Evaluation of the international climate finance: How is Belgium tackling the global climate challenge in vulnerable countries?

© Enabel

In October 2021, the Special Evaluation Office published the final report of the evaluation of the international climate finance provided by the Belgian federal government during the period 2013 to 2019. The final report is available in English. There is also a policy note in English, French and Dutch.

Without advocating what an equitable Belgian contribution to climate finance should be, the evaluation examines the framework (regulatory, policy and operational) and instruments used to implement the objectives of federal climate finance.

Climate finance is the local, national or multilateral funding that supports mitigation and adaptation measures to address climate change. Belgian International Climate Finance consists for 97% of Official Development Aid and covers a wide range of sectors including agriculture, education, energy, environment, governance, health, humanitarian aid, water & sanitation, and sustainable cities.

A series of key interventions were selected for in-depth case studies in Burkina Faso, Niger, Rwanda and Vietnam, as well as in Senegal and Tanzania where field missions took place.

Adaptation and mitigation

Belgian international climate action is mainly focused on climate adaptation in vulnerable countries. Some projects may contain both adaptation and mitigation elements. 

Climate adaptation aims to reduce the vulnerability of human or natural systems to the effects of climate change by maintaining or increasing adaptive capacity. Examples include agricultural projects, education projects, water & sanitation projects, waste management actions and natural resource management.

Climate mitigation contributes to stabilising the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by reducing or limiting emissions. Examples are water retention, forest expansion, energy production, soil management and coastal protection. 

The evaluation makes a number of recommendations to the federal government, the DGD, Enabel, BIO, the non-governmental and institutional actors, and the Climate Change Department of the FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment.


"Evaluation of International Climate Finance How is Belgium tackling
the global climate challenge in vulnerable countries"


« Digital for Development » (D4D), Follow-up study: What are the developments related to the Covid-19 context?

© VVOB Rwanda/Wehubit

The evaluation of "Digital for Development" (D4D) was complemented by a study that examined the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the D4D projects and strategy. The aim was to draw lessons from experiences in this particular context. The study thus provides a better understanding of the impact of the crisis on digitalisation strategies and their implementation in partner countries. The report is available in French.

Digital divide

This study examined the impact Covid-19 had on D4D interventions. For example, projects were delayed or postponed. Some activities reinvented themselves in a creative way. The digital was therefore crucial in responding to the health crisis. However, this trend brings with it risks linked to social inequalities. For example, not everyone has a computer to take online classes.

During the Covid-19 period, the cross-cutting issues remain important, such as the digital divide (Leave No One Behind) and the related gender dimension or the environmental impact of the increasing use of D4D.

Response to the crisis

The study also examined how the Belgian Development Cooperation took into account the digital in its strategic response to the Covid-19 crisis. For example, Enabel wrote a specific note 'Digital for Development Covid response Enabel' in May 2020.

This evaluation also observed which D4D interventions were used in the response to the crisis. In most of the cases and sectors studied, these digital tools and activities seem to be designed to last beyond the health crisis. These digital actions can also support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a strong focus on the health sector.

The evaluation makes a number of recommendations to the Cabinet of the Minister of Development Cooperation, to the DGD, Enabel and the actors of non-governmental cooperation to deal with a health crisis in partner countries, now and in the future.

An evaluation of the Belgian core funding policy of multilateral organisations

©WHO/Gregor Donaldson

In April 2021, the Special Evaluation Office (SEO) published the final report of its evaluation of Belgium’s core funding policy of multilateral organizations. The restitution where the results and recommendations were presented took place on the 21st of June. The full report is available in English. There is also a summary in Dutch and French.

Effective multilateralism

Core funding makes it possible to contribute to the general resources of international partner organisations of the Belgian cooperation, rather than making earmarked contributions to targeted projects. Belgium has been applying this policy since 2009, demonstrating its strong commitment to an effective multilateralism.

Fifteen international partner organisations receive more than a third of Belgian multilateral development aid through the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD). The current selection of these international partner organisations is in line with Belgium's sectoral, thematic and policy priorities, such as human rights, decent work, food security, climate action and gender equality.

The evaluation aimed to assess the choice and implementation of a core funding policy. Were the expected results achieved? Which mechanisms and instruments were used?  A number of policy and operational recommendations were also made for the design and implementation of the new multi-annual funding of international partner organisations.

UN development organisations

The evaluation focused on the United Nations development agencies, concentrating on Belgian support to the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and the WHO (World Health Organization). Special attention was paid to the work of these organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The core funding allowed the organisations to allocate their funding to priority areas, and helped to fund interventions that were critical for beneficiaries, including during Covid-19, such as:

  1. strengthening health systems through WHO
  2. promoting democratic governance through UNDP
  3. ensuring the presence of qualified human rights defenders at country level through OHCHR
  4. reinforcing the right to access reproductive health services for women through UNFPA

The main conclusion was that the voluntary core funding policy has been highly relevant within the broader framework of multilateral development cooperation, reducing fragmentation. However, core funding was not sufficiently exploited as a possible tool to exert influence.

The evaluation makes a number of recommendations to the Cabinet of the Minister of Development Cooperation, to the DGD and to the Permanent Representations to the UN and diplomatic missions in Belgian partner countries.