A framework for assessing the effectiveness of environmental programmes – the case of LIP and Klimp

2013 EEEN Forum

Magnus Larsson

Complexity is arguably the shared quality of environmental evaluation that stands out among the rest (Mickwitz & Birnbaum 2009). These complexities span over a large amount of topics and issues such as impacts over time and space and dealing with two-system evaluands (human and natural systems). Since environmental issues in general are littered with these complex issues the great challenge for environmental evaluations is to be able to make credible and valid assertion of impacts and effects while still accounting for these inherent complexities. The task of adjoining these two issues becomes perhaps even more challenging in large programmes where multiple evaluations are performed. This paper considers this challenge as it explores evaluations conducted on two Swedish environmental programmes; the Local investment programme (LIP) and the Climate investment programme (Klimp). The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework for assessing the effectiveness of environmental programmes and apply it on LIP and Klimp. In total, 16 evaluations of LIP and 6 evaluations of Klimp make up the empirical part of the paper. More specifically, this paper focuses on (1) what effects has been measured and (2) what these measurements suggests about the programmes (un)successfulness. This is achieved by developing a framework, which assesses LIP and Klimp evaluations, grounded in issues that accompany environmental evaluations. The framework draws on Rowe’s (2012) understanding of environmental evaluations as a two-system evaluation.┬áThat is, environmental evaluations are necessarily a human as well as a natural endeavour. Human systems and natural systems involve different properties and are governed by different circumstances and are therefore treated separately in this framework. Temporal and spatial effects are in this approach not assumed to be identical for human and natural systems. Rather the inherent properties of each system suggest that effects in human systems may differ significantly from natural system effects.


  1. Birnbaum, M. and Mickwitz, P. (2009), Editors’ notes. New Directions for Evaluation, 2009, 122: 1-8.
  2. Rowe, A. (2012) “Evaluation of natural resource intervention.” American Journal of Sociology, 2012, 33(3): 384-394.


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