Support to the Association Agreement Programme

The Support to the Implementation of Governance and Management - SIGMA

SIGMA is a joint initiative of OECD and EU, founded in 1992, Worked with 2004 entrants until 2006. Currently works with Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Turkey and the “near candidate” countries Albania, Bosnia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo

In June 2008, the EU allowed some of the Neighbouring Countries notably Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Armenia, Jordan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia to benefit from this tool which focuses on the institutional environment for economic development. Sigma’s experts, are international civil servants in the OECD. Most are on leave from home administrations in EU countries.

For the Neighbouring Countries, the Commission has allocated €5.9m for three years (2008-2010) renewable, to be spent approximately 50/50 between East and South. Although this looks small compared to regular projects, experience has proved that, given the cost construction of Sigma and the flexibility of its allocation process, this can provide significant value added especially on politically sensitive or strategic reforms.



Sigma assists national reform teams by providing expertise of “peer practitioners”, who may be Sigma staff or public servants borrowed short-term from MS administrations. Sigma provides comparative inputs, not single models, through a flexible “just-in-time” service. Sigma also undertakes peer diagnostic studies.



  • Assist countries’ governance reform efforts;
  • Assist countries to draw on other sources of support by helping prepare ToRs etc.
  • Assess countries’ governance systems (contribution to the regular reports).
  • Sigma is also used for special studies and occasional training for Commission staff in the subject areas.



Sigma works on the horizontal systems of government. These systems ensure that government and public administration work coherently in line with government priorities, under the rule of law, with full accountability and respecting such values as professionalism, impartiality, transparency.  


Examples of Sigma work:

Administrative Reform and Civil Service:

Financial Control:

External Audit

Procurement and Concessions:

Policy capacities

Peer Diagnosis


Documents for download :

  • SIGMA - Support to Improvement of Governance and Management (SIGMA) PROJECTS