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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

organised by ODI

Working Papers from Overseas Development Institute, London

Reforming the international aid architecture: Options and ways forward

ODI Working Paper 278, Simon Burall and Simon Maxwell with Alina Rocha Menocal

The commitments to double official overseas development assistance by 2010, the rise of new
donors like China, India and Korea, and the explosion of new multilateral funds, combined
with political developments like the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and recent moves to
reform the United Nations (UN) have the potential to radically change the international aid
delivery system. These changes are occurring without overall political or technical direction
because there is no central aid architect to define the direction of change and hence to ensure
that the effectiveness of the aid that is delivered is increased.

At the same time as these developments, various international political groupings including
the G8, G20, the Commonwealth Secretariat and La Francophonie are taking a greater interest
in the reform of the international aid system. More direct government and civil society
engagement in these fora has the potential to build the trust and mutual accountability
required for full implementation of Paris as well as the collective action required for significant
UN reform. This paper sets out some options for reform which could be discussed by these
political groupings and draws up a calendar of events for the next five years as the start of a
process for identifying where and when high-level political engagement will be required to
ensure significant reform of the international aid system.

What’s Next in International Development? Perspectives from the 20% Club and the 0.2% Club

ODI Working Paper 270, Simon Maxwell

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.

Learning from Experience? A Review of Recipient-Government Efforts to Manage Donor Relations and Improve the Quality of Aid

ODI Working Paper 268, Alina Rocha Menocal and Sarah Mulley

Since the late 1990s, a new paradigm of effective aid has emerged, that, at least in principle, is based on the concepts of country ownership, partnership, and mutual accountability. Donors have come to recognise that recipient country ownership is essential to the effectiveness of aid and development efforts. It has become increasingly evident that ownership of specific policy measures or programmes, and good governance in general, can only be achieved if recipient governments begin to take a more proactive role in determining how aid is allocated and managed. Nevertheless, to date there are relatively few examples of recipient governments taking a lead in their relationships with donors. This paper reviews the efforts of five countries seen as relatively successful examples of recipient-led aid policies and donor management. These countries are Afghanistan, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam. On the basis of their experiences, the paper also suggests some general lessons as to the conditions that may enable recipient governments to take the lead in establishing aid policies and managing relations with donors.

Which Way the Future of Aid? Southern Civil Society Perspectives on Current Debates on Reform to the International Aid System

ODI Working Paper 259, Alina Rocha Menocal and Andrew Rogerson

This Working Paper has its origin in the ODI project ‘Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System’. The original draft served as the basis for discussion at a workshop organised by ODI in November 2005, with collaborators from Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as representatives from the donor community and from Northern-based NGOs. Drawing on comments made by Southern CSO representatives involved in the project, the paper aims to provide an analysis of the forces shaping the structure and operations of the international aid system. It examines current (mostly Northern) perceptions of problems inherent in and reforms necessary to the aid architecture, and explores Southern responses to this, focusing particularly on views andproposals from civil society organisations (CSOs) based in the South.

Closing the Sovereignty Gap: an Approach to State-Building

ODI Working Paper 253, Ashraf Ghani, Clare Lockhart and Michael Carnahan

The paper delineates a framework which proposes a set of core functions that a sovereign state must perform in the modern world. This functional delineation provides a framework for the calculation of a sovereignty index, through which the sovereignty gap can be measured in a tractable fashion. Once this more quantitative framework is in place, the progress of or decline in state capabilities to perform each function severally and collectively can be assessed. Moreover, the index would also allow an overall assessment to be made of whether the multiplicity of interventions by the multiplicity of international actors is closing or opening the sovereignty gap. The second section of the paper then outlines some of the constraints that exist in the current international system. Mindful of these constraints, the paper proposes a reorientation of the international community's approaches to fragile states through the introduction of state-building or sovereignty strategies. These would be long-term compacts - entered into by a country's leadership with the international community on the one side and with its citizens on the other - that integrate the current raft of interventions in different domains into a single strategy designed to close the sovereignty gap within each of the core state functions and in the state as a whole.

Spyglass. Spigot. Spoon. Or Spanner. What future for bilateral aid?

ODI Working Paper 250, Simon Maxwell

Bilateral aid has been the mainstay of the development aid industry for a generation - and still is. There are important challenges on the table, however. If bilateral aid agencies are not reviewing their mandate, priorities and competences, they probably should. There are four models they might follow, alone or in combination. And the choices aid agencies make now will shape the aid industry for a generation to come.

The International Aid System 2005-2010: Forces For and Against Change

ODI Working Paper 235, Andrew Rogerson with Adrian Hewitt and David Waldenburg

2004-2005 constitutes a major window for change in the international aid architecture. The United Nations Special Assembly to assess progress on the Millennium Development Goals will take place in 2005. Commissions on global governance, for example the Helsinki Process and the International Taskforce on Global Public Goods, will deliver verdicts. The mandates of the leaders of other key institutions - the EC, the IMF and the World Bank - are also up for renewal in 2004 or early 2005. Meanwhile, aid is still adapting to recent attempts at structural change. The launch of new instruments (for example, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM) and the US Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) or the broaching of others (the International Financing Facility) has had serious implications for the system as a whole. Attitudes to multilateralism and aid in post-conflict environments have shifted profoundly in the wake of 9/11. Implementation of ambitious rhetoric on the volume and quality of aid, and its anchoring in good governance and sovereign choice, has not yet occurred. It is by no means certain that the international aid system, or even a refreshed version of it, will survive this decade unscathed, despite fifty years of broad global presence. This paper traces some of the changes that might take place, forces that might shape such changes, and directions they may take.

European Development Cooperation to 2010

ODI Working Paper 219, Simon Maxwell and Paul Engel with Ralf J. Leiteritz, James Mackie, David Sunderland and Bettina Woll

European development cooperation has undergone significant change since the late 1990s, but a new wave of change is on the horizon. A complex timetable of decisions can be seen stretching through the rest of the decade. The issues range from the relationship between foreign policy and development, through the impact of enlargement and the future of EU-ACP relations, to questions about the role of EU Commissioners and the structure of the Commission. The paper sets out the agenda facing Europe under six different headings, and then introduces a scenario planning exercise. The six themes are: (a) the development landscape to 2010; (b) Europe in the world; (c) trade; (d) development and humanitarian aid; (e) politics and partnership; and (f) the architecture of development cooperation

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