Aid Effectiveness

The adoption of the MDGs saw donor countries renewing their commitment to continue to financially support developing countries in achieving the inherent objectives. However, in the advent of aid fatigue, whereby developing countries have had little to show as impacts of development aid and assistance over the years, donors were also determined to see that, under the MDG dispensation, financial assistance would yield the desired fruits. This brought about deeper discussions on aid effectiveness, as more and more meetings that focused on this followed, with the hypothesis that since development results mean sustained improvement in the lives of people in developing countries, measurement of results will be based on more children educated, fewer infants dying and more families lifted out of poverty. This became the theme of the series of meetings that were held in favour of aid effectiveness in the following sequence:

  •  At the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey, Mexico (2002), it was agreed that it would be important to provide more financing for development – but more money alone was not enough. Donors and partner countries alike wanted to know that aid would be used as effectively as possible and making a difference[1]. This called for the need to measure results throughout the development process, and demonstrate that results were achieved and so was, the beginning of the discussions on the concept of Managing for Development Results (MfDR) through aid effectiveness.
  • In the same year the World Bank convened an International Roundtable on Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing for Results (2002)[2], at which development practitioners grappled with concepts, approaches, and practical issues related to getting development results.
  •  The Second International Roundtable on Managing for Development Results, in Marrakech, Morocco (2004), saw more than 60 representatives of partner countries meeting with representatives of bilateral and multilateral development agencies to discuss the challenges of managing for development results (MfDR). Participants endorsed a set of core principles on how best to support partner countries’ efforts to manage for results, and agreed on a costed and time-bound action plan for improving national and international statistics – without which baselines cannot be established and progress cannot be measured.
  • In 2005, 60 partner countries and 60 donor agencies endorsed the Paris Declaration[3], at  the Paris High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (2005), committing to specific action to further country ownership, harmonization, alignment, managing for development results, and mutual accountability for the use of aid.
  • 2007 hosted the Third Roundtable on Managing for Development Results in Hanoi, Vietnam,  and focused on country-to-country learning. Representatives from 45 countries, 32 development agencies, and 30 civil society and private sector partners shared experiences and charted a course for continuing efforts.
  •  In 2008, the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness took place in Accra with the participation of about 1.700 participants, including more than 100 ministries and heads of agencies from developing and donor countries, emerging economies, UN and multilateral institutions, global funds, foundations, and 80 civil society organizations. The high-level engagement at Accra helped bring about the Accra Agenda for Action[4] which expressed the international community’s commitment to further increase aid effectiveness. At this same Forum,  the 4th Roundtable on Managing for Development Results, produced five sets of principles, which were adopted by the international community as fundamental to effective Management for Development Results as follows[5]:
  • Focusing the dialogue on results at all phases of the development process;
  • Aligning programming, monitoring, and evaluation with results;
  • Keeping measurement and reporting simple;
  • Managing for, not by, results; and
  • Using results information for learning and decision making.

While the following were set as priority areas for action:

  • Strengthening Country Capacity to Manage for Results. The quest for development results begins with developing countries, which must manage their development processes to achieve the outcomes they want. They need to define the results they want to attain, while working in partnership with development agencies, civil society, and other stakeholders-design policies and programs to achieve those results. Countries need information on which to base this work, and statistical capacity and monitoring and evaluation systems to generate the information. The role of development agencies is to support developing countries in strengthening their capacity to manage for development results.
  • Improving the Relevance and Effectiveness of Aid. For most development agencies, managing for development results means going beyond their traditional focus on input delivery and output quality to focus on the achievement of outcomes-that is, a more explicit consideration of the contribution that an agency makes to country results. To this end, agencies are introducing results frameworks into their cooperation strategies and programs, shifting their internal incentives to focus on sustainable country results, and developing reporting systems on results.
  • Fostering a Global Partnership. Some of the greatest challenges in managing for development results can be best addressed through a global partnership-for example, a global effort is needed to support countries in generating reliable and timely data to assess progress on the Millennium Development Goals and other country goals; to strengthen international reporting mechanisms; and reduce the burden on countries of multiple, agency-driven reporting requirements and monitoring and evaluation systems. Through partnership, the international community can make it easier for developing countries to manage for results.

These areas of action formed the basis of the activities of development and donor agencies  to date. For developing countries, especially Africa, the need to make governments and donor spending achieve the desired development results became more of an urgency because of the discrepancy that has perpetually existed between development spending and visible results. To this end, Communities of Practice (CoP) on Managing for Development Results were developed in Africa, Latin-America and the Caribbean, and Asia and Pacific with the aim to reinforce capacity to manage for development results through sharing experiences and peer learning. They provide a forum to exchange solutions to increase evidence-based decision and policy making for effective delivery of development results. Each of them is supported through specific mechanisms and develops different activities. The African Development Bank in collaboration with the Africa Capacity Development Foundation has been fully involved in the running of the Africa Community of Practice since its creation.

 

[1] See the Monterey Consensus at: http://hdrnet.org/530/1/MonterreyConsensus.pdf
[2] See: http://www.managingfordevelopmentresults.org/1stRoundtable.html for further details
[3] See: http://www.mfdr.org/sourcebook/2-1Paris.pdf for the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
[4]See:http://siteresources.worldbank.org/ACCRAEXT/Resources/4700790-1217425866038/AAA-4-SEPTEMBER-FINAL-16h00.pdf
[5] See  http://www.oecd.org/dac/effectiveness/42168725.pdf for the Final Report of the Round Table 4 of the Accra High Leven Forum.