The SDC uses evaluations to assess projects, programmes and strategies and to take stock of institutional issues. Evaluations foster learning, support objective management decision-making and ensure accountability to policymakers and the general public.

Evaluations take account of the relevance and effectiveness of SDC programmes and assess the intervention's impact on the living conditions of the affected population group, the efficiency of the intervention in terms of the resources deployed and sustainability of impact after the SDC's assistance ends.

The initial approach determines the extent to which an intervention can be subsequently evaluated. The SDC therefore defines its objectives, evaluation criteria and means of assessment at an early stage in the planning of projects and programmes. It also makes continual improvements to its methods for monitoring and evaluating the results.

The evaluations carried out by the Evaluation and Controlling (E&C) Section are based on international criteria set by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The SDC also complies with the guidelines and standards of the Swiss Evaluation Society (SEVAL).