For those of you interested in the past, present, and future of international aid and development, this blog post will provide you with an introduction to frameworks and partnerships that have evolved over the past few decades. It will also highlight an organization that caught my interest when I stumbled upon its “Aid in Danger: the Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism” series.
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is an independent think tank located in the United Kingdom (UK). For more than fifty years, the institute’s main focus has been on informing policy and practice that result in poverty reduction and sustainability in international development as well as humanitarian efforts. ODI hosted its 2016 Center for Aide and Public Expenditure (CAPE) conference from October 18th-19th, with the goal of updating the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation’s development effectiveness agenda to reflect a new context that has emerged over the past 10 years. This context involves additional evidence that has been gathered on development effectiveness implementation, a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), positive changes in donor-recipient relationships, and an increased number of finance providers. Although developing countries now have a broader selection of finance providers to assist them, including actors in the private sector, these new players may not be familiar with the Monterrey Consensus or High Level Fora on Aid Effectiveness that were developed to cast vision and establish commitment to development co-operation and improvements in the quality of aid delivery. As a result, if these new finance providers do not adhere to or are not aware of key discussions that have taken place to improve overall aid and development initiatives, then it makes it difficult to evaluate their impact.
The Organisation for Economic Co-opertation and Development works with key players such as governments and multilateral organizations to “improve the quality of development co-operation.” Despite international development effectiveness and co-operation partnerships being greatly shaped by the High Level Fora on Aid Effectiveness, time and budget constraints, unattainable goals, and mixed political motivations have prevented lasting change from taking place. More specifically, traditional development effectiveness principles have been based on the Paris Declaration of Aid Effectiveness and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development. The common set of principles previously defined as having contributed to improved quality of aid was reinforced by the Busan Partnership, which went a step further and developed the following action points for implementation:
- Use results frameworks designed with the needs of the partner country in mind as a common tool, and using country-led coordination arrangements.
- Untie aid to the maximum extent possible and – in 2012 – review plans to achieve this.
- Use country public financial management systems as the default option for development financing, and support the strengthening of these systems where necessary.
- Strengthen transparency and approve a common standard for the electronic publication of data on development co-operation, to be fully implemented by 2015
- In 2012, establish common principles to prevent the proliferation of multilateral organisation and global programmes and funds, also in 2012 establish common principles to tackle the issue of countries that receive insufficient assistance (aid orphans).
- By 2013, provide recipient countries with regular, timely, indicative three-to-five-year forward expenditure plans.
- Increase support given to parliaments and local governments in carrying out their functions. Foster an environment for civil society organisations as independent development actors.
More recently, ODI research has shown that developing countries are more likely to pick and choose which effectiveness principles to implement and that there are priorities outside of effectiveness principles that also influence countries.
Overall, the conference focused on two main questions:
1) How does the private sector play a role in development and is it effective?
2) What is the role of external support as the SDGs focus on development for all people everywhere and policies that “leave no one behind?”
Stay tuned for more….