Evaluation of the European Union’s Partnership Instrument

The Partnership Instrument (PI) provides the European Union with a mechanism to promote its foreign policy interests through political cooperation across the globe, particularly with emerging countries and strategic partners. The PI gives the EU speed and flexibility to respond to new and emerging challenges and policy priorities, beyond that afforded by traditional development cooperation programming.

It is important to consistently evaluathow the EU finances this international engagement around the world, so that it achieves maximum impact. 

Our Tetra Tech team evaluated the PI under the mid-term review of all external financing instruments of the EU. This comprehensive review of financing instruments assesses the performance of the EU’s toolbox and its coherence, and draws lessons learned for future decision-making. The evaluation included the first two years of the PI’s existence. 

We then built on this evaluation and established a fit-for-purpose monitoring and reporting system that could be introduced into an existing instrument. Using our expertise in EU foreign policy, we set up a system that reviewed more than 170 individual actions supported by the PI, collecting the required evidence, quality reviewing it and retrofitting it against the monitoring indicators. 

We conducted a large number of individual action evaluations in Brussels and in EU Delegations to Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the USA in particular to gain in-depth understanding of the performance of the PI in different country contexts and policy areas. These evaluations covered topics ranging from resource efficiency to climate change diplomacy, raw materials diplomacy, international trade and public and cultural diplomacy. 

In 2017, our team then developed the first PI database, compiling evidence on the performance of all PI-funded actions to date and we have provided yearly updates to the database since since. At the same time, we are providing technical advice in the design of the monitoring and evaluation tools and identifying capacity building needs. 


Since 2016

European Commission Service for Foreign Policy Instruments


“[We congratulate] the Tetra Tech team for their excellent and dedicated work on this assignment. The experts from Tetra Tech were able to handle a large amount of documentation, run an extensive consultation process to gather additional evidence, work against tight deadlines and to produce deliverables of a very high quality. The work of the team was very cohesive, it has benefitted from a strong leadership and has been highly appreciated.”
European Commission

During the mid-term evaluation of the PI, we identified a number of monitoring, evaluation and reporting challenges, from the introduction of a monitoring system ex post to the lack of a central repository of action documents, and the high risk of inconsistent interpretation of the applied indicators. To address this, we are now helping the PI to set up, implement and further improve an effective monitoring and reporting system.

As part of the technical assistance and capacity building portion of the project, we have drafted a set of user-friendly monitoring, reporting and quality review guidance and templates and provide technical support through an online helpdesk. We are also delivering a comprehensive training programme to PI stakeholders such as project managers and implementing partners – Civil Society Organisations, think tanks, academia, international organisations, EU Member States’ agencies, consultancies – in Brussels and in EU delegations around the world, including Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, and the United States of America. To date, we have delivered 15 general trainings on the monitoring and reporting requirements and more than 200 tailored trainings at individual project level to support project design and the setting up of appropriate monitoring and reporting mechanisms.

This work met with great interest across a range of stakeholders, which resulted in our team presenting the work to key audiences in Brussels, including:

  • A consultation of PI external stakeholders, including think tanks, academia, NGOs and various business representatives
  • A consultation of Member States representatives and European Parliament representatives in the framework of the mid-term review of the EU’s external financing instruments
  • The Partnership Instrument Committee meeting, at the Council of the EU, where we presented to and engaged with representatives of EU member states
  • The 2017 Policy Forum for Development, where we met with third-countries’ representatives in the framework of the consultations on the future of the EU’s external financing instruments.