Changing Approaches to Technical Assistance

Technical assistance and technical cooperation have a long history in development aid and have often been criticised as being supply-driven, expensive, poorly planned and integrated, and failing to promote country ownership. Despite criticisms, these activities continue to play an important role: the OECD estimates that technical assistance makes up about one-quarter of global ...» more

Demand Driven Technical Assistance

The most common demand-driven technical assistance (TA) mechanism discussed in the literature is the Capacity Building Grant (CBG) or Capacity Building Fund (CBF) - a form of discretionary budget support which gives local authorities the flexibility to determine, finance, and manage training and technical assistance according to their needs. This assistance has thus far ...» more

Intangible Heritage and Post-Disaster Protection

Key findings: The protection of intangible cultural heritage has increased in prominence in recent years. Natural disasters and man-made disasters have destroyed and threatened much tangible and intangible cultural heritage (e.g. building typologies and skills, handicraft traditions, communal livelihoods and traditions, social relationships and ecological balances). Much of ...» more

Political Party Financing

The methods of party financing used in Africa are primarily individual donations (membership fees and fundraising); private sector donations (corporate contributions); public funding (cash subsidies, in-kind or indirect assistance); and foreign donations (foreign governments, diaspora communities).There are advantages and disadvantages to each. In general, it is considered ...» more

Climate Change and Social Protection

The primary coping strategies and protection measures identified from this Helpdesk research are: Compensation mitigation measures, such as microinsurance and weather-risk crop insurance. In some cases, safety net approaches (e.g. public works, school feeding programmes) are linked to insurance payouts. Ex-ante adaptation measures, such as crop diversification (e.g. technical ...» more

Security Sector Financing and Fiscal Sustainability in Afghanistan

M Manthri

Is the current financing model for Afghanistan’s security sector appropriate? How does it affect incentives around the reform process? This Overseas Development Institute (ODI) paper finds that the current model falls short of good aid effectiveness practice. It implies that donors are perpetuating high levels of aid dependence, not setting strong incentives for institutional ...» more

Limited Access Orders in the Developing World: A New Approach to the Problems of Development

Douglass C. North et al.

Why do existing development approaches based on transfer of western social and political dynamics to non-western countries often fail? This paper proposes a conceptual model of developed countries, or open access orders (OAOs) and developing countries, or limited access orders (LAOs). OAOs organise themselves around competition and a government monopoly over violence. Since ...» more

Parliaments, Crisis Prevention and Recovery: Guidelines for the International Community

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

What is the role of parliaments in peacebuilding and crisis management? How can the international community best support them? These guidelines from the United Nations Development Programme suggest that assistance by external actors underestimates the productive role that parliamentary institutions can play. The formulation of peacebuilding strategies and power-sharing ...» more

Strengthening Legislative Financial Scrutiny in Developing Countries

Joachim Wehner

How can the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) improve its work in strengthening legislative financial oversight? This study from the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that robust oversight at the country level is crucial for effective direct budget support. DFID's projects involving legislative financial scrutiny are vulnerable to ...» more

Gender Equality and Aid Delivery: What Has Changed in Development Co-operation Agencies Since 1999?


How have aid agencies tackled the challenges of promoting gender equality since the beginning of the twenty-first century? How can the gap between policy and implementation be bridged? This report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) examines changes in the gender equality approaches of OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members. It ...» more

Harmonization and Alignment: The Double-edge Swords of Budget Support and Decentralized Aid Administration

O Winckler Andersen, O Therkildsen

What are the impacts of the harmonisation and alignment of aid on transaction costs and local ownership? How can we analyse the extent to which various policy instruments lead to improvements in harmonisation and alignment? This working paper from the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) argues that the 'partnership' perspective which underpins much of the thinking ...» more

Aid Effectiveness – Opening the Black Box

F Bourguignon, M Sundberg

What explains how and why development aid is effective? The empirical literature on aid effectiveness has yielded unclear and ambiguous results. This World Bank paper examines the causality chain linking aid flows to development outcomes. Opening the ‘black box’ of the causality chain allows analysis of the relationships between policies and outcomes, policy makers and ...» more

Effective Electoral Assistance: Moving Away from Event-based Support to Process Support

A Ellis, P Guerin, A Ayoub

How can donors increase the effectiveness and sustainability of electoral assistance and implement principles of long-term institutional support? This report of the Ottawa Conference on Effective Electoral Assistance from the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance argues that getting elections right means strengthening institutions as cornerstones in democratic ...» more

Governance, Development, and Democratic Politics: DFID’s Work in Building More Effective States

Department for International Development

An effective state is the single most important factor in determining whether development progress occurs. This paper, published by the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID), discusses the agency’s approach to governance development and how it works with partner countries and the international development system. Governance work has moved beyond ...» more

Does the Country-led Approach Deliver Results?

M Cox, N Thornton, C Cameron

The introduction of the Country Led Approach (CLA) in the mid-1990s represented an important reorientation in development practice. CLA is accepted internationally and reflected in the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, but does it work? This desk review from Agulhas examines CLA effectiveness in countries where its implementation is relatively advanced. It highlights ...» more

A Primer on Foreign Aid

S Radelet

What are the key trends and objectives in the provision of aid? How does aid impact upon economic growth? How might aid flows exhibit better accountability and foster stronger growth? This paper from the Centre for Global Development takes an overview of the main debates on aid. It argues that donors’ motivations are sometimes unrelated to economic development, that aid has a ...» more

How to Provide Technical Cooperation Personnel

Department for International Development

This note from the Department for International Development (DFID) outlines the reasons for providing Technical Cooperation (TC) personnel to partner countries and ways that it can be improved. It specifies good practice in the project design, procurement, management and monitoring stages of TC and identifies long-term objectives in the TC approach. Recommendations emphasise ...» more

Eliminating World Poverty: Making Governance Work for the Poor


In 2005, rich and poor countries promised more and better aid. Whilst there has been progress, much remains to be done. This White Paper, by the Department for International Development, sets out how the UK government will work with others to deliver these promises. It outlines key commitments in relation to building states that work for the poor, helping people get security, ...» more

Will ‘Emerging Donors’ Change the Face of International Co-operation?

R Manning

Will the recent (re-)emergence of new international donors change the way official development assistance (ODA) is provided? What opportunities and risks will this new development landscape present? This article from the Development Policy Review analyses recent trends in the sources of development assistance and makes short-term projections of future aid flows. It argues that ...» more