Infomediaries and accountability

The term “infomediaries” – or information intermediaries – is used to refer to actors who “synthesize, translate, simplify and direct information on behalf of others”. There appears to be strong evidence of the link between free media and better governance and government responsiveness on a range of issues (e.g. public spending on education and health). A DFID review on ...» more

Economic and market resilience before and after shocks

This report focuses on humanitarian and disaster risk reduction interventions that aim to reinforce economic resilience to anticipated shocks and support economic recovery after a shock, both in situations of natural disasters and conflict. There is limited evidence on the economic impacts of indirect market support interventions because: Providing indirect support to ...» more

Micro levies for global public goods

One type of innovative development finance is the micro levy, also referred to in donor literature as taxes, dues and solidarity levies for development. Donor proponents of this type of innovative finance for development make the case for linking new taxes on globalised activities (finance, travel etc) or global public bads (carbon emissions) to financing global public goods. ...» more

Facts about security and justice challenges

Some of the global statistics included in this report are: A gap in access to justice exists for a majority of the people in the world, perhaps even as many as two thirds, according to an estimate by the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law. Preventing and redressing violence against women and girls is now on the public policy agenda, but abuse and violence ...» more

Benefits to society of an inclusive societies approach

There are many claims for the benefits to society of an inclusive societies approach across a broad range of societal outcomes. The anticipated development benefits of inclusive societies are increasingly present in donor policy thinking and global dialogues, including the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal framework. The desired impacts range from economic benefits to ...» more

Public sector institutional reform


The public sector is the single most important investment instrument for the state, and improving the way it is managed is critical for development outcomes including service delivery, social protection and private sector regulation. Public sector governance reform involves institutional reform – that is, changing the rules and norms that govern public sector activity. How can ...» more

The multilateral system’s contribution to international development goals on governance

The multilateral international development system is sprawling and fragmented, with multiple autonomous specialised organisations that coordinate on specific issues. Traditionally this system has run on hierarchical lines; today more dynamic instances of coordinated governance are emerging, with multilateral organisations partnering regionally with public and private actors. ...» more

Political economy constraints for urban development

Experts highlight evidence gaps in particular on the political economy of urban service delivery; social and political participation by urban poor people; the relationship between urbanisation, urban poverty and urban violence; the relationship between state fragility, state legitimacy and the national political settlement; and what works and what does not in tackling political ...» more

Pro-poor national budgets

There is a wealth of evidence that spending on basic social services (health, nutrition, education) and social protection can be progressive and reach the poor, with particularly high potential returns from expenditures in these sectors reaching poor and vulnerable women and children. In recent years, empirical research has reinvigorated interest in the potential poverty ...» more

Multi-agency stabilisation operations

While there is as yet limited empirical evidence of what works best in multi-agency – or ‘whole-of-government’ – approaches to stabilisation, the literature does identify some lessons learned and principles of good practice. These include: Overcoming common challenges: establishing transparent processes to identify and manage tensions and trade-offs between neutral humanitarian ...» more

Inclusive institutions

Jessica Lea / DFID: Peer educator, Rihanata Ouedraogo, leads a group discussion on FGM/C in Burkina Faso

Institutions are the formal and informal rules and norms that structure citizens’ rights, entitlements, opportunities and voice. How can policymakers and practitioners support inclusive institutions to promote development that ‘leaves no-one behind’? What do we know about what has – or hasn't – worked, and where? This Topic Guide synthesises the evidence, debates and approaches ...» more

Transparency and accountability

More and better data is thought to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for increasing citizens’ access to that data. Likewise, increased access to more and better data is seen as a necessary but not sufficient condition for strengthening a government’s political accountability to its citizens. To date, however, there is limited understanding of exactly how, where and ...» more

Democratic governance initiatives – policy advocacy

It appears that there are many descriptive case studies of civil society advocacy campaigns to strengthen democratic governance, but few publicly available evaluations of the international interventions to provide support to these campaigns and the civil society organisations (CSOs) involved. Some studies do mention links between the policy advocacy initiatives and poverty ...» more

Democratic governance initiatives civic education and media

This rapid review synthesises the findings of successful democratic governance interventions supporting civic education and a free and independent media. The choice of cases to include has been limited as not many evaluations of civic education and media initiatives are publicly available. Moreover it has been challenging to find evaluations that explore the link between these ...» more

Evaluation Capacity Development

While donors’ efforts to support evaluation capacities of developing countries have increased over the last 20 years, this rapid review of the literature finds a limited evidence base on evaluation capacity development (ECD) approaches and their effectiveness. There are more reports of innovative and good practices than rigorous evidence on what has worked. Nevertheless, the ...» more

Transitional justice lessons for Syria

Literature on transitional justice (TJ) experiences in the Arab world is limited, but there is some emerging analysis. This report found the literature highlights factors common in the region that have implications for TJ processes. These include: weak state legitimacy and capacity; decades of authoritarian rule and deep societal divisions; deep-seated socio-economic ...» more

Budget accountability and participation

Experts agree that the evidence base on budget transparency, accountability and participation is limited and underdeveloped. However there are a growing number of case studies and meta-analyses covering a wide geographic scope and diverse contexts, with a variety of methods and gender sensitivity. Key findings from the evidence include the following: There are examples ...» more

Interventions to increase levels of trust in society

Key findings It is possible to discern that interventions concerned with transforming state-society relations necessarily involve or require raising trust levels within society and/or between state-society. However, only a few of these interventions present trust-building as a central or explicit objective. In contrast, descriptions of trust deficits in fragile states abound ...» more