Weighing Benefits and Risks

Monitoring and Evaluation

The Issue

BAs are a promise or commitment to deliver benefits and establish impact mitigation measures. They help define outcomes for development. With the possible exception of monetary payments, whose occurrence is largely automatic as long as an extractive project operates, the fulfilment of commitments cannot be assumed (O’Faircheallaigh, 2020). From this lens, BAs themselves are a critical tool for monitoring a project’s implementation.

A primary purpose of monitoring is to establish whether implementation has occurred or is occurring as intended. Review is also linked to implementation in that there is a need to assess, given changing circumstances, whether implementation mechanisms that were effective in the early years of project life continue to be effective.

However, review extends beyond the issue of implementation, as it is desirable to consider the appropriateness of the goals established in agreements (and not just their implementation) from time to time. Monitoring is linked to the issue of review in that monitoring may indicate the need to undertake a review (O’Faircheallaigh, 2003, 7-8).


The available research shows, however, that most agreements fall short in meeting expectations at the implementation stage, and many agreements do not contain detailed provisions concerning implementation and monitoring (Loutit, Mandlebaum and Szoke-Burke, 2016, 90; O’Faircheallaigh, 2020).

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