Page tree

Glossary - ICM



Action = Decision

Content (or part of the content) of a Commission Financing Decision (or global financial commitment - level 1), constituting the basic administrative unit for Authorising Officers by Sub-Delegation (AOSD) responsibility in the context of EU international cooperation. It assimilates to project or programme in generic contexts.
By administrative requirement, all actions are detailed in an Action Document.


Actions taken or work performed through which inputs, such as funds, technical assistance and other types of resources, are mobilised to produce specific outputs. (OECD, 2022)


Assumptions are external necessary and positive conditions – not under intervention management or EU control – that must hold in order for the result chain to be valid. They should be formulated based on the context analysis and the risk assessment (INTPA)

A set of (untested) factors and beliefs that form the basis of the intervention logic, and factors or risks, which affect its relevance, progress or success. Assumptions are the conditions necessary for the cause-and-effect relationships between the different levels of results (i.e. to move from activities to outputs, outputs to outcomes, and outcomes to impacts).  (OECD, 2022)

Baseline study

An analysis describing the situation prior to a development intervention, against which progress can be assessed or comparisons made. (OECD)


The conditions existing prior to an intervention or at the beginning of the period, against which changes can be measured, monitored and evaluated. (OECD, 2022)


The individuals, groups, or organisations, whether targeted or not, that benefit, directly or indirectly, from the intervention (OECD)

People or groups that derive advantage from a strategy, policy, instrument, modality, intervention or set of interventions. Beneficiaries can be direct (those who benefit at first hand and in the short term) or indirect/final (those who benefit from an evalaund’s outcome or impact in the long term at the society or sector level. Targeted beneficiaries are those whose action or change in behaviour is sought through a particular strategy, policy, instrument, modality, intervention or set of interventions and thus are directly affected by it. (INTPA)


The strategic use of a limited contribution to mobilise financing from partner financial institutions and the private sector to enhance the development impact of investment projects. (INTPA, 2019)

Commission Financing Decision

A generic term covering the various types of documents that express (a) the College's exercise of its implementing powers (mode décisionnel) and (b) its responsibility for budget implementation (mode ordonnateur). In the context of external action, it can take various forms such as an Action Programme, Complementary Financing Decision, Assistance Measure, Annual Work Programme.

Conflict sensitivity

Conflict sensitivity is about applying the Do No Harm principle in all contexts, while understanding the complexities, risks and opportunities in a given context, and how interactions between the intervention and the context might have the potential to worsen conflict and conflict risks, exacerbate tensions and divisions and increase fragility. This understanding should inform accordingly  the intervention cycle and possible adaptation and mitigation measures, while seeking to maximise positive impacts on conflict prevention and peace.


The setting in which an intervention or an evaluation takes place and which is likely to influence performance and results. These include capacities and social, economic, political, environmental, conflict, inclusiveness, cultural, and institutional conditions. (OECD, 2022)

Data Collection Methods

Methods used to identify information sources and collect information. Examples include informal and formal surveys, direct and participatory observations, community interviews, focus groups, expert opinions, case studies, and literature search (OECD)

(also: Participatory tools)

Data sources

The location where information originates. Data sources should be relevant, trustworthy, attainable and regularly available.

Direct Outputs

In Budget Support: improved relations between external support and national budget and policy. (Budget Support Guidelines, 2017)


Intended or unintended changes due directly or indirectly to an intervention.  (OECD 2022)

EU added value

EU added value. The additional benefits created by the EU’s (versus Member States) having carried out an action in a partner country. It directly stems from the principle of subsidiarity as defined in Article 5(3) of the Treaty on European Union. One of the seven criteria used in evaluation by the EC.

European Union values

According to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the European Union (EU) is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the EU Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. Article 49 TEU makes the commitment to promoting these values a condition for any European country applying to join the EU and a prerequisite for upholding all rights and obligations deriving from the treaties and from international law.


The systematic and objective assessment of a planned, ongoing or completed intervention, its design, implementation and results. The aim is to determine relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. Evaluation also refers to the process of determining the worth or significance of an intervention.  An evaluation should provide information that is credible and useful, enabling the incorporation of lessons learned into decision-making processes.
Note: Evaluation in some instances involves the definition of appropriate standards and criteria, the examination of performance against those standards, an assessment of actual and expected results and the identification of relevant lessons and recommendations. Though evaluation deals with the assessment of relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability, not all evaluations will cover all of these criteria to the same degree or at all. (OECD, 2022)


The higher-order objective to which an intervention is intended to contribute. Note: An example is the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  (OECD, 2022)

Human rights based approach

Integration of all human rights principles (whether civil and political, economic, social and cultural) in the implementation of development cooperation, in order to:

  • assist partner countries in implementing their international human rights obligations;
  • to support right-holders in claiming their rights (with a specific focus on poor and vulnerable groups).

    The rights-based approach goes beyond the formally recognised human rights to include a broader category of rights, such as intellectual property, and basic economic and social delivery rights as well as sexual and reproductive health rights.


Impact tends to be the long-term change the action contributes to (at country, regional, sector level in terms of benefit to the population) (INTPA Companion 2022)

The extent to which the intervention has generated or is expected to generate significant positive or negative, intended or unintended, higher-level effects. 
Note: Impact addresses the ultimate significance and potentially transformative effects of the intervention. It seeks to identify social, environmental and economic effects of the intervention that are longer term or broader in scope than those already captured under the effectiveness criterion. Beyond the immediate results, impact seeks to capture the indirect, secondary and potential consequences of the intervention. It does so by examining the holistic and enduring changes in systems or norms, and potential effects on people’s well-being, human rights, gender equality, and the environment.
Related terms: relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability (OECD, 2022)


In Budget Support: Sustainable and inclusive growth, poverty reduction. (Budget Support Guidelines, 2017) 

The higher-level effects of an intervention’s outcomes. The ultimate effects or longer-term changes resulting from the intervention. Such impacts can include intended and unintended, positive or negative higher-level effects.
Note: Impacts is used here in the plural in reference to its meaning as a type or level of result, as distinct from the impact criterion. “Impacts” and “results” are sometimes used interchangeably, which creates confusion; impacts should be used to refer to higher-level results.  (OECD, 2022)

Implementing partner

Entity contracted directly (direct management) or delegated (indirect management) by INTPA to carry out interventions and for the actual execution of development activities.
INTPA remains accountable for the use of the EU funds and steers, monitors, controls and evaluates the execution by implementing partners.

Indicative Programming Document

A generic term used in the basic acts for all the documents that set the framework for EU assistance in a given country, region or thematic area for a multiannual period, as defined in the different Instruments, such as Multiannual Indicative Programmes (Development Cooperation Instrument), National Indicative Programmes (European Development Fund), Indicative Strategy Papers (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance) and Single Support Frameworks (European Neighbourhood Instrument).

Induced Outputs

Strengthened public policies, public sector institutions, public spending, public service delivery. (Budget Support Guidelines, 2017)


The financial, human, material (in-kind), and institutional (including technological and information) resources used for the intervention.

In Budget Support: Financial Transfer; Policy Dialogue; Disbursement conditions; Capacity Development (Budget Support Guidelines, 2017)


Quantitative or qualitative factor or variable of interest, related to the intervention and its results, or to the context in which an intervention takes place. (OECD, 2022)


(Also generally called project/programme): the operational entity associated to a coherent set of activities and results structured in a logical framework aiming at delivering development change or progress. Interventions are the most effective (hence optimal) entities for the operational follow-up by the Commission of its external development operations. As such, Interventions constitute the base unit for managing operational implementations, assessing performance, monitoring, evaluation, internal and external communication, reporting and aggregation. (INTPA, 2021)

The intentional activity or effort that is being evaluated (also called the evaluand or object of the monitoring or evaluation). (OECD, 2022)

Institutional development impact

The extent to which an intervention improves or weakens the ability of a country or region to make more efficient, equitable, and sustainable use of its human, financial, and natural resources, for example through: (a) better definition, stability, transparency, enforceability and predictability of institutional arrangements, 
or (b) better alignment of the mission and capacity of an organisation with its mandate, which derives from these institutional arrangements. Such impacts can include intended and unintended effects of an action. (OECD, 2022)

Intervention Logic

The way an intervention is expected to achieve its desired results, including underlying assumptions about the causality and interaction between the intervention, its inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts, in the context of the intervention (OECD, 2022)

Joint Programming

Joint programming (JP) occurs when the EU and its Member States agree to adopt a common multi-annual programming document for their support to a partner country. Joint programming shall be the preferred approach for country programming, according to the NDICI-Global Europe regulation. (INTPA Companion, 2022)

Knowledge Management

The process or approach through which institutions capture, distribute, retain and effectively use knowledge to achieve their goals (OECD)

Lesson learned

Generalisation or extrapolation of findings and translation of analysis into relevant knowledge that supports decision making, improves performance and promotes the achievement of better results in other settings (beyond the intervention being evaluated). Frequently, lessons highlight strengths or weaknesses in the 
preparation, design, and implementation of interventions that affect performance and results. A lesson may be positive, neutral or negative (OECD, 2022).

Logical framework approach

Systematic process to build the intervention logic, making it explicit and using analytical and planning tools that improve its design and allow for its relevant, feasible and effective outcome-focused management.

By combining analytical and planning tools, the logical framework approach creates an intervention logic supported by three interdependent pillars:

• results chain (inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, impact);

• evidence-based assumptions (operational, behavioural, political);

• monitoring system (indicators, baselines, targets, sources of verification).

Logframe (Logical Framework Matrix)

Management tool used to improve the design of interventions, most often at the project level. It involves identifying strategic elements (inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, impacts) and their causal relationships, as well as indicators, and the assumptions or risks that may influence success and failure. It facilitates planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of an intervention (OECD, 2022)

MainstreamingThe process of systematically integrating a selected value/idea/theme into all domains of EU development cooperation to promote specific (transposing ideas, influencing policies) as well as general development outcomes (European Commission). Mainstreaming involves an iterative process of change in the culture and practices of institutions. Successful mainstreaming in EU development cooperation results in systematic integration of a value/idea/theme throughout the intervention cycle in order to balance environmental, economic and social objectives and contribute to sustainable development.


A continuing function that uses systematic collection of data on specified indicators to provide management and the main stakeholders of an ongoing development intervention with indications of the extent of progress and achievement of objectives and progress in the use of allocated funds.

Operational manager

The staff member in charge of designing the action. Generally, the operational manager is the operational initiator; in some cases the operational verifying agent acts as operational manager. (INTPA Companion, 2022)


New integrated management system that substitutes and incorporates all pre-existing INTPA information technology systems for the management of the entire EU external cooperation portfolio throughout the intervention cycle, from programming to evaluation and audit. OPSYS has been designed to facilitate the following tasks: design, monitor, management and reporting. 


A short to medium-term change in the behaviour of the target groups and/or effects on the political, social, economic and/or environmental areas targeted by EU action – the action will contribute to change at this level (it is under its influence but not direct control).  (INTPA Companion, 2022)

In Budget Support: positive response by beneficiaries - service users and economic actors - to government policy management and service. (Budget Support Guidelines, 2017)


Direct deliverables or benefits of activities - under the direct control of the action. (INTPA Companion, 2022)

The products, capital goods and services that result from an intervention. Outputs may also include changes resulting from the intervention that contribute to the achievement of outcomes. Outputs include changes in knowledge, skills, or abilities produced by the activities. (OECD, 2022)

Performance framework

Tool for institutional or reporting used to collect and measure results achieved against strategic objectives. In this context, the monitoring systems are the mechanisms aimed at measuring progress on results and to feed the performance framework through periodic reporting exercises.

Pillar assessment

Assessment of implementing organisations' rules and procedures (grouped in pillars), a pre-requisite for these organisations to work in indirect management.
Under the 2018 Financial Regulation, Contribution Agreements (Pillar Assessed Grant or Delegation Agreements - PAGoDA2) are signed with pillar-assessed organisations; management mode will differ depending on the existence of a call for proposals (indirect) or not (indirect).

Political dialogue

Refers to all EU external policies, be they development, neighbourhood or enlargement, foreign and security, or migration policies, in line with the Lisbon Treaty and other legal bases.
It takes place in a formal setting, on a regular basis and following a specific format, under European External Action Service leadership.

Policy dialogue

Refers to the specific sectors of INTPA cooperation and supports partner country efforts to achieve the objectives laid down in their strategies, while conveying EU policy objectives.
Managing interventions is often the entry point for policy dialogue, which should take place all along an intervention's life cycle in formal or informal settings, through different platforms and at different levels.

Primary intervention

Primary Interventions (PINITVs) are those contracts or groups of contracts bearing reportable results and respecting the following business rule: ‘a given contract can only contribute to one primary intervention and not more than one’. 


Temporary set of coordinated activities to create a unique output within certain constraints such as time, cost, and quality. This generic term is often replaced in INTPA context by 'intervention'.
Also previously used to refer to any implementing modality that is not budget support.


Temporary organisational set-up to manage a set of projects with a common goal and to obtain results and control not obtainable from managing them individually.
A programme may also include elements of related work outside the scope of its constituting discrete projects.
This is generic term replaced in DEVCO context by 'intervention'.


  • Adaptability of states, societies, communities and individuals to political, economic, environmental, demographic or societal pressures, to sustain progress towards national development goals;
  • Capacity of a state in the face of significant pressures to build, maintain or restore its core functions, and basic social and political cohesion, in a manner that ensures respect for democracy, rule of law, human and fundamental rights (including gender) and fosters inclusive long-term security and progress;
  • Capacity of societies, communities and individuals to manage opportunities and risks in a stable manner, and to build, maintain or restore livelihoods in the face of major pressures.


The outputs, outcomes or impacts (intended or unintended, positive or negative) of an intervention (OECD, 2022).

Results chain

The causal sequence of an intervention that stipulates the different stages leading to the achievement of the desired objectives. In general, the results chain starts with inputs, which then link to activities and outputs, and culminate in outcomes, and impacts. In some cases, reach is included as part of the results chain. (OECD, 2022)


Any uncertain event or set of events which if realised will negatively affect the achievement of the objectives and expected results set out in an intervention logframe. Lost opportunities are also considered to be risks. (EC, 2005)

Risk management

A continuous, proactive and systematic process of identifying, assessing, and supervising risks in line with the accepted risk levels, carried out at every level of the Commission to provide reasonable assurance as regards the achievement of the objectives.
The five steps of a risk management process are (a) identification of objectives and outputs, (b) risk identification and assessment, (c) selection of risk response, (d) implementation of risk response and (e) monitoring and reporting. (EC, 2018)


Agencies, organisations, groups or individuals who have a direct or indirect interest in the intervention or its monitoring and evaluation. (OECD, 2022)

Support entity

An individual contract or a group of contracts that do not produce direct reportable results and are not logically grouped with other result reportable contracts. (OPSYS)

Target group

The specific individuals, communities or organisations that the intervention is intended to reach (OECD, 2022)


An objective, usually quantitative, defined as a value on an established indicator. The target is generally set at the beginning of an intervention and is expected to be achieved by a specific point in time with available resources. (OECD, 2022)

Team Europe Initiatives - TEI

Team Europe Initiatives (TEIs) are initiatives targeting one or several policy priorities where the members of Team Europe see the potential to support transformational impact by working more closely together. TEIs can be designed at country, multi-country/regional level and occasionally at thematic and global level, following the principle of subsidiarity. (INTPA Companion, 2022)

  • No labels