Results management approaches can play useful roles in making democracy assistance projects more effective and enhancing their impact.

Robust and relevant approaches to planning, implementation and monitoring of projects, and feeding back learning, have proved useful for achieving and assessing results in democracy assistance.

During the last two decades the policy and practice of results management has leaned towards emphasizing control and upward accountability. In recent years, however, a small but growing body of policymakers and practitioners in democracy assistance have initiated innovative efforts in results management, allowing for more learning and local ownership. Some of these initiatives use sense-making sessions to transform individual learning into institutional learning; most are open to adapt implementation to changing (political) contexts and place ownership firmly with partners to safeguard their space for learning.

This Discussion Paper argues that results management practice in democracy assistance work needs to be done differently to get at the main goal: making democracy assistance more relevant and effective and enabling larger impact. The arguments made in the paper come from a series of conversations that took place among democracy assistance practitioners between 2014 and 2016. They reflect engagement with emerging debates and signs of shifting policies and practices in development cooperation more generally.  A short Policy Brief is also available.


Publication date
30 December 2016
Helena Bjuremalm, William Sjöstedt
Number of pages






Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. Past and current debates on results management in international development cooperation

3. The state of results management and the nature of democracy assistance

4. Emerging innovative practices in results management and evaluation of democracy assistance

5. Conclusions and recommendations

Policy and practice recommendations


About the authors

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Flexibility, learning and ownership: new trends in democracy assistance, results management and evaluation

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