What’s next in international development?
Results and Value-for-Money: from Results 1.0 to Results 2.0
Focusing on the results of aid is a political and operational imperative. However, a narrow interpretation of results can over-simplify, and misdirect resources. Better is an approach which is country-led, recognises the need to invest in institutions, and looks at the programmatic impact of all national and donor contributions taken together. This is Results 2.0.
for the full article please see the special issue of NORRAG news on results and value for money.
Focus on global development
Two eminent scholars foresee a stronger, but changing role for development ministries in the future. Hans Dembowski discussed the matter with Simon Maxwell of the Overseas Development Institute in London and Dirk Messner of the German Development Institute in Bonn.
What kind of shape is DFID in?
An upbeat and optimistic speech by the Secretary of State, Andrew Mitchell, plus the appointment of a popular insider, Mark Lowcock, as Permanent Secretary - two events which will have boosted DFID. Certainly, there was a positive buzz at the Mitchell speech, the day before Lowcock’s appointment was announced – among NGOs in the audience, but also among senior civil servants.
The reviews are finished. Should DFID now publish a White Paper?
DFID has now published the Bilateral Aid Review (the BAR), the Multilateral Aid Review (the MAR) and the Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (the HERR), the three reviews announced last year by Andrew Mitchell. I have commented in some detail on all three, first the BAR and the MAR, most recently the HERR (to which I contributed). If I understand correctly, the results of the BAR and the MAR have been announced as Government policy, under the rubric ‘Changing Lives, delivering results: our plans to help the world’s poorest people.’ The HERR, on the other hand, is an independent review, and will be opened to consultation. I learned today at the launch that Andrew Mitchell hopes to issue a Government response to the recommendation in the week beginning 9 May, or thereabouts.
Looking behind the headlines of DFID’s bilateral and multilateral aid reviews
Fewer countries to receive support. Aid to India frozen. No more funding for UNIDO or ILO. FAO in special measures. These are some of the headlines of the newly-published DFID bilateral and multilateral aid reviews, published together under the banner of ‘Changing Lives, Delivering Results’. More headlines are in the pipeline: the humanitarian review led by Lord Ashdown is still to be published. I am involved in that (unpaid), and am sure it will be interesting.
Kapuscinski Lectures - (video) 26 November, Malta, Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies
Simon gave a lecture on European development cooperation to the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies on 26 November 2009. The event was part of the "Kapuscinski Lectures" initiative of the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme. Experts from around the world delivered lectures on development and development cooperation at universities in 12 new European Union countries. The series is named “Kapuscinski Lectures” ,after Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish reporter and writer who covered developing countries.
Kapuscinski Lectures - (video) 15 October, Hungary, Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Simon gave a lecture on European development cooperation to the Budapest University of Technology and Economics on 15 October 2009. The event was part of the "Kapuscinski Lectures" initiative of the European Commission and the United Nations Development Programme. Experts from around the world delivered lectures on development and development cooperation at universities in 12 new European Union countries. The series is named “Kapuscinski Lectures” ,after Ryszard Kapuscinski, a Polish reporter and writer who covered developing countries.
From Crisis Management to Long-term Prosperity: the Role of the Commonwealth
From Crisis Management to Long-term Prosperity: the Role of the Commonwealth, paper and presentation prepared for the Commonwealth Secretariat
As the recession caused by the global financial crisis slowly comes to an end – at very different speeds in different Commonwealth settings – countries will be left differently equipped to handle the next wave of challenges appearing over the horizon. Some will emerge from recession or slowdown with unemployment and other social indicators returning rapidly to normal, and with macro-economic indicators in a healthy state. Others will have suffered irreversible damage to social or human capital and may find themselves with large domestic and foreign debt, large balance of payments deficits, and weakened currencies. Two companion papers trace the impact of the crisis and identify some key short-term policy responses which will be necessary to sustain recovery. The group of most vulnerable countries is likely to include the poorer Commonwealth countries, as well as smaller states. In the worst cases, and for the poorest countries, achievement of the Millennium Development Goals will have been put seriously at risk. The recession will be seen to have had long-term consequences for nutrition, health, education and welfare in the Commonwealth.
Where next for development studies? Coverage, capacity, communications
Where next for development studies? Coverage, capacity, communications - J. Int. Dev. 21, 787-791 (2009)
Three challenges face development studies and development studies institutions - the three C's. The first C is coverage: making sure that the sector has sufficient coverage of new topics. The second C is capacities: recognising that growth in the number and strength of developing country institutions requires developed country institutions to re-think their role. The third C is communications: using new technology to deliver policy messages faster and more effectively. With the geographical scope of the development studies industry also changing, as more countries reach middle income status, change management becomes a high priority................. (see link in title for full article)
Manifesto for a new world
Manifesto for a new world, paper for Fundacion Sistema, 2009
The financial crisis has caused a great deal of heart-searching about whether current approaches to international development will be adequate to achieve the Millennium Development Goals – and about whether public support for aid can be sustained. These are indeed challenging times, which require a new narrative on international development and also significant changes to the way aid is organised and spent. The financial crisis is only one driver, however. There are other challenges: the impact of China on the global economy; international security; and the growing importance of global and regional public goods, including climate. A new approach to international development must start with values and work from there................. (see link in title for full article)
Global development: Barack Obama’s agenda
Global development: Barack Obama’s agenda, Open Democracy, Jan. 2009
The new United States president inherits major challenges of climate change, poverty, global governance and aid policy reform. The responsibility to help meet them is on development professionals too, says Simon Maxwell.
The inspiring and moving oratory of Barack Obama has become a prominent part of the soundtrack of political life in the world as well as the United States during his long march to the presidency. Now, after his inauguration, the real business starts................. (see link in title for full article)
Can we move from a risk framework to an opportunities framework in international development?
In thinking about the future of international development, under the rubric of our ‘What’s Next?’ theme, I’ve found it very useful to make use of risk management frameworks, like the global risks analysis pioneered by the World Economic Forum. An example of what they do is pasted in below, taken from the Global Risks 2008 Report. This charts 26 core global risks by likelihood and by severity of economic loss. An asset price collapse is in the top right-hand corner, seen as reasonably likely and very expensive. Extreme inland flooding is in the bottom left hand corner, seen as rather unlikely and somewhat less expensive. The Report was published in January 2008. I don’t know whether the WEF tracks the accuracy of its analysis, but this year has been marked by both an asset price collapse and severe inland flooding, both very expensive in money terms and in human misery. It is worth looking at some of the other risks in the table: pandemics, nanotechnology, transnational crime, war. Not all bad things have happened at the same time. Yet..............
Where next for DfID? A public debate is needed on the forthcoming PSA and budget settlement
In the heart of Whitehall, negotiations are currently underway on two matters that will shape the Government’s actions on international development until 2011. Surprisingly, there is little public debate about either. Yet there should be. Aid volumes are increasing sharply. At the same time, the development agenda is changing very fast, in some ways extending or moving beyond the poverty reduction paradigm that has dominated for the past decade. This challenges the Government as a whole to be clear about its objectives, and particularly challenges DFID. Will the Department fulfil its mandate as the lead agency across government on all aspects of international development? Or will it find itself concentrating its efforts on spending the additional aid volume, in some ways reverting to the mission of the old ODA?................. (see link in title for full article)
A master-class in bridging research and policy
I approached The Bottom Billion with trepidation, but do you know what – I loved it. I was wary because I’m not naturally sympathetic to the kind of heavy-duty econometrics which is Paul Collier’s stock-in-trade, especially when the results depend on the use of unexpected transformations or recondite instrumental variables. Let’s be honest: it doesn’t help that I can’t do that kind of work and don’t usually understand it. However, I have always recognised that Paul has an extraordinary ability to apply sophisticated technique to answering high-level common-sense questions about the world, and that he then uses his results to tell stories that, In Diane Stone’s phrase, ‘capture the political imagination’................. (see link in title for full article)
Ten steps to a new development agenda
This is a time of transition in politics and policy. What contribution can ODI make? We are always careful not to be party political and not be tarred as advocates or campaigners. Nor do we have an institutional view which might constrain researchers. ODI’s reputation rests on its ability to privilege high-quality research, and use evidence to inform policy debates.
Nevertheless, it is incumbent on us to be useful. How can we help new leaders in the UK, France, the World Bank, the United Nations, and elsewhere? As we reported last year, and in a continuing series of public events, we have been debating ‘What’s Next in International Development?’ Good question. What’s the answer?................ (see link in title for full article)
Where are the political divides on international development?
Where are the political divides on international development?, ODI Blog, June 2007
With Gordon Brown about to take office, ODI asked representatives of the three main political parties in the UK to speak on the theme ‘What’s Next in International Development?’. These three speeches tell us something about the issues that will shape political debate in the months to come..............
The global development agenda in 2007
The global development agenda in 2007, Open Democracy, December 2006
The challenges of poverty, aid, trade, politics and human security will make 2007 a tough year, says Simon Maxwell of the Overseas Development Institute.
2007 will be a difficult year in international development, for five reasons.
First, there will be many reminders that poverty remains ubiquitous, that conflict destroys lives and livelihoods, and that environmental pressures are increasing. Though Africa will continue to grow, in aggregate faster than developed countries, it will become clear just how big a share of this is the result of high prices for oil and other commodities - and how little the poor benefit from enclave-based growth. The "resource curse" will be much discussed. Conflict will continue to plague the Horn of Africa, with Somalia adding to the woes of Darfur. 2007 will see more than its fair share of natural calamities................. (see link in title for full article)
The Future of Development Partnerships in Asia: Mapping the Agenda to 2015
The Future of Development Partnerships in Asia: Mapping the Agenda to 2015, Development Policy Review, Volume 24, Supplement 1, August 2006, with Mark Robinson
This article reviews the scope of current partnerships between Asia and its development partners in aid and other areas, ranging across infrastructure, finance, trade, the environment, the private sector, poverty and social exclusion, and governance. It then turns to the key choices facing the partners, concerning: aid and aid partnerships; a new regionalism in and with Asia; strengthening multilateralism; facilitating business partnerships; and civil society partnerships. It concludes with questions about how to drive and monitor the relationship in the future, and ten propositions about future partnership................. (see link in title for full article)
What’s next in international development?
The question ‘what’s next?’ has two answers — one expected, the other less so. The first is prominent in a set of aid-dependent countries that was the focus of much attention in 2005. Call these the ‘20% club’, in which aid accounts for around 20% of GDP. The other answer is relevant to those countries, but stands out more clearly in the ‘0.2% club’, in which aid amounts to only a small share of GDP. The club designations are indicative. However, 20% is the average aid/ GNP figure for sub-Saharan Africa and 0.2% is the ratio for India................. (see link in title for full article)
What’s Next in International Development? Perspectives from the 20% Club and the 0.2% Club
Summary: The ‘20% Club’ and the ‘0.2% Club’ offer different perspectives on the development agenda, with different though overlapping priorities. The ‘20% Club’ consists of countries which derive around 20% of GDP from aid. These countries will be major beneficiaries of the commitment in 2005 to double aid. Their agenda will cover such topics as absorptive capacity, political development and the use of aid to achieve both growth and human development. They will want to hold donors to account for delivery against commitments and will have a strong interest in streamlining the aid architecture. The ‘0.2% Club’ consists of countries in which aid plays a much smaller role. Here, the issues are more to do with managing the changing challenges of globalization, with regional and inter-regional collaboration, and with linkages to non-aid development issues like security and the management of the global commons. Countries in this Club are becoming aid donors themselves, and are looking for new kinds of partnership with developed countries. These different agendas are closely related, of course. In both areas, they challenge aid agencies to rethink their roles and their competencies. They also challenge development researchers to work on new issues and in new ways................. (see link in title for full article)
Where next? Setting the agenda for partnership to 2015
Where next? Setting the agenda for partnership to 2015, ODI Background Paper, March 2006 with M Robinson
Can partnerships be improved within Asia and between Asia and its development partners? Following what principles? In what areas? And in what specific ways? This paper recognises the breadth and scope of current partnerships: these are not just about aid. It illustrates the breadth of partnerships in various domains: infrastructure, finance, trade, the environment, the private sector, poverty and social exclusion, service delivery and governance. It then turns to the key choices facing Asia and its partners. These have to do with: (a) aid and aid partnerships; (b) a new regionalism in and with Asia; (c) strengthening multilateralism; (d) facilitating business partnerships; (e) civil society partnerships; and (f) driving and monitoring the relationship. The paper concludes with questions about how to drive and monitor the relationship in the future...................
Debt is a Red Herring: It's Really About Aid and Trade!
Debt is a Red Herring: It's Really About Aid and Trade!, ODI Blog, June 2005
The debt deal announced by the G7 finance ministers is definitely a success, and reflects well on the political leadership provided by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as well as a skilful and powerful campaign by NGOs. That being said, I found myself at the weekend pondering six points.
First, it's worth remembering that taking on debt is in itself a good thing, if the money is well used and if the borrower can afford the repayments. The IDA, the soft loan window of the World Bank, has just benefited from a 30% replenishment to enable it to lend to poor countries, and Gordon Brown is busy campaigning for the International Finance Facility, which involves the UK government borrowing money to finance aid. It's important not to demonise debt. By the way, about 40% of IDA's resources come from countries repaying past loans, some of them countries like China and Korea that have used earlier loans to graduate to middle income status..................
The Washington Consensus is Dead! Long Live the Meta-Narrative!
The Washington Consensus is Dead! Long Live the Meta-Narrative, ODI Working Paper 243, Jan 2005
Also published as The Washington Consensus is Dead! Long Live the (European) Meta-Narrative!, in Nord-Sud aktuell, volume 15, number 4, 2004
The Washington Consensus has been replaced by a new and improved orthodoxy, called here the ‘meta-narrative’. It emphasises the Millennium Development Goals ( MDGs) as an over-arching framework, and lays out the link between the MDGs, nationally owned poverty reduction strategies, macro-economic policy (including trade), effective public expenditure management, and harmonised aid in support of good governance and good policies. It also recognises the concern for security and poorly performing countries, as well as the international trade and finance agenda. The current meta-narrative can be improved, by paying more attention to rights, equity and social justice, to the problems of ‘infant economies’, and to issues of aid policy and aid architecture. There are implications for policy and for research................. (see link in title for full article)
Linking Relief and Development
The volume explores why the idea of 'linking relief and development' has become popular, but also why implementation is slow. It reviews frameworks of analysis, and identifies (a) development interventions that reduce the frequency, intensity and impact of shocks, (b) relief measures that reinforce development and (c) approaches to rehabilitation. It then analyses five underlying issues: the question of 'horses for courses'; institutions, politics and planning; state versus civil society; costs and trade-offs; and the special case of complex political emergencies accompanied by war. The paper concludes that there are some circumstances where efforts to link relief and development are not justified; but that in many other cases, the approach makes sense. The main constraints encountered are institutional and political, but there is room for manoeuvre and practical suggestions are made.