The Common Provisions Regulation (article 55) specifies that Member States must conduct a series of evaluations at national level. In order to be effective, it is essential that the gender perspective is fully integrated in each evaluation, and not limited to purely assessing the specific measures in favour of gender equality.
Ex ante evaluations
Ex ante evaluations are commissioned by Member States and submitted to the European Commission at the same time as the Operational Programmes. Their aim is to improve the quality of the design of programmes and cover a variety of elements including internal coherence, the consistency of budgetary allocations and the relevance of proposed project indicators.
In particular, as regards gender equality, the Regulation (article 47) specifies that the ex-ante evaluation must appraise “the adequacy of planned measures to promote equal opportunities between men and women and to prevent discrimination”
To carry out a successful ex ante evaluation, the selected evaluators must therefore possess the requisite gender competences and skills, for example, the evaluators need to know the difference between the principles of gender equality and non-discrimination as well as have experience of conducting evaluations from a gender perspective.
Ongoing evaluations must be carried out throughout Operational Programme implementation by Member States. They include evaluations to assess effectiveness, efficiency and impact for each Operational Programme on the basis of the evaluation plan. At least once during the programming period, an evaluation shall assess how support from the Funds has contributed to the objectives for each priority. All evaluations are examined by the Monitoring Committee.
In order to comply with Regulation requirements on the promotion of gender equality (article 7), Member States must ensure that gender equality is fully integrated into these evaluations.
The Regulation also specifies that “Member States must ensure that appropriate evaluation capacity is available” which means, as far as the gender equality requirements are concerned, that evaluators must have the necessary competences to ensure that the gender perspective is implemented throughout the evaluation. Sufficient gender expertise is also necessary in the Monitoring Committee in order to ensure that the evaluations are properly examined from a gender perspective.
Ex post evaluations
Ex post evaluations must be carried out either by the European Commission or by the Member States, in close cooperation. Ex post evaluations examine the effectiveness and efficiency of the ESI Funds and their contribution to the Union strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in accordance with specific requirements for the specific Fund considered.
As for the ongoing programme evaluations, it is essential that evaluators have in-depth understanding and awareness of gender equality, and that the gender perspective is integrated throughout the evaluation. The effectiveness of specific gender actions should be examined in detail, together with the overall contribution of all the programme activities to the objectives of gender equality.