2020 Democracy and Human Rights, Public Administration

Institution Building In Practice: An evaluation Of Swedish Central Authorities´ Reform Cooperation In The Western Balkans

Richard Allen, Giorgio Ferrari, Dejana Razić Ilić, Krenar Loshi, Númi Östlund

This evaluation analyses the results, relevance and cost-effectiveness of Swedish central government authorities’ development cooperation projects in the Western Balkans (2009–2018).


Every year, around SEK 600 million of Swedish international development assistance is channelled through the country’s central government authorities. Institution Building in Practice: An Evaluation of Swedish Central Authorities’ Reform Cooperation in the Western Balkans studies the effects, sustainability and cost-effectiveness of these initiatives, with a focus on the Western Balkans
(Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia). All ten projects studied were judged to be relevant in a strict sense to the countries’ process of EU accession. At the same time, the evaluation showed that the projects did not always target key priorities, and that several were too limited in scale to be able to influence progress towards EU accession.

1. That Swedish government authorities contributed to sustainable results in terms of improving the capacity of their partner agencies in the Western Balkans – particularly in relation to staff and to internal agency processes.

2. That roughly half the projects demonstrated clear performance improvements in terms of outcomes for agencies’ ultimate beneficiaries (citizens or decision makers).

3. That the most successful interventions were those that were system-wide, with authorities seeking to improve performance across connected institutions.

The study is based, among other things, on a large number of interviews in the Balkans and in Sweden, a questionnaire survey and an extensive review of documentation, including earlier evaluations.