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Guidelines for Country Strategic Frameworks, Programmes and Projects

Guidelines for Country Strategic Frameworks, Programmes & Projects

With effect from November 2020, the bilateral guidelines have undergone a major revision to address the introduction of Doing Development Differently (DDD) into Danish development cooperation as well as to reflect organisational changes in the Ministry.

Link to: Guidelines for Country Strategic Frameworks, Programmes and Projects (PDF), November 2020

The main changes are:

Introduction of Doing Development Differently (DDD):

The purpose is to strengthen the relevance and effectiveness of Danish development cooperation for long-term sustainable results through reinforcing a holistic approach and introducing an adaptive approach, where warranted.

Clarification of Official Development Assistance (ODA):

More attention to ensure that intended funding fulfils the criteria for ODA, which is concessional funding to promote economic development and welfare of developing countries. It is different from global public goods and from SDGs outside developing countries.

Preparation of Country Strategic Frameworks (CSF):

Country Strategic Frameworks replaces country policy papers. The aim is policy coherence regarding a given priority country through a single integrated presentation of Denmark’s entire engagement and strategic direction in a country.

Abolition of country programmes, including their thematic programmes and development engagements as well as concept notes:

The purpose is to make the preparatory work lighter through shorter documents.

Introduction of Bilateral Development Programme (BDP) in priority countries:

Under the CSF, a BDP consists of a number of projects each contributing to one or more of the strategic objectives of the CSF together with other types of interventions outside the BDP.

Task forces are recommended for wider use to enhance learning across the Ministry:

Task forces are mandatory for CSF/BDP, but can also be established for larger stand-alone programmes and projects, if deemed relevant and justifiable in cost-benefit terms.

Identification of stand-alone projects and programmes outside the CSF/BDP:

The identification phase is strengthened with more emphasis on preparatory analytical work and lessons learnt and documented by a two-page identification note.

Quality assurance and Approval of BDP:

The process for appraisal of the projects making up the BDP is conducted in two stages: pre-appraisal and appraisal. Subsequently, individual projects are submitted to the State Secretary for Development Policy for approval.

Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL):

The MFAs MEAL system builds on its long-term M&E work with partners with more attention to accountability and learning, underpinning adaptation for better results and providing feedback for the operational level.

Reintroduction of the Annual Portfolio Performance Report (APPR) and introduction of an Annual Concern Report:

To strengthen internal accountability, the Annual Portfolio Performance Report (APPR) is re-introduced and an annual report is prepared to provide Senior Management and the Council for Development Policy with information about the global results of Danish development cooperation.


The rules for adjusting projects and programmes during implementation are simplified. The head of unit can approve most changes with the notable exception of changes in objectives, where only the minister can approve.


The rules for reallocations are also simplified. The responsible MFA unit can approve reallocations between projects in a programme up to fifteen (15) percent of the total budget. Reallocations within projects follow the general rules outlined in the Guidelines for Financial Management.

Unallocated funds:

The rules have been simplified. Unallocated funds can reach 25% of the total budget of all programmes above DKK 39 million, including the BDP.

Annual stocktaking review of programmes above DKK 39 million, including BDPs.

Annual stocktaking reviews are internal and lean exercises assessing progress and strategic developments, lessons learnt, challenges, new entry points and possible adjustments as well as the continued relevance of the Theory of Change.  For BDP, the review results are presented to the Council for Development Policy for information.

New tools: Fragility Risk and Resilience Analysis Tool and Adaptive Management Guidance Note

To assist the work, two new tools have prepared. They can be found on “Tools” at the AMG site.

For further information and enquiries, please contact Department for Evaluation, Learning and Quality (ELK) [email protected]


Standard Annexes (under construction)


Country Strategic Framework (CSF)

Projects and Programmes – Identification

Formulation, Quality Assurance and Approval


Completion and Closure


For further information and enquiries, please contact Department for Evaluation, Learning and Quality (ELK) [email protected]