Impact evaluation of the program
Impact evaluation of the program
The second part of the evaluation of the program ended with the final report being handed in to the Monitoring Authority in May 2020. It delivered valuable pieces of information as for the progress of the program toward its objectives and particular projects. We selected for you some of the most striking outcomes.
Where do we stand?
No better way to start an evaluation than with stocktaking the projects implemented in the program 8 specific objectives. On the time-line, most advanced projects are to be found in P4 Better institutional cooperation, i.e. in SO41 Networks and SO42 Education, followed by P1 Competitiveness of SMEs. Projects supported as part of P2 Environment and resource efficiency and P3 Sustainable transport are less advanced, except SO32 Sustainable mobility.
How projects are geographically distributed? This question is hard to answer since projects results are diverse and geographically spread. However, based on project partners’ location, we could observe that most active regions are Vienna, Eisenstadt, Sopron, Győr and Szombathely.
Who uses the funding of the programme and how?
Partners involved in our AT-HU projects are above all local and regional governments and NGOs. Most of the projects address specific gaps with identified needs; more rarely aim at policy developments. According to the survey carried out, 55% of Austrian and 47% of Hungarian project partners defined the quality of cross-border cooperation as very good and are mostly satisfied with their achievements, stressing the common understanding of the topic as the most important success factor.
Keep the focus!
One key finding of the evaluation is when looking at how projects -and thus the programme- progress towards their targets is that the more focused and tailored they are to regional specificities, the better. P2 and projects dedicated to risk prevention/management and environmental protection in particular not only confirm the high demand for funding in such fields and the crucial availability of a relevant legal framework and catalysts for change - e.g. Austrian-Hungarian water commission, national parks - but also tend to better reach their targets thanks to geographically and thematically targeted approaches. P4, also more prone to large-scale initiatives with a risk of lower efficiency, still stands out with intangible results especially when focusing on cultural-markers like language skills among youngsters, i.e. fostering cultural understanding and contacts among key players at the grassroots level and the local population.
What to take on board? The new programming period 2021-2027 induces many challenges. Evaluators for instance pointed out the difficulty to capture valuable outcomes of cross-border projects through indicators, such as an enhanced cooperation atmosphere or an increase of cultural understanding, although these are at the very core of Interreg. Future Interreg programs will also give simplified procedures, thematic concentration with strongly integrated horizontal topics and sustainable development as top priority. As for projects and measures expected, what can be said is that capitalization on existing knowledge, networks, actors, as well as legal and strategic frameworks –or their set up first!-, i.e. more holistic and coordinated approaches will gain prominence, just like project visibility and results’ durability. Real partner’s involvement through internal staff and increased intervention in regions more in need will also be even more valued. Shortly said: less follow-up measures and more innovative, tailored, long-lasting and grassroots solutions are our new horizon!