This should be compliant with the 2030 Agenda, sensitive to its demands, or quite simply transformative. But how can the appraisal team design such a project?

GIZ has a wealth of experience in planning and carrying out projects that have a sustainable impact also in difficult and fragile contexts. Experience has been gained with integrated approaches in many areas of expertise. GIZ projects largely concern change processes. Orientation to our partner’s needs is the defining feature of our conceptual work ... Planning officers and consultants can thus make consistent use of tried and tested approaches and methods.

Thinking and acting systemically

By formulating the SDGs, the international community has unanimously recognised the fact that the development of individual countries and the solution of global problems that affect us all can only be achieved by means of joint and systemic efforts. Positive and negative developments alike are interrelated, and they may influence each other positively or negatively. The interdependence and dependency of the SDGs and the various dimensions of sustainability (integrated approaches principle) must therefore be considered when planning all projects and building all programmes.

Supporting national implementation

The states parties to the 2030 Agenda have furthermore established that the SDGs should be implemented in line with a national strategy that reflects the national context (SDG 17). This means that each project that supports development of the partner country must also relate to the national implementation strategy and to the greatest extent possible to its indicators. Depending on the commission, project planning may also include policy support for devising such a (national or sectoral) strategy (see the measures of the 2030 Agenda initiative in Mexico, Namibia and Georgia).

In cooperation with partners

Obviously, lifestyles and economic practices can only be transformed by means of shared efforts. Appraisals must therefore identify new, cross-sectoral, coordinating partners who represent the population or the relevant (civil-society) concerns and must involve them right from the outset. These partners are also called upon to make their own contributions (principle of joint responsibility).

Context- and conflict-sensitive

There can be no transformation without a willingness to change. However, this is not always a given. Existing power constellations, corruption and criminal structures often counteract efforts to transform society, especially in fragile contexts marked by violence. Possibilities to engage in an open and inclusive dialogue and in non-violent conflict resolution and management are often underdeveloped or undesired. Taking a context- and conflict-sensitive approach is also essential for handling possibly conflicting objectives.

A distinction must be made between a project that is designed to support national implementation of individual SDGs (sectoral/cross-sectoral) and a project that is intended to support national implementation of the 2030 Agenda in general by providing policy advisory services, monitoring or financial advice. A combination of the two is also possible. BMZ’s 2030 Agenda initiative offers good examples (fact sheet).

It should be borne in mind that the global SDGs (as described in the original document of the 2030 Agenda) are located at impact level for most DC modules. The frame of reference for these is the national implementation strategy and its indicators. DC programmes may have a direct impact on the global SDGs and thus make a key contribution to global transformation.

The fact that everything is interconnected and can be most effectively implemented through joint efforts does not mean that there will not also be effective projects in future that focus explicitly on one sector and governmental partners. However, this should be a conscious decision and not merely be based on the technical expertise of the appraisal team in just one field (‘silo mentality’). This conscious decision must be preceded by reflection on the goals, sectors and dimensions that are positively and negatively influenced by the project (module objective, programme objective), and by examining which influences have a positive or negative effect on the objective.

In order for this to succeed, the team involved in the design phase should also be able to plan across sectors or, if possible, be made up of members from different sectors (consultation with the Internal Customer Services Division). 

Key questions for preparing the appraisal

At the end of 2019, planning officers and project staff were able to discuss their experiences with the 2030 Agenda in the appraisal process in practical workshops. Valuable suggestions and answers to many questions can be found in the documentation.

We also find that various questions concerning safeguards + gender have interfaces with Agenda 2030 principles in the preparation and appraisal process. This presentation shows how these could be brought together.

Suggestions for reflection during the appraisal process can be found in the guidelines and working aids on producing the brief assessment and module proposal (latest version can always be found in PuR). These are listed here once more for you to save.

  • What individuals, groups and organisations are relevant at the micro, meso and macro level of the state, civil society, private sector and the academic and research community? What are their needs?
  • What capacities (power, finance, staff, knowledge, capabilities) do they have?
  • What links are there between environmental, economic and social factors?
  • To what extent can the addressing of cross-sectoral themes deliver added value?
  • Which population groups are particularly disadvantaged in terms of access to state services in the individual sector?
  • What potential can be unlocked through collaboration between state, civil society, the private sector and the academic and research community?
  • What potential is there for reciprocal learning and joint action with other countries, especially Germany and other European countries?
  • What (coordination) structures and processes are there for monitoring in accordance with the 2030 Agenda?
  • What frameworks/orienting structures exist for the project? What political priorities guide the actions of the partner country/partner region? Have the goals of the 2030 Agenda (SDGs) been prioritised in the country context?
  • What will the module do in order to achieve development objectives and results on a sustainable basis?
  • Can the project help increase/promote the partner country’s potential for achieving the SDGs? Are national (as opposed to global) 2030 Agenda indicators available for this, and can they be used?
  • Who are the key actors on the macro, meso and micro levels?
  • What mechanisms for interministerial consultation and coordination exist that could be used if required for cross-sectoral implementation of the project?
  • Which dimensions of sustainability (economic, environmental, social) will the project affect either directly or indirectly? What steps will be taken to ensure that negative synergies/trade-offs are avoided and positive synergies are harnessed?
  • Where is cross-sectoral work already under way, or where could such an approach be adopted in order to boost positive results/avoid negative results?
  • What must the project do in order to minimise trade-offs with the potential risks and unintended results? (3 dimensions of sustainability)
  • What positive side-effects (on the three dimensions of sustainability: social, economic or environmental) will the project generate (beyond the scope of its ability to influence these results)?
  • To which of the 17 global SDGs will the project contribute directly or indirectly?
  • What must the project do in order to ensure that the intended results/performance are achieved self-reliantly by the partners in the medium to long term?
  • What existing strengths in the sector (resource orientation) can the project use to ensure that its results are sustainable?
  • What are the risks related to the project: political, with regard to implementation, to long-term mainstreaming, data protection/profiling and corruption?
  • How can the project results be extended to especially disadvantaged groups?
  • What multi-stakeholder partnerships between actors from the realms of the state, civil society, the private sector and the academic and research community are conceivable, and would help achieve the objectives?
  • What forms of cooperation already exist?
  • How are national implementation of the 2030 Agenda – and national accountability for implementation – being realised, and where is there a need for support?
  • What coordination structures exist at the national level for implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda, and how does the project need to integrate them?
  • To what extent can systematic capacity development be mainstreamed within the module to strengthen accountability (e.g. strengthening of partner M&E systems and/or building stakeholder capacity for demanding accountability)?


Questions related to 2030 Agenda taken from working aids for brief assesments and appraisals (German)

Content related to 2030 Agenda and the Joint Procedural Reform (GVR) taken from the BMZ guidelines (German)


Take advantage of the possibility of offering options to the commissioning party/client (especially BMZ) in which specific aspects (principles) of the 2030 Agenda are given more or less emphasis. For example, different partners and different target group focuses can be offered. The internal explanations on quality control (German) also point to such considerations.

The evaluation questions in the new central project evaluations have already been adjusted to the 2030 Agenda.

When designing a project, it helps to consult the questions that projects should be able to answer at the time of the evaluation.

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