Aid and Development Effectiveness

In order to enhance the effectiveness of development cooperation, different approaches, which differ substantially in focus, are evolved. This research project will deal with the following topics: Aid Architecture, Partner Systems and Capacity Development, Results Orientation in the Development Effectiveness Agenda and Results and Impact Monitoring on the Country Level.

Project Lead:
Stephan Klingebiel

Project Team:
Sarah Holzapfel
Heiner Janus
Niels Keijzer

Time frame:
2012 - 2014 / completed

Project description

The achievement of sustainable development results is a core concern of development co-operation. One of the core principles of the Paris/Accra and Busan agenda for more effective aid is the alignment with partner countries’ strategies and programmes and the use of partner systems for the implementation of aid projects. Closely linked to this is a re-orientation of aid away from inputs and toward results and impacts of co-operation.
In spite of this strategic re-orientation of aid towards partner programmes and results, which comes along with a broad range of instruments and aid modalities designed to back up this results orientation, development co-operation often continues to focus on inputs. Donors and partner countries often find it difficult to concretely demonstrate development results. The reasons for this are often a lack of adequate capacities for planning, monitoring and evaluation, weak incentives at the level of programme formulation and intervention design, and the still insufficient harmonisation and coordination in an increasingly complex international co-operation arena.

In addition to challenges for the international aid architecture which emerge as a result of new actors and donors, for example, recent years have seen an intensified discussion in the aid community concerning new instruments and approaches for ensuring a greater impact of aid via a stronger partner orientation and a new focus on results.
New aid approaches such as Programme-Based Approaches and Results-Based Approaches build on ‘Result Frameworks’ which are set up between the partner country and one or more donors and constitute the basis for planning, monitoring and evaluation. Depending on the intervention level, these frameworks may incorporate core macro indicators for development results at a national level or specific indicators for individual sectors or sub-sectors. More and more, they not only serve the management and monitoring purposes of individual interventions but also form the basis of the general development policy dialogue. The significance of these frameworks for the attainment of results was also underscored at the 4th High-Level Forum on aid effectiveness in Busan.

The debates on how to reform development co-operation take place in a dynamically evolving context which is stamped, among other things, by new forms of international co-operation (South-South co-operation, new private donors, etc.) and a new anchoring of the (previously mostly OECD dominated) aid & development effectiveness agenda in a new, global aid architecture.
All of this raises a number of questions and challenges which call for solid research-based evidence.

This research project will take up the following topics and issues:

1. Aid Architecture
a) How can the cross-cutting debate on aid and development effectiveness be meaningfully anchored in future in the global arena? What significance do other global processes have in this context, and what interrelationships emerge (e.g. Post-MDGs; South-South co-operation)?
b) How are new public and private donors to be brought into the discussion processes?
c) What would new forms of a division of labour look like on the international level and within partner countries? How could challenges (e.g. aid orphans, donor fragmentation) best be met within this context? At the same time, how can the fragmentation of aid approaches be better overcome through further steps in harmonisation (e.g. joint programming)?

2. Partner Systems and Capacity Development
a) What needs and options for Capacity Development can be identified regarding the use and strengthening of national systems in the context of development co-operation?
b) How can the basic principle of using partner countries' own systems be better implemented? What requirements arise from this for Capacity Development?
c) How can the comparative strengths of German development co-operation in the area of Capacity Development be put to use with better coordination and more partner-orientation?

3. Results Orientation in the Development Effectiveness Agenda
a) To what extent can both standard and key indicators be used and (further) developed for monitoring and measuring effectiveness in German development co-operation?
b) How can the management and political oversight of bilateral aid be improved on the basis of such key indicators?
c) How can results orientation and needs-based aid be meaningfully reconciled with one another? Does results orientation and selectivity result in "Aid Orphans" (countries/regions, sectors)? How should donors deal with this possible trade-off?
d) Incentive systems: What effective incentives exist for good policies and how can these be employed to best effect? How can adverse incentives be recognised and avoided in the context of Results-based Approaches (RBAs)? How can incentive systems be put to better use it other aid approaches as well?
e) How can RBA experiences be used to further the Development Effectiveness agenda (follow up to the Busan HLF etc.)? How are these to be evaluated in comparison to other aid interventions and in particular to Programme-based Approaches?

4. Results and Impact Monitoring on the Country Level
a) On what level can / should indicators be selected in order to ensure sustainable results?
b) How can joint result frameworks of the partner countries and donors strengthen the partners’ own monitoring systems?
c) On what result level (output / outcome) should these frameworks focus in order to best serve the management and monitoring of interventions and/or to provide a basis for the development of policy dialogues?
d) How can the principles of alignment and results orientation be effectively reconciled? How are they to be reconciled with and what is the role of key indicators?
e) What capacities are required on the part of both donors and partners in order to permit an effective monitoring of results and rigorous impact evaluations?
f) How can the impact of innovative aid approaches be adequately assessed?

Project Coordination

Benjamin Heil