Skip to content

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

Country Study, prepared for Southern Perspectives on the Reform of the International Development Architecture - Vietnam

By Nguyen Thi Thu Hang

This study shows the important role that aid has played in supporting Vietnam’s impressive growth and poverty reduction; but that its importance is decreasing relative to other sources of development finance such as FDI and remittances. It describes the Government of Vietnam’s strong ownership of the development process, examines the roles of key multilateral and bilateral donor institutions, and makes recommendations on reform that will further strengthen ownership. The paper was produced for the Southern Perspectives research project

Click here to read the full paper

The Role of IMF in Policy Making in Bangladesh

Source: Unnayan Onneshan

Unnayan Onneshan organized a round table discussion on “The Role of IMF in Policy Making in Bangladesh” at CIRDAP auditorium on 20th October, 2007. Md. Iqbal Ahmed presented a paper on the issue. Ahmed showed the effect of IMF policies with empirical data and ended with questioning its role. Mr Ahmed argued that when Bangladesh needed an investment friendly environment to generate employment and output to eradicate poverty, the IMF advised the government to tightly manage demand and offered policy advice which was contradictory, which has destabilised the economy with low investment, low capital formation, low output and low employment thus leading to staglation. At the same time the IMF's advice to cut public spending has further marginalised the poor.

click here to see the full presentation

Technical Assistance and Capacity Development in an Aid-dependent Economy: the Experience of Cambodia

Source: Cambodia Development Research Institute

Cambodia is aid-dependent: the scale of aid is of such magnitude that it distorts the economy in two important ways. First, a high proportion of Cambodia’s best-educated people either work for donor agencies or international non-government organisations (NGOs) or have been assigned to donors’ projects as counterparts. This raises the price of educated labour and hinders the development of skill-intensive production and exports. Second, donors and NGOs have virtually taken over the funding of education, health care, social welfare, rural development etc., while government spends most of its funds on defence and security. In addition, donor funding eases pressure on government both to increase collection of revenue and to raise the salaries of government employees because so many top- and mid-level officials receive salary supplements as project counterparts.

To what extent can external technical assistance develop the capacity of counterparts, whether in government or in local NGOs, in an aid-dependent economy of this kind? In 1998 and 1999, CDRI undertook extensive research to answer this question. As well as analysing data from the Cambodian Rehabilitation and Development Board, CDRI researchers undertook wide-ranging interviews with senior officials in government and donor agencies, and with past and present technical advisers and counterparts. The research also included case studies of the School of Agriculture Prek Leap (SAPL), the National Institute of Management (NIM), the National Institute of Statistics (NIS), and of HIV/AIDS and malaria programmes (in particular, those in Battambang province).

Cambodia’s experience since 1993 suggests that, although some positive results have been achieved in the development of individual capacity, most projects in such a situation are donor-driven in their identification, design and implementation, to the detriment of institutional capacity development. Connected with this is the chronic under-funding of government in such an economy, which hinders implementation of projects and threatens post-project financial sustainability. Most former counterparts have either left government or are only part-time government employees. They still benefit the economy, but it is presumably not the main intention of technical assistance to prepare government officers for non-government work. Unless donors develop a coherent strategy (rather than competitive, project-related salary supplementation) to deal with this situation, the record of TA in developing the capacity of government will continue to be disappointing, and an escape from aid dependence will be postponed.

The basis for discussions between government and donors about a code of conduct for technical assistance is suggested, including: the replacement of project-related salary supplementation by a sector-wide salary fund; two-way transparency; implementation through intermediary organisations; government ownership of projects; guidelines for the use of technical advisers by government departments; re-examination of the concept of Project Implementation Units; a rule that no external projects should by-pass government structures; and a definition of the role of government, as a facilitator, prudential regulator and coordinator of technical assistance, rather than detailed controller. Such a code would be seen as a first step towards developing a Sector Wide Approach to technical assistance in Cambodia."

World Bank officials shy away from participation

Source: Focus on the Global South

The four day Independent Peoples Tribunal (IPT) on the World Bank in India concluded on September 25th hearing numerous depositions indicting the Bank's policy and project interventions in India. While the World Bank India office did engage with the IPT and claimed they would make a deposition to respond to some of the evidence against the Bank,they failed to show up despite provision of adequate space and time by the organisers.

In its preliminary findings, the IPT observed the Bank had an undue and disturbingly negative influence in shaping India's national policies disproportionate to its contribution, financial or otherwise. While India is the world's largest single cumulative recipient of World Bank assistance, with lending totaling about $60 billion (Rs. 2,40,000 crores) since 1944, current annual borrowing amounts to less than 1% of the country's GDP ( In 2005, India's annual borrowing from the World Bank for new projects was 0.45% of GDP)

The loans however has been used as leverage to bring about important policy changes and impose conditionalities in areas such as governance reform, health, education, electricity, water and environment- many of these with obvious political and social consequences. The loans also legitimize substantial additional funding from a diversity of bilateral and multilateral donors such as the Asian Development Bank and Department for International Development (DFID-UK). The Bank's loans have caused extensive social and environmental harm from mass displacement in the Narmada valley to loss of livelihoods of traditional fishworkers in places such as Barwani.

Click here to read the full article

Integrated Relief and Recover after the 2006 Flood in Surat City

Source: Disaster Mitigation Institute

The City of Surat in Gujarat exemplifies the development disaster nexus. An industrial city located on the bank of a
river, with large working class population inhabiting slums, signifies complex vulnerabilities to risk from natural hazards - in this case flooding. Over time, the physical aspects of vulnerability of the city have increased with the growth of its industries. Mega development projects elsewhere, as the release of water from the Ukai dam in the State of Maharashtra showed, add to this. Industrial cities invite labour migration. These individuals often live in poor, marginal, and socially and economically insecure conditions.

The 2006 flood is a demonstration of the inability of a vulnerable city and its population to withstand or protect themselves from flood hazards. The recent flood in Surat also demonstrates the continuity of the dominant approach to deal with disasters. A serious lack of preparedness and prevention measures by the authorities was evident. Surat experiences frequent annual flooding and had a similar flood disaster in 1998, which suggested similar same causes and effects. However, lessons of these incidences have not guided the disaster management authorities, the city administration or the citizens to be better prepared. Similar to other similar crisis situations, relief and recovery agencies are at work in Surat. It is time to question to what extent we are able to look beyond the emergency and pitch the recovery with a long-term vision. Where can the levels of risk and vulnerabilities be reduced? Where can the capacities of the administration and the population be built towards better preparedness and prevention, not only from seasonal floods, but also from more severe incidents such as the 2006 flood? Civil society, including non-governmental organisations, is making substantial efforts to demonstrate more sustainable preparedness-focused approaches to long-term recovery from early stages. However, the efforts of the NGOs face the challenge of reaching the required scales. The bigger actors, in particular the government agencies, need to take the best of such initiatives to adopt a preparedness and risk reduction approach towards recovery. When this happens, the impact of the subsequent flood
events will be significantly less.

Click here to read the full report

World Bank attempt to privatise Mumbai’s water runs aground: Citizens reject report

Source: Focus on the Global South

On 3rd June, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) held a stakeholders meeting in which the New Zealand based consultant group Castalia (hired by the World Bank and the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility) to conduct a study in the K-east ward of Mumbai, presented their findings and recommendations after a year-long study, for the Water Distribution Improvement Programme (WDIP). The meeting was attended by the MCGM Labour Union, K-east ward residents, activists, experts in water management and a few elected representatives. Shyamal Sarkar of the World Bank (WB) and Bhavna Bhatia of the PPIAF were special invitees. The presence of the citizens, labour unions and activists proved disastrous for Castalia and the World Bank. Both organisations were exposed for presenting a report based on inflated data in order to push through water privatisation.

Click here to read the full report.

Make a Difference in Sustainable Agricultural Development (MAD in SAD) Capacity Enhancement Programme

Source: Responsenet

Seeing the criticality of the roles of Sustainable Agriculture in addressing livelihood issues and inclusive economic growth, Responsenet brings together individuals and organisations working in the area of research, Policy formulation, Capacity building of farmers, Outreach Programmes, farmer rights , Media Agencies, Corporate, government bodies and Communities on a single platform and share collectively, views and ideas to enable the creation of sustainable collaboration of various stakeholders through

Venue: New Delhi, India

Training Dates: 14th July to 15th July 2007

Duration: 2 Days

Click click here for more details

Revisiting Foreign Aid: An Independent Review of Bangladesh's Development (IRBD) 2003

Source: Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh

The chapters in the thematic part of the Independent Review of Bangladesh’s Development (IRBD) 2003 captures a wide spectrum of issues related to foreign aid situation in Bangladesh which includes political economy of foreign aid, macroeconomic dimensions of foreign aid, role of aid in public investment, utilization of foreign aid, impact of foreign aid, aid and poverty alleviation, and aid and NGOs. The key findings from the chapters are presented below.

Dwelling upon the issue of changing importance of aid in Bangladesh, it was argued that Bangladesh is now evolving from an aid to a trade dependent economy. The fact of growing regional export concentration during the 1990s in the markets of the EU and the USA, with a single product, namely the readymade garments, is now playing a more important role in defining Bangladesh’s foreign policy than its need for aid. In contrast, during the 1980s Bangladesh’s foreign policy was targeted to ensure an uninterrupted flow of foreign aid. Today, Bangladesh’s aid dependence is focused on the international and regional financial institutions. Only a few bilaterals, such as Japan, are largely delinked from Bangladesh’s trade relations whilst remaining an important source of FDI. In contrast, the EU, which is Bangladesh’s principal trading partner, lets its individual members develop their own bilateral aid relation with Bangladesh, whilst their role as an individual aid donor is much less significant.

As a whole the analysis of the issues in the IRBD2003 will provide valuable food for thoughts to all stakeholders in Bangladesh, and will continue to serve as an important reference for policymakers, parliamentarians, DPs, researchers and students, both on the state of the Bangladesh economy and in promoting constructive dialogue on the aid relationship.

Click here to read the full summary

Evaluation of the Second Industrial Energy Efficiency and Environment Improvement Project in the People’s Republic of Chi

Source: The Development Gateway

The industry sector is the largest energy user in the People’s Republic of China. This project was a continuation of Asian Development Bank's efforts in the country to promote sustainable improvements in energy efficiency in the most energy-intensive industrial subsectors with substantial environmental benefits. The Project was rated successful.

Click here to read the full report.

Asian Development Bank: Evaluation of the Industrial Energy Efficiency Project in India

Source: The Development Gateway

Investments in energy efficiency improvements in India had not been as much as expected. This Project sought to address this by providing energy efficiency financing through a financial intermediary equipped with developed capabilities for such activities. The Project was rated partly successful in promoting energy efficiency in the energy-intensive industries in India.

Click here to read the full report

next page
last page

Log In or Join

Resource Categories

Size of tags indicates the number of resources
Absorption Accountability Africa Aid Architecture Aid Architecture Aid effectiveness Aid linkages Aid modalities Aid organisations All regions Asia Pacific Bilateral Donors Budget Support By Region Capacity Development Conditionality Corruption CSOs Debt Relief Domestic Resource Mobilisation Donor Coordination Mechanisms Economic Growth Education Effects of aid Emergencies Environment Europe Food Aid Gender Good Humanitarian Donorship Governance Harmonisation & Alignment Health Hot Topics Humanitarian Aid Quality Institutions Latest trends Latin America and Caribbean Macro impacts/Dutch Disease MDGs Middle East Multilateral and International (governmental) Organisations National Policy Frameworks/PRSs Natural Disasters NGOs Ownership Productive Sectors Public Expenditure Management/Budget Sector Programme based approaches Technical Assistance Trade Vertical Programmes/Global Initiatives Workshops

Recent Forum Posts

  • The Paris Declaration is Gender Blind
  • The urgent need for transparency and accountability
  • Your Support is needed in Egypt
  • Independent People's Tribunal on the World Bank Group
  • South and the future of the world

Suggest a Resource

If you would like to suggest a resource for the Forum on the Future of Aid, please email