Photo: Nicolay Paus

This evaluation addressed the experiences of Norwegian support to the protection of cultural heritage in developing countries. Norwegian support started in the 1980s, but the current study focused on the period 2000 - 2008. The main emphasis was on institution- and capacity building for the preservation and protection of cultural heritage, with particular regard for UNESCO’s Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972). In this period, Norway supported 60 cultural heritage projects (most ly in Africa and Asia) with a budget contribution of close to NOK 275 million. 59% were spent in Africa.

Support to culture, cultural heritage and arts has been part of Norway's development cooperation for many years. Several Norwegian institutions have been involved in this work, which has been guided by different strategies. 

The evaluation was commissioned to obtain an understanding of the results of the Norwegian support to the protection of cultural heritage. The emphasis of the study was on assessing relevance, efficiency, results (effectiveness) an sustainability. The evaluation also provides recommendations regarding the future cooperation in this sector.

The evaluation report gives an overview of the support from 2000 to 2008, with a closer look at three countries - Ethiopia, Malawi and Nepal. The report shows that 60 cultural heritage projects were supported during this period, most of them in Africa or Asia, with a budget of close to 275 million Norwegian kroner. Sixty per cent of the funds were given to multilateral projects (through United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation - UNESCO).

The evaluation lays emphasis on economic perspectives related to the protection of cultural heritage ("culture economy"). Among the conclusions, the team underlines the importance of institution building and the need to support and build on local resources. The report calls for a look at the current balance between bilateral and multilateral support. It recommends to involve additional professional resources in Norway in the future.


The methodological design of the study was  based on a focus on cultural heritage as a set of resources for social, cultural and economic development. Selected projects were analysed to show how the goals and objectives of the project were related to the Norwegian policy framework, how interventions were designed on the basis of a theory of the relationship between intervention inputs and the resulting chain of outputs, outcomes and impacts (programme theory or intervention logic).


The evaluation identifyed success criteria for cultural heritage protection projects:

  • Local involvement and local ownership is a precondition for a successful project
  • Successful projects should be based on local definitions and local perceptions of cultural heritage
  • Successful projects require broad partnerships of different kinds of knowledge and expertise
  • The research and education sector should be recognised as a central stakeholder in capacity building and sectoral development projects for cultural heritage