Two sides of the same coin? Are learning and accountability compatible in aid evaluation?

4 May, 14:00, Medelhavsmuséet, Fredsgatan 2

May 4, 14:00-16:00, Medelhavsmuséet, Fredsgatan 2, Stockholm (registration from 13:30)

Is it possible to undertake evaluations that provide deep insights for learning while at the same time address accountability issues? Is it possibly so that if evaluations from the very outset were focused on either learning or accountability that we would have a rather different sort of evaluations, both in scope and reporting mechanisms?

These are some of the issues that are addressed in the new EBA report Confronting the Contradiction – An exploration into the dual purpose of accountability and learning in aid evaluation. Based upon evaluations of Swedish and Norwegian aid Researchers Hilde Reinertsen, Kristian Bjørkdahl and Desmond McNeill explore to what extent accountability and learning are incompatible goals when undertaking evaluations of aid. Taking the stance that there indeed is a trade-off they also suggest ways in which evaluations may be made more purposeful.

The presentation of the report will provide the basis for a panel discussion on the extent to which accountability and learning are contradictory objectives for aid evaluation, and discuss the feasibility of the authors’ alternative approach to undertaking evaluations.

In addition to one of the authors, the panel will consist of the heads of evaluation at Sida and Norad, Joakim Molander and Per Bastøe, as well as the independent consultant Cecilia Magnusson Ljungman and professor emeritus Evert Vedung. Moderator will be Eva Lithman, member of the EBA.


14:00 Welcome and introduction: Gun-Britt Andersson, vice chair, EBA

14:05 Presentation of the report: Hilde Reinertsen, Kristian Bjørkdahl and Desmond McNeill

14:35 Comments on the report: Joakim Molander, Sida and Per Bastøe, Norad

14:55 Panel discussion moderated by Eva Lithman with Hilde Reinertsen, Joakim Molander, Per Bastøe, Cecilia Magnusson Ljungman and Evert Vedung.

15.55: Concluding remarks Gun-Britt Andersson

16:00 Seminar ends with a chance to continue the discussion for another half an hour over a cup of coffee

Registration: Please register by May 1 at the latest to: or at

Speakers and discussants:

Gun-Britt Andersson, Vice chair, EBA

Hilde Reinertsen, Postdoctoral Fellow, TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo

Kristian Bjørkdahl, Senior Researcher, Uni Research Rokkan Centre, Bergen

Desmond McNeill, Research Director, Centre for Development & Environment (SUM), University of Oslo

Per Bastøe, Director at Norad Evaluation Department

Cecilia Magnusson Ljungman, NIRAS consultant

Joakim Molander, Head of unit for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Sida

Evert Vedung, Emeritus Professor, Uppsala University

Eva Lithman, Member of the EBA