March 24, 2014
How should one evaluate the following result indicator of a cross-border cooperation project: Satisfaction betterment of the business sphere in x and y border counties, base value 0 %, target value 15%, actual value 15, 38%? This indicator, meant to be fulfilled during a 5 years sustainability period, should answer the following specific objective: Economic competitiveness betterment of x and y counties. However, the indicator offers no measurable data and I can only guess its meaning.
Poor defined indicators are one of the most common mistakes to be found in EU projects (approved for implementation), followed by non-transparent base values and non-measurable target values. In addition, there are no in-place methodologies allowing the monitoring officer to properly evaluate the fulfilment of such indicators which, in my opinion, are directly connected with the following implementation logic: assessment of needs, objective(s), activities, allocated resources (budget, human capital, etc), results, indicators, impact at the level of the target group. In the absence of workable measurement instruments, clear definitions and transparent base and target values for indicators we certainly face the risk of subjectivity when it comes to approve the final report for such projects. There is no need to mention that this approach is far away from our goal of ensuring equal treatment for all the Programme’s beneficiaries.
To conclude, it remains unclear how these projects were approved during the evaluation process? A basic rule in project management says that there are two key phases in the elaboration of a project: definition phase and planning phase. Overlooking their importance can result in numerous problems during the execution and debriefing of projects. However, for the time being, bodies in charge with the evaluation of the EU funded projects fail to notice the importance of the preparation and evaluation phases for the overall success of the Operational Programme (OP). In the context of the actual programming period, the incapacity of assessing the results/impact of both projects and Programme, can affect the ability of those in charge with writing the next OP to build on past experiences and fully answer the needs of the people living in the border area.
Author : mariusvalentinniculae