Evaluation report: Human Rights-Based Approach in Finland’s Development Policy and Cooperation

This independent evaluation analysed how human rights and the so-called human rights-based approach (HRBA) has been implemented in Finland’s development policy and cooperation during 2019-2021. The evaluation assessed how human rights appear in the language used in various documents, how effectively the human rights-based approach has been implemented and its value. Lastly, the evaluation assessed its linkages with risk management.

The evaluation recommends reaffirming HRBA as a core principle guiding Finland’s development cooperation. This should be reflected in the human rights outcomes pursued and in the processes that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and its partners put into place.  Fist holding barbed wires

To enhance effectiveness, a broader approach to putting HRBA into practice and monitoring its implementation and results is needed. There is a need for strengthened capacities for human rights assessments, conflict and power analyses and do no harm assessments among partners and the Ministry, linked to systems for closer monitoring.

The Ministry should acknowledge that some partners are likely to remain human rights sensitive, whereas others are steadily improving their capacities to act in human rights progressive and transformative manners. Becoming better within a given level could be an aim. The Ministry should also screen those that may not fulfil the sensitive level more strictly.

The assignment started in the autumn of 2022. It is based on a theory of change developed for the evaluation. The findings are based on a vast document analysis, over 250 interviews, three fo­cus group discussions, and an e-survey among partners. A separate component of the evalua­tion was the use of data science techniques for document analysis.

Context case studies covered long-term partnerships (Tanzania, Mozambique); HRBA in transition contexts (Zambia, Kenya, Vietnam) and HRBA in conflict contexts (Somalia, Kenya, Palestine). Thematic cases on “Innovations and trends towards transformational development cooperation”; “HRBA in partnering with multilaterals”; “HRBA in severe head­winds” and “From cross-cutting objectives to HRBA, les­sons from disability interventions” were completed.

The evaluation report:

Volume 1, 2023:5, ”Main Report” draws together and presents the evaluation findings, conclusions and recommendations. (PDF; 251 pages; 11.1 MB)

Volume 2, 2023:5, ”Case Study Reports” presents the case studies mentioned above. (PDF; 177 pages; 7.8 MB)


Summary of the Evaluation and its Results (PDF; 5 pages; 380 kB)

Presentation of the Evaluation Results: 

PowerPoint presentation on the evaluation results (PDF)

Other material:

Report: Applying Data Science Techniques in the Evaluation of HRBA in Finland's Development Policy and Cooperation 2019-2021 (PDF)

Summary of the Results of the Data Science Analysis (PDF)

PowerPoint presentation on the Data Science results (PDF)


Please contact eva-11@gov.fi if you would like to have the webinar recording.