal communication and coordination with multiple stakeholders within and outside the EUSDR system produce a workload that is highly relevant for the implementation of the EUSDR Action Plan 2020. This might be seen as burdensome, especially by the professionals that do not work full-time on the EUSDR implementation.
In the positive context of implementation, five recommendations could increase efficiency for EUSDR stakeholders and, especially, maximise the impact and contribution to wider policy objectives.
To see the recommendations and further details, download the EUSDR Policy/Impact Evaluation here.