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Aid and debt

One of the Eldis RSS newsfeeds on major development issues

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Making waves: implications of the irregular migration and refugee situation on Official Development Assistance spending and practices in Europe

02 Feb 2017 04:00:30 GMT

The year 2015 became a particularly challenging year for European cooperation in the field of migration. As a consequence, in-donor refugee costs have increased dramatically in some European countries. This paper sets out to investigate the implications of recent reactions through the use of ODA to the refugee and irregular migration situation by drawing on five case studies: the European Commission, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. In many ways, reactions have been diverse depending on political and institutional contexts and budgetary systems within these case studies. While not being a full comparative study of the ODA situation within Europe and limited to a number of countries, this study aims to draw out a number of developments and implications for ODA practices that have relevance across EU member states.
Collectively, the EU has made additional finances available to respond to the irregular migration and refugee situation internally and externally during the past years until 2015 - despite the skyrocketing costs for refugee protection within donor countries. Despite the overall increase in ODA, the case studies have revealed a nuanced picture. In some cases, there has been a clear trade-off between hosting refugees within the EU and available funding for external longer-term cooperation. Facing pressures of such cuts to their external budgets, some donors have had to make difficult choices on where to prioritise ODA both geographically and thematically.

Development agencies and ministries also realise that they need to increase their level of preparedness to deal with uncertain funding situations due to uncertain in-donor costs for refugee protection.Beyond a general focus of cooperation under the umbrella of addressing ‘root causes of displacement and irregular migration’, the use of ODA for specific migration aspects such as to accompany voluntary return and reintegration efforts of failed asylum seekers or to support migration governance abroad will in the future most likely be reinforced.

Freedom, empowerment and opportunities: action plan for women's rights and gender equality in foreign and development policy 2016-2020

16 Dec 2016 06:16:54 GMT

The fundamental aim of Norway’s gender equality efforts is to increase the opportunities available to women and girls, promote their right to self-determination, and further their empowerment. This is crucial if girls, boys, women and men are to have equal rights and equal opportunities. Norway will help to ensure that women gain a stronger position in the family, in the community and in the international arena. Boys and men can be agents of change for gender equality, and will also benefit from gender equality. Our work on women’s rights is based on international human rights obligations, in particular the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

This Action Plan focuses on five thematic priority areas. These have been chosen because they are recognised as crucial for improving the situation of women, and because they are relevant for both foreign and development policy. These are also areas where Norway has particular strengths and can make a difference. The Action Plan brings together and builds on the measures set out in chapter 7 of the white paper on gender equality (Meld. St. 7, 2015-2016 – in Norwegian only), the white papers Education for Development (Meld. St. 25, 2013-2014), Opportunities for All: Human Rights in Norway’s Foreign Policy and Development Cooperation (Meld. St. 10, 2014-2015) and Working together: Private sector development in Norwegian development cooperation (Meld. St. 35, 2014-2015). It also reaffirms the long-standing commitment to promoting gender equality in Norwegian foreign policy.

Turkey in Somalia: shifting paradigms of aid

22 Nov 2016 10:15:40 GMT

As the global development landscape continues to evolve, new and emerging actors – countries transitioning from being aid recipients to aid providers – are becoming increasingly visible on the global scene. Although the approaches, interests and resources of emerging donors are far from uniform, their increasing presence in global development – particularly in fragile and conflict-affected settings – could create new ways of thinking about foreign aid and contribute to more horizontal, equitable and efficient practices. The rise of these donors also poses challenges: their compliance with international standards in development assistance, the effectiveness of their aid and the inclusivity of their efforts have often been questioned.

Turkey’s presence in Somalia is an important example of emerging donor engagement in a conflict setting. Its involvement in Somalia intensified in response to the devastating 2010–2012 famine, but has since gone well beyond delivering aid and assistance to famine survivors. It has hosted international and regional conferences, mediated among various parties, engaged in capacity-building efforts, encouraged bilateral trade and delivered development assistance. Turkey’s engagement in Somalia has been remarkably multifaceted; it has included the Turkish government, religious institutions, nongovernmental organisations, the private sector and local municipalities. It is too early to accurately assess the impact of Turkey’s involvement on Somali institutions or to understand whether it has attenuated the conflict. Instead, this report draws on dozens of interviews in Turkey and Somalia to examine trends and challenges.

Turkey’s engagement in Somalia has distinguished itself by a readiness to deploy staff in the field despite the security risks, deference to the Somali government and a push for national ownership, as well as its involvement in the security and private sectors. However, its experience has also brought to the fore critical tensions: Will its respect for sovereignty and support to security institutions clash with norms of human rights and the inclusion of other parts of society in peacebuilding? Can this multi-pronged approach to aid be channelled toward a coherent and comprehensive peacebuilding strategy? And will these nascent aid institutions be able to weather domestic pressures in Turkey? [Authors' summary]

Investments in sustainable development: a comparative study on how the Nordic development finance institutions work with development impact in context of the Sustainable Development Goals

09 Nov 2016 12:25:36 GMT

The four Nordic donor countries : Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, all have a long history in the international landscape of development cooperation. In their official development aid (ODA), all four countries have an implemented focus on investing in business- and private sector development and therefore allocate funds to support market development, sustainable business, employment opportunities, financial systems and increasing the tax base in developing countries.

The allocated funds are managed and invested by the individual countries'€™ Development Finance Institutions (DFIs ): Finnfund in Finland, Norfund in Norway, Swedfund in Sweden and IFU in Denmark. The DFIs play a decisive role by providing high risk loans, equity and guarantees to private sector investments in developing countries and emerging markets.

In recent years, and most notably by the 2015 adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, the convergence between human rights, labour standards and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been recognised by the international community, thus setting forth a global reliance on the private sector to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. A particular focus has been put on establishing the private sector as a active partner in eradicating extreme poverty by placing emphasis on private sector investments in supporting and creating inclusive growth and sustainable development. In the light of these international developments, the role of DFIs has been considered to be particularly important by governments to bridge traditional development aid with private investments in developing countries.

The DFIs overall objective to contribute to sustainable development, place them as an important vehicle for change. Their significant responsibility towards implementing solid policies, procedures and monitoring systems in their investments are identified as key in supporting sustainable development in the countries in which they engage. It is therefore important to continuously measure and monitor the actual long term development impact and short term effect of their investments in order to establish transparency on results. Consequently, the need for DFIs to document the actual development impacts of their investments has been further solidified.

On this backdrop and with considerations given to the general level of increased engagement by Nordic DFIs ten Nordic NGOs have commissioned this study. The study will look into the role of Nordic DFIs in development cooperation, highlight trends and developments through comparison of similarities and differences in practices and propose recommendations on how to improve their work with and reporting on development impact in the light of the 2030 Agenda.

The development compact: a theoretical construct for South-South cooperation

20 Sep 2016 03:20:49 GMT

India’s development cooperation efforts began soon after the country gained its independence in 1947. Indeed there are some incidences that date back to even pre-independence days. India is strong believer of the fact that developing countries should not be entirely dependent upon assistance from the developed world; they must pool their own resources and capabilities to help each other.

This discussion paper examines the larger framework of Indian external assistance through the concept of  'development  compact'. The new development compact is between actors of the South, rather than the North-South exchange that characterised earlier arrangements; it is no longer about the imposition of conditionalities for recipient countries but more on the principles that govern SSC such as mutual gain, non-interference, collective growth opportunities and indeed an absence of conditionalities.

The modern concept of a development compact provides for development assistance that works at five different levels, namely, trade and investment; technology; skills upgrade; LoCs and finally, grants. The engagement of emerging economies with other Southern countries has provided a major pull factor for wider engagement across these five elements, which emphasises the comprehensive support for economic development. These factors are discussed in this discussion paper to provide an analytical taxonomy with some illustrative evidence from Indian experience.

Emergence of LoCs as a modality in India’s development cooperation: evolving policy context and new challenges

20 Sep 2016 03:15:10 GMT

Development cooperation is an integral part of India’s foreign policy and India has been extending cooperation to its fellow developing countries even before its independence in 1947. In present times, India’s development cooperation is manifested through its 'development compact' comprising five components, namely, capacity building and skill transfer, technology and related partnerships, development finance (which includes concessional loans and lines of credit), grants, and trade and investment. Off late, Indian extension of Lines of Credit (LoCs) through EXIM Bank of India have also become a prominent modality of Development Cooperation. However, in many a cases it has been seen that the projects faced a number of challenges for effective delivery.

This discussion paper explores these challenges and other issues related to quality and timely delivery of the projects. It also explains evolution of the scheme IDEAS and discusses new guidelines by EXIM Bank.

Aid and climate finance

13 Sep 2016 12:05:16 GMT

In 2009, the Copenhagen Accord was the first effort to spell out the financial implications of a global effort to reduce carbon emissions. Although not a legally binding document, delegates from all countries attending the COP15 meeting agreed to “take note” of the accord. Developed countries made three financial commitments as a result:
  • to provide $30 billion for mitigation and adaptation financing for the period 2010-2012
  • to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020; and
  • to make such funding new and additional, and sourced from public and private, bilateral and multilateral institutions

Following Paris, the author argues, we can expect to see continued technical work on refining the measurement of climate-related finance. Debates will inevitably continue as to how to define “mobilization” of private capital. For example, if a country reforms its energy sector policy framework through the support of developed countries (or a multilateral institution), and this then “causes” additional private investment in the sector, should the investments count? Conversely, if a private investment was likely to happen anyway, but an official agency decides to offer a guarantee as a sweetener, should this be counted as additional finance being 'mobilized'? While such debates may appear arcane, the definitions provide the incentive structure for how official agencies will behave, and therefore have real consequences.

We should, nevertheless, see considerable, rapid improvement in the transparency and accountability, by agency, of climate-related finance.

We can also expect to see continued debate over the mechanisms through which climate finance should be channeled. The preference of the developing countries is to use the newly established Green Climate Fund, partly because it promises to allocate financing equally to mitigation and adaptation, and partly because it could use countries’ own financing needs as the basis for disbursements. Developed countries may encourage greater use of the multilateral development banks with proven track records but that would need to scale up their ability to lead public-private partnerships in infrastructure

In both cases, an upsurge in private investment in climate-related projects is expected. Given the relatively stable and long-term returns from infrastructure investments, and the low long-term real interest rates prevailing in capital markets in developed countries, there are significant financial incentives for private investors to participate in infrastructure projects in developing countries. If public money is added to the available blend of funds, and the right recipe of technical assistance, risk-mitigation, and dialogue platforms to build trust is found, there could be a tipping point of an exponential rise in project finance. If such a tipping point can be reached, Paris will have been a successful meeting for climate finance.

Review of support to female engineers through the Structured Engineers Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) implemented by Engineers Registration Board (ERB)

12 Aug 2016 05:51:50 GMT


The Royal Norwegian Embassy (RNE) has requested Norad to undertake a review of
the support to female engineers through the Structured Engineers Apprenticeship
Program (SEAP) in order to assess the progress and give recommendations on the
best ways forward to meet the project objectives. The purpose of the review is to
contribute to the quality and delivery of the programme, and the findings from the
review will be used to guide the implementation of the remaining part of the project.

The project

RNE has been providing financial support to the Engineers Registration Board (ERB)
since 2010 to strengthen the capacity of female engineers and support their full
registration as professional engineers. The support to the female engineers is
implemented through the Structured Engineers Apprenticeship Program (SEAP). The
project is scheduled to end in 2015, but a no-cost extension until ultimo 2016 has been
approved by the RNE.

In order to achieve a higher number of registered female engineers, the project set out
to give the female SEAP trainees subsistence allowance and additional trainings, as
well as provide training for mentors and build the capacity of the ERB staff managing
the project. Furthermore, the project set out to strengthen professional associations for
female engineers in Tanzania.

Final evaluation - NPA Vietnam Development Program

12 Aug 2016 05:36:38 GMT


The NPA programme in Vietnam, with funding from Norad has focused on Natural Resources Management (NRM) and promotion of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) role in policy advocacy.

In the 2012-2015 period, the Program identified priorities on forestland rights, Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights, ethnic minority (EM) rights in general, and promotion of the Extraction Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).


  1. In this context, the final evaluation is conducted to assess:
  2. Results in comparison with the expected results of the NPA-Vietnam Multi-Year Plan
  3. Relevance of the Program to the current context in Vietnam
  4. Relevance of the Partners to the current context in Vietnam
  5. NPA value added to the partners in addition to financial support in comparison to allocated resources.


Two main methods have been employed during the final evaluation including desk study and qualitative research.

Key findings

It can be concluded that NPA Development Program 2012-2015 in Vietnam is relevant to the country’s current context, and to the partner organizations.

The Program added values for partners, besides financial support, are an important background for these partners to continue their pursuit of long-term goals in areas including forestland rights, LGBT rights, EM rights in general, and promotion of EITI.

The programmatic approach of NPA has enabled its partners to synthesize resources from different donors, contributing to the significant impacts on the legal environment, the transformation of general public perception of natural resources management and minority rights, and particularly the creation of an important civil society space where NGOs can proactively operate in policy advocacy.


NPA decision in choosing well-established organizations operating in NRM and the enhancement of the formal and informal space for CSOs is considered to be strategic since it would enhance the program probability of success.

In addition, this approach is evaluated to be suitable for NPA as the organization has constraints in providing financial support and technical support to its partners. As a result, NPA could replicate this approach in other countries that the organization is operating provided that there are similarly highly capable local NGOs in the target countries.

While NPA approach in Vietnam is evaluated to be highly relevant, the organization should consider adjustments on the following issues:

First and foremost, NPA should consider conducting a thorough assessment on each topic/issue in the Development Program so that time and resource could be allocated most effectively and efficiently for each partner’ program.

Although NPA partners have showed some levels of commitment towards the end goal of Vietnam joining EITI, they admitted that NPA phase-out is likely to disrupt the continuity of recent activities.

Furthermore, NPA should consider transferring its supporting role to other INGOs that share the same interest in the topic NPA is pursuing.

At the level of operational management, NPA should conduct periodic reviews to update or even adjust its Multiyear Plan based on practical developments. This underlies in the M&E function of constantly updating information to support decision-making process.

Parliamentary oversight of UK development cooperation: the experience of DFID

06 Jul 2016 03:56:01 GMT

The Department for International Development, the UK government body responsible for foreign assistance and international development cooperation, has garnered global respect for its work in the developing world since its inception in 1997. By focusing on its core mandate of eliminating global poverty, in 2014 it helped the UK achieve the status of the first G7 country to spend 0.7% of its Gross National Income (GNI) on aid and development in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
This briefing paper examines DFID’s legislative and operational environments, and explains the critical role played by Parliament in its monitoring and oversight of the department and its spending. The paper will consider how Parliament attempts to influence policy-making within DFID, primarily through the International Development Committee and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact. Based on the experiences of DFID, recommendations will be provided for Parliamentary monitoring and oversight of the South African Development Partnership Agency.

Trade for all: towards a more responsible trade and investment policy

05 Jul 2016 12:16:40 GMT

The European Commission is proposing a new trade and investment strategy for the European Union: "Trade for All". A new strategy that will make trade agreements more effective and that will create more opportunities means supporting jobs in Europe.

The new approach is also a direct response to the current intense debate on trade in the EU - including on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It is also an implementation of the Juncker Commission's pledge to listen and respond to EU citizens' concerns.

It will involve trade policy being more effective at delivering new economic opportunities; more transparent in terms of opening up negotiations to more public scrutiny; and address not just interests but also values. The new strategy addresses all these principles. It also lays out an updated programme of negotiations to put them into practice.


  • trade is not an end in itself. It is a tool to benefit people. The aim of EU trade policy is to make the most of those benefits
  • that means making sure that trade and investment policy is effective. It must tackle real issues based on an up-to-date understanding of the fact that the world economy is tightly linked by global value chains; that services — including those that require providers to move across borders — are increasingly important; and that the digital revolution is transforming the international economy. Trade agreements must tackle the barriers companies face in the modern global economy. They must also be effectively implemented and enforced, including for small- and medium-sized companies
  • trade and investment policy must equally take responsibility for supporting and promoting EU values and standards. The EU must engage with partners to promote human rights, labour rights and environmental, health and consumer protection, support development and play its part in stamping out corruption. Furthermore, key policies for the future of Europe’s integration into the world economy, like investment and regulatory cooperation, must support, not undermine, the EU’s broader objectives of protecting people and the planet. Any change to the level of protection can only be upward
  • essential to meet all of these objectives is a trade policy that remains ambitious in its effort to shape globalisation. Trade benefits people most when creating economic opportunity. That means action to support the multilateral system embodied in the WTO and a targeted strategy for bilateral and regional trade and investment agreements
  • the EU can only reach these goals if it speaks with one voice and ensures that all EU Member States, people and companies are treated equally. It has to be coherent across policy areas. These principles of unity and coherence must underlie the daily work of the Commission as, with the support of the Council and the Parliament, it seeks to implement this communication in the coming years

Our collective interest: why Europe’s problems need global solutions and global problems need European action

05 Jul 2016 11:21:13 GMT

The period to 2020 offers a real opportunity for transformation towards a more inclusive, peaceful, prosperous and equitable world - and Europe has a central role to play. The basic building blocks are in place and include the Lisbon Treaty, the Europe 2020 strategy, the 2005 European Consensus of Development, and the 2012 EU Agenda for Change.
The authors identify five global challenges which will shape the future of the EU and the world, and in relation to which the EU’s performance as a global actor can be judged. These are:
  • The world economy. Is the world economy becoming more equitable, resilient and democratic? Is the EU contributing to better and more inclusive trade and finance regimes which allow for full participation by all?
  • Environmental sustainability. Is the world set on a more sustainable path, in which the EU is playing its part internally and externally, especially with regard to climate change and the necessity of a green economy?
  • Peace and security. Is the world becoming more peaceful and secure? And is the EU contributing to the prevention of violent conflict and to peaceful societies?
  • Democracy  and  human  rights.  Is  the  world  better  governed  and  more  democratic?  Is  there  greater respect for human rights around the world? And is the EU acting effectively to understand and support democratic political change?
  • Poverty  and  inequality.  Have  poverty  and  inequality  declined?  And  is  the  EU  acting  effectively  to understand and tackle the drivers of poverty and inequality?

The impact of food assistance on pastoralist livelihoods in humanitarian crises: an evidence synthesis protocol

28 Jun 2016 04:03:55 GMT

This protocol outlines plans for conducting an evidence synthesis on the impact of food aid on pastoralist livelihoods. The distinctiveness of pastoralists – including factors related to the erosion of their livelihood strategies and the difficulty posed by identification of frequently mobile households, and their particular vulnerability to humanitarian crises, suggest that the effects of humanitarian interventions targeting them are likely to differ from other populations. The purpose of this review is to use evidence synthesis methods to: systematically identify all available evidence on the impact of food assistance to pastoralist livelihoods (during and after) a humanitarian crisis; compare and contrast the effects of assistance delivered (by population, assistance type etc.); qualitatively and (if possible) quantitatively synthesise identified data and concepts; assess the quality of evidence, as appropriate; and identify gaps in the current evidence-base and further comment on future research needs in this space. 


New communication strategies for preventing misinformation

24 Jun 2016 10:21:13 GMT

The main purpose of this document is to offer recommendations to prevent the emergence and spread of misinformation in the course of a major infectious disease outbreak, and how misinformation can be corrected. Additionally, the document seeks to provide a background context in relation to the origins and persistent effect of misinformation and rumours in time. Finally, the document discusses key components of outbreak communication, such as presentation of scientific uncertainties and information gaps, and their role in the emergence of misinformation.
The recommendations and guidance is largely based on the findings identified following a comprehensive exercise carried out in the context of the TELL ME project, which included a broad study of population behaviour during major epidemics and pandemics, and the investigation of emerging challenges and new methods for outbreak communication. Furthermore, this document builds on the concepts and elements introduced in the TELL ME Framework Model for Outbreak Communication, such as the use of a participatory approach to outbreak communications planning, the role of opinion leaders and the use of social media to reach target audiences.

What role does the European Union play in international development

02 Jun 2016 09:55:59 GMT

As a body of 28 member states and with a combined GDP of close to US$20tn, greater than that of the US, the actions of the European Union (EU) have the potential to impact heavily – either negatively or positively – on international development cooperation. Ahead of the EU referendum in the UK, this briefing argues neither for nor against membership of the EU, but presents information about the EU’s current role in development, to help inform considered debate.

Future plans:

European development cooperation is in constant flux. In 2016, there will be a new global strategy, updating the former security strategy. Work will be launched on a new Consensus on Development. There will also be discussions about the future of the partnership with ACP countries. In 2017, there will be a review of the main financial instruments, including the European Development Fund.

The role and responsibility of foreign aid in recipient political settlements

31 May 2016 11:44:21 GMT

Political settlements analysis has highlighted the role of powerful political and economic actors in shaping institutional outcomes across countries. Its focus on national elites, however, risks biasing this type of theorising towards local factors, when in fact many policy domains in developing countries have become transnationalised: much like private finance or transnational activism, foreign aid can play a significant role in shaping political settlements, for instance those underlying public finance management or basic service delivery.
This paper has four aims. First, it revises the basic concept of political settlement with a combination of field theory and contentious politics that emphasises contestation between incumbents and challengers and the mechanisms through which they are affected by transnational forces. Second, based on this conceptual fram
ework, it outlines six ideal types of aid influence over a developing-country political settlement, illustrating donor tendencies to support continuity or change. Third, it investigates the ethical implications of donor influence over political settlements, identifying the types of intervention favoured by consequentialist and non-consequentialist calculations. Finally, the paper presents the kernel for a practical ethic of assistance, which asks whether current debates in the aid community have fully come to terms with the responsibility that derives from agency in the contentious politics of inclusive development.

What role does the European Union play in international development?

25 May 2016 10:09:53 GMT

As a body of 28 member states and with a combined GDP of close to US$20tn, greater than that of the US, the actions of the European Union (EU) have the potential to impact heavily – either negatively or positively – on international development cooperation.

Ahead of the EU referendum in the UK, this briefing argues neither for nor against membership of the EU, but presents information about the EU’s current role in development, to help inform considered debate.

Collective site management and coordination – a case study of Solidarités International in North Lebanon governorate

19 May 2016 03:01:03 GMT

Since 2013, SOLIDARITES INTERNATIONAL (SI) provides humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in North Lebanon governorate in the sectors of WASH, shelter, livelihood and outreach. As the needs of Syrian refugees increase while humanitarian funding decreases with the end of the war in Syria seeming far from a resolution, it has become evident that more attention should be placed on sustainable solutions. In 2014, SI consequently started to implement community mobilization activities and established the Collective Site Management and Coordination (CSMC) program in 50 sites in 2015. This program aimed at re-empowering the Syrian refugee community by creating camp management committees and raising awareness on their rights and legal status. It also provided the community with lists of service providers and proper referrals and complaints mechanisms in order to ensure their needs would be referred to the appropriate stakeholders and assistance would be provided with the desired quality according to specific standards. Ultimately, the program aimed to increase Syrian refugees’ autonomy and to mitigate the risks of tensions with host communities and local authorities.

This document presents the program and the research that was undertaken to identify and explain the successes and failures of CSMC. It also provides learning for programmatic improvement.

End the neglect: a study of humanitarian financing for older people

17 May 2016 12:52:43 GMT

As the scale of humanitarian needs around the world is greater than ever before, the financing of humanitarian response is coming under increasing scrutiny. Data from the latest Global humanitarian assistance report show that in 2014, international humanitarian funding rose for a second consecutive year, reaching a record high of US$24.5 billion – 19 per cent up on the previous year. Yet the data also reveal a growing gap between funding and needs. In 2014, while US$12 billion was allocated to UN-coordinated appeals, US$7.5 billion of requirements (38 per cent) were unmet.

At a global level, discussions of humanitarian financing, such as those reported on by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel, are addressing three critical questions: how to reduce humanitarian needs by addressing the root causes of crises; how to increase the resource base for the response; and how to improve the way aid is delivered while at the same time using it more effectively. The question of whether existing funding actually reaches the people most in need – a crucial one for all those concerned with the impartiality of humanitarian response – receives less attention.

Since 2010 HelpAge International has conducted an annual analysis, using humanitarian funding as a proxy indicator, to quantify the degree to which the specific needs of older people are reflected in humanitarian programming. In the absence of full reporting of humanitarian spending, HelpAge uses the United Nations (UN) Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) as a proxy for humanitarian funding (for further details see the Methodology section). HelpAge analysis in 2010 and 2011 found that fewer than 1 per cent of projects reviewed included activities targeting older people – a figure that rose only marginally to 2.1 per cent in 2012.

This report is the most recent study in the series. It provides new data on funding allocations in 2013 and 2014, and gives a longitudinal analysis of the extent to which humanitarian response is meeting older people’s needs.

Making sustainable development the key focus of the BRICS New Development Bank

17 May 2016 10:32:19 GMT

As the New Development Bank (NDB) gears up to extend its first loans in the second quarter of 2016, with its self-stated aim to ‘fund infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies’, it is important to consider what the bank might regard as ‘sustainable development’. To date, the bank, the BRICS and South Africa have not put forward a clear definition of sustainable development.

In order to explore this important debate from a South African perspective, this research draws on the perspectives and views of a wide range of stakeholders, including policymakers, think tanks, academia and civil society, on the best approach the NDB could take to ensure the sustainability of the projects it undertakes. In addition, the recommendations from this study also took into consideration examples of projects that could be considered as best practice when it comes to sustainable development. Recommendations were made to inform policymaking both within the bank on related issues and at an individual project level.

The paper explores definitions of sustainable development that the New Development Bank of the BRICS could use in identifying and implementing projects in South Africa and on the African continent.

Older voices in humanitarian crises: calling for change

10 May 2016 01:44:51 GMT

This report documents the situation of older refugees fleeing from conflict in Syria, Ukraine and South Sudan. The findings contribute to a growing body of evidence illustrating the failure of the humanitarian system to protect older people’s rights or meet their needs. The stories highlight the limited progress the humanitarian system has made to address the neglect of older people and other vulnerable groups.


In order to address the neglect faced by older people in emergencies, their opinions must be heard and changes made in the humanitarian system. Based on the findings of consultations with older women and men, HelpAge International is calling for the following:

Humanitarian responders should:

  • systematically engage with all affected people, including older women and men, to deliver meaningful participation and ensure that their views are reflected in responses, including assessment, design, delivery and monitoring and evaluation
  • collect, fully disaggregate, and utilise data for different population groups including older people, in order to provide robust evidence to design, revise and learn from programming that is reflective of, and appropriate for, the people and needs identified
  • address gaps in the quality of primary healthcare services for those with chronic diseases, ensuring adequate provision of NCD drugs and access to laboratory tests at primary healthcare level
  • ensure services to address psychological distress are accessible to older men and women, providing outreach counselling and support services for those who are unable to attend health centres
  • ensure mainstream response activities consider the needs of older men and women providing age-sensitive and physically accessible services. Provide outreach services for isolated people who cannot reach services

Humanitarian donors should:

  • Ensure that funding is commensurate with the scale of needs and is allocated impartially, recognising the needs of different groups including older people
  • Ensure funding is allocated only to funding actions that include an inclusive analysis of needs based on data that is fully disaggregated by sex, age and disability

All humanitarians should:

  • contribute to developing the understanding and skills of humanitarian actors so they can identify the needs of older people and deliver appropriate assistance
  • take responsibility for building core understanding among staff of the humanitarian principles and available guidance in support of inclusive programming for marginalised groups including older people. Where appropriate, build specialist skills to address the needs of vulnerable people in crisis

The political and economic dynamics of foreign aid: a case study of United States and Chinese aid to Sub-Sahara Africa

05 May 2016 12:05:44 GMT

The foreign aid arena as it pertains to the African continent has traditionally been dominated by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, however over the last three decades non-traditional donors such as the China, South Africa and Brazil have emerged in the donor field. The increasing importance of non-traditional donors has meant that the economic and political stronghold of Western and OECD countries in sub-Sahara African (SSA) has gradually ebbed, due to increased competition amongst donors on the continent. Specifically, as the economic and political reach of the United States (USA), the second largest bilateral donor to SSA has diminished, amongst the group of emerging donors, China has become the largest contributor of aid to SSA countries. There appears to be a political - economic dynamic that points to the existence of two competing reasons underpinning the foreign aid trend in SSA. Using a comparative approach, this study examines the determinants of aid allocation by China and the United States
to SSA countries.

The study finds that both donor motives and recipient need are factors in US and Chinese aid allocation to SSA. Additionally, the study finds differences in US aid allocation determinants pre and post China’s entry into SSA’s aid field. Furthermore, evidence of income and population bias is observed for both donor countries.

China's development finance to Africa: a media based approach to data collection

29 Apr 2016 11:54:33 GMT

How big is China’s aid to Africa? Does it complement or undermine the efforts of traditional donors? China releases little information, and outside estimates of the size and nature of Chinese aid vary widely. In an effort to overcome this problem, AidData, based at the College of William and Mary, has compiled a database of thousands of media reports on Chinese-backed projects in Africa from 2000 to 2011. The database includes information on 1,673 projects in 50 African countries and on $75 billion in commitments of official finance.

This paper describes the new database methodology, key findings, and possible applications of the data, which is being made publicly available for the first time. The paper and database offer a new tool set for researchers, policymakers, journalists, and civil-society organizations working to understand China’s growing role in Africa.
The paper also discusses the challenges of quantifying Chinese development activities, introduces AidData’s Media-Based Data Collection (MBDC) methodology, provides an overview of Chinese development finance in Africa as tracked by this new database, and discusses the potential and limitations of MBDC as a resource for tracking development finance.

White paper on China's foreign aid - highlights

29 Apr 2016 11:28:37 GMT

In April 2011, the Information Office of China's State Council released the country's first White Paper on China's Foreign Aid which seeks to outline China's official aid policies, principles and practices. While noting China's position as a developing country, the White Paper states that the country's foreign aid represents part of its efforts to fulfil its international responsibilities, and in particular to “help recipient countries strengthen their self-development capacity, enrich and improve their peoples livelihoods, and promote their economic growth and social progress.

In an April 2011 press conference, Ministry of Commerce Vice-Minister Fu Ziying outlined the following aid priorities for the next 5 years:

  • involving recipient countries more deeply in project design
  • enhancing the quality of foreign aid and projects
  • improving the pertinence and effectiveness of foreign aid
  • joining forces with others in foreign aid
  • increasing the proportion of grant aid (around 40% to date)
  • giving more to heavily indebted countries, LDCs and SIDS (in 2009, 39.7% of China‟s foreign aid went to LDCs); and
  • strengthening international cooperation and exchanges and learning from good practices

China's foreign aid in 1978

29 Apr 2016 10:47:20 GMT

1978 saw inportant changes in Chin'a foreign aid programme. It cut aid to its two largest recipients, Vietnam and Albania. At the same time, China reqested aid from the United Nations for the first time, and negotiated loans from other countires, although it appeared contradictory that China was continuiing to give foreign economic assistance whilst soliciting aid for itself. This paper provides an overview of the Chinese aid situation in 1978, including its involvement in aid to Africa.

2016 Aid tansparency index

28 Apr 2016 12:43:44 GMT

2015 was an important year for international development, with governments agreeing to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next fifteen years. It was also a critical year for aid transparency. Back in 2011, leading donors committed in Busan to make their aid transparent by the end of 2015.

The 2016 Aid Transparency Index demonstrates whether that commitment has been met. Five years after the first Aid Transparency Index, and five years after the Busan commitment, it shows us how transparent major donors are as we begin the first year of the implementation of the SDGs.

The results find that ten donors of varied types and sizes, accounting for 25% of total aid, have met the commitment to aid transparency made in Busan. Over half of the organisations included in the 2016 Index publish data to the IATI Registry at least quarterly. However, most of the organisations covered fall into the lowest three categories, scoring below 60% and demonstrating that the publication of timely, comparable and disaggregated information about their development projects to the IATI Registry is far from complete. The Index also finds that over half of the organisations included do not publish budget information for the next one to three years – a key demand of partner countries.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) tops the Index for the second time with an excellent score of 93.3%, the only organisation to score above 90%. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is placed second, performing well once again, and UNICEF enters the ‘very good’ category for the first time, jumping into third place. The ‘very good’ category also includes the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UK-DFID), the Global Fund, the World Bank-International Development Association (WB-IDA), the Inter- American Development Bank (IADB), the Asian Development Bank (AsDB), the government of Sweden and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

At the other end of the scale, some important donors are performing poorly. France, Italy and Japan have agencies in a group of twelve donors in the ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ categories. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a new addition in 2016, and China come last in the Index ranking. The largest number of donors is grouped under the ‘fair’ category, including some of the most important ones as categorised by aid budget such as USAID and Japan-JICA. Many of these donors are well established and have the structures in place to perform better.

Understanding China’s approaches to international development

12 Apr 2016 04:16:22 GMT

China’s impressive economic growth and increasing development activities overseas, particularly in the African continent, have spurred intense debate and criticism over its role as a rising power in international development. China is viewed in the West both as a threat, but also as a valuable potential partner in development cooperation. However, differences between Western and Chinese conceptions of foreign aid and development have complicated cooperation and understanding of China’s development and aid structures. Further knowledge of these differences is needed, in order to evaluate their implications for low-income countries, and for potential trilateral cooperation. Policy implications: China is now frequently referred to as the emerging superpower of the twentyfirst century. On the basis of sustained and substantial economic growth over quarter of a century, China’s national power and regional and global standing has been transformed. As an increasingly significant global player, the second largest economy with burgeoning foreign exchange reserves, and possibly the largest contributor to global warming, increasingly scholars are focused on the implications of what its ‘peaceful rise’ means for the international competitiveness of other countries’ manufactures; for financial and exchange rate stability; for military security; and for global public goods and international development cooperation China’s approach to aid significantly differs from that of Western donors and is still evolving, and awareness of differences in ideologies behind aid and development remains key to future successful aid cooperation. China does not wish to be regarded as a donor; its conceptions of its development cooperation and rejection of a donor identity must be respected when building engagement and cooperation bilaterally or in global forums though non-interference is a central principle of China’s foreign aid policies, its growing involvement and investments in high-risk parts of sub-Saharan Africa mean this may be increasingly difficult to sustain. Increased political engagement and investment in security may be a necessary spillover in China’s engagement in Africa the institutional context of China’s development cooperation is complex, and Western donors and external partners must take these differentiated political roles into consideration in order to effectively pursue trilateral development cooperation. The Chinese state and the DAFC in particular still has very limited capacity in coordinating between the multitude of actors operating in this environment. As China’s development assistance commitments grow, the institutional capacity and responsibility of this nascent agency will also need to be developed prospects for trilateral cooperation remain viable, particularly in forums like the G20 which has adopted shared growth and development as a part of its core agenda. China has also taken steps toward avenues for cooperation, and the creation of EBIEC, a division under the DAFC to manage international cooperation, shows it is willing to learn from, and amenable to cooperation with, traditional donors. However, in initiating trilateral cooperation, recipient countries must be central in leading and participating in discussions around trilateral cooperation betwee[...]

South-South cooperation: mapping new frontiers

07 Apr 2016 01:42:15 GMT

Ideological solidarity apart, what has imparted an added traction and resonance to South-South Cooperation is a marked increase in intra-South trade, investment and developmental cooperation. The 2008 global economic slowdown, by default, proved to be a trigger for enhanced SSC due to shrinking of resource and developmental aid/ODI flow from developed countries of the North, propelling emerging economies of the southern countries to step up mutual sharing of funds, knowledge and expertise. The increased South-South cooperation, however, needs a reality check, and has to factor into account the declining growth rates in major BRICS emerging economies, except India.

The overall renaissance of the South has coincided with the relative slowdown in large parts of the developed world, resulting in a marked decline of ODA by North countries. This shifting global situation is leading to a reconfiguration of global development architecture, necessitating enhanced SSC in areas which are pivotal to continued economic flowering of the South. The areas of development include financing and partnership, peace and security, environment, people-centered development, and science, technology and innovation (STI).

Against this backdrop, the South began looking beyond the North-South Cooperation (NSC) and Triangular Development Cooperation (TDC), which had traditionally been fuelled by the Official Development Assistance (ODA) for development cooperation. Refreshingly, the Southern consensus on development cooperation is emerging, which is marked by an equal partnership among sharing countries, unlike the donor-recipient or patron-client relationship that characterised aid giving by OECD. Unlike the Washington/World Bank-IMF consensus, the Southern paradigm is distinguished by development cooperation which is free of external conditionalities and is not based on imposition, but on the requests and priorities of recipient countries. The SSC is underpinned by “Development Compact', which works at five different levels: trade and investment, technology, skill upgradation, lines of credit and grants. The increase in engagement of emerging economies with other countries of the South entails accelerated cooperation across all these areas.

In this context, it should be emphasised that the evolving Southern consensus is not a monolithic construct, but is marked by a plurality of approach vis-à-vis developmental cooperation within the broad ambit of core ideas of solidarity that bind SSC. Over the last few years, South-South Cooperation (SSC) has, therefore, emerged as a sustainable parallel mechanism to support empowerment of developing countries and the global quest for improved quality of life across the world.

Sharing of social sectors experiences in IBSA: assessment of initiatives and way forward

31 Mar 2016 10:09:51 GMT

The establishment of the India-Brazil-South Africa Trilateral Cooperation Forum (IBSA), formalised by the Brasilia Declaration in 2003 is a distinctive international trilateral development initiative to promote South- South cooperation among these countries.

In order to assess the overall status of social sectors in IBSA countries since its inception, this paper analyses the select Communiqués and Declarations pertaining to social sectors issued from time to time. In this context, it evaluates the status and performance of social development in each of the IBSA countries and analyses the progress achieved in terms of poverty reduction, health and education towards achievement of MDGs targets. The paper presents an insight from the policy initiatives taken for inclusive growth followed by analysis of their serious commitments into concrete actions to strengthen trilateral cooperation and finally suggests the way forward.

Reflecting on the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China - Africa Cooperation (FOCAC): where to from here?

21 Mar 2016 03:34:02 GMT

The FOCAC summit held between 3 - 5 December 2015 coincided with the launching of China’s second Africa policy paper and be came the first time that a FOCAC summit was held on African soil as the others had all been Ministerial gatherings following the first summit in Beijing. It came in a watershed year for global development efforts as the year witnessed the Financing for Dev elopment meeting in Addis Ababa, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations, the hosting of the Ministerial meeting of the WTO in Nairobi (for the first time in Africa), and the Conference of the Parties (COP21) held in Paris.

Within this broader context, this policy brief, which arises from a research project between the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), seeks to draw linkages between China’s second Africa policy paper and the declarations of the Johannesburg summit. It thus asks what the FOCAC summit managed to achieve before asking what the way forward is in terms of China - Africa relations.

Ghana LEAP programme increases schooling outcomes

18 Mar 2016 11:26:58 GMT

There is a growing body of literature analysing the impacts of social cash transfer programmes (SCT) on schooling. This brief summarizes findings from the impact evaluation of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme on schooling outcomes overall and for various subgroups: by sex, age group and cognitive ability. 

The results of this study show that Ghana’s LEAP programme had strong impacts on children’s schooling, in particular on certain subgroups. By moving beyond average treatment effects, the study provides important insights on the nuances around the programme impacts. The strong results among older children with low cognitive ability supports theories of compensating behaviour by parents, and suggests that programme conditionality is not necessary to induce parents to send more vulnerable children to school. 

Adapted from author’s summary.

Norfund’s Kilombero Plantation in Tanzania: meagre results from a large investment

18 Mar 2016 03:57:28 GMT

This report set out to analyse water use by Kilombero Plantations Limited (KPL) in  Tanzania  and  its  effect  on  the  people  dependent  on  local  water  resources. Norfund,  the  Norwegian  development  finance  institution,  is  invested  in  the plantation company KPL through its stake in Agrica Limited. The report finds that the water management regime of the plantation is affecting the local people minimally. Exposure to risks has increased slightly, especially for the poorer villagers unable to afford storage of water. The main risk emanating from the lack of  improved  water  sources  is  however  the  responsibility  of  the  Government  of Tanzania,  and  not  the  company. The  developmental  effect  however  is  unclear. KPL  has  contributed  to  the  local  and  regional  economy  by  buying  materials and by hiring skilled and unskilled labour. These are however meagre spill overs compared to the planned effects of economical growth and increased domestic rice production. More significantly this report shows that Tanzania, like many other developing countries, lacks the fundamentals for private sector development. The challenges from  unfavourable  circumstances  have  prevented  the  company  from  turning  a profit in the first seven years. The still pending expansion of the plantation and the limited success of the outgrower scheme means that the contribution to reduce Tanzania’s dependence on imported rice has also been impaired. The marketing of  rice  from  Kilombero  was  exposed  to  sudden  shifts  in  the  imported  volume of rice and thus to a fall in prices. Volatile road taxation is another policy issue. There are also virtually no medium sized modern farms to recruit skilled labour from;  there  is  a  huge  technological  gap  between  mostly  traditional  household level farms and industrial plantations in Tanzania. The unstable regulative regime and weak enforcement of policies are hallmarks of weak institutions. The large-scale investment favoured up until now will not benefit poor farmers in the short or medium term. One could argue that the prevailing mode is neither favourable for large agribusiness. This report shows how a matrix of criteria are necessary to create a beneficial environment for large-scale agriculture, most of which are missing or only partly present in Tanzania. A stable regulative environment, decent roads and a skilled workforce are some. Not to mention public water management. An increased effort on infrastructure, institutions  and  policies  seem  necessary  before  private  sector  investments  can  have  a reasonable chance of impact on development. The spill over effects from foreign investments are biggest when the technology gap to the domestic enterprises is mo[...]

Spotlight on publications: participation in development projects funded by International Financial Institutions

16 Mar 2016 01:52:13 GMT

In Latin America and other regions, many large-scale development projects, such as infrastructure or extractive industries initiatives, are financed by international financial institutions (IFIs) and have the potential for diverse social and environmental impacts. A long time in the making, most IFIs now have transparency and accountability mechanisms that allow citizens to actively participate in the IFI-funded projects that directly impact their lives. The selection of publications included here provides insights, cases, lessons learned and guidelines to help development practitioners, communities and civil society organisations (CSOs), among other stakeholders, access tools to activate IFIs accountability mechanisms and to actively participate in decision making about large-scale development projects in their communities.

Digitalized capacity build-up for aid coordination and entrepreneurship promotion in Republic of Azerbaijan

11 Mar 2016 01:23:51 GMT

2010 KSP with Azerbaijan was initiated in December 2009 when the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and the Baku Business Training Centre (BBTC) of the Government of Azerbaijan submitted a written Demand Survey Form. The form was officially channeled through the KOICA Azerbaijan office, the Embassy of Korea in Azerbaijan and the Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MOSF). There were 3 topics requested in total: (1) Improving the Aid Coordination System to Strengthen the data base for donor coordination and aid effectiveness; (2) Elaborating a policy direction for etraining for entrepreneurship development, and developing a program for elearning in this area; (3) Assessing the impact of the accession of Russia and Kazakhstan to the WTO earlier than anticipated on Azerbaijan.

Based on the priority listing of the topics submitted by the partner country and the relevance of the topic with the objective and framework of the Knowledge Sharing Program, the Korea Expert Consulting Group (KECG) tried to select and provide consultation in the areas where Korea has the necessary know-how and is ready to share its experience. Under such consideration, the following two topics were reviewed with great interest: (1) Improving the Aid Coordination System to Strengthen the data base for donor coordination and and aid effectiveness; (2) Elaborating a policy direction for e-training for entrepreneurship development, and developing a program for e-learning in this area

Impact of foreign aid on Korea's development

08 Mar 2016 02:22:29 GMT

This paper is an economic study of the impact of aid on  Korea, and the critical role it played in laying the foundations for sustainable development. There is little doubt that foreign assistance was invaluable in aiding Korea’s survival in the tumultuous years following its liberation in 1945 until the years immediately after the Korean War broke out in 1950. But assessing the longer term impact of aid on Korea’s development presents a more complex challenge. At one point, aid had a depilating effect on the economy and the government. Corruption and rent-seeking behavior had taken hold of a government dependent on aid, itself becoming an obstacle to reform and progress.

The lasting effects of aid and development policies on Korea can only be truly understood after taking a broader view of the development process. In this regard, advances in modern economics and the lessons of past reform experiences allow us to better explain Korea’s social and economic transformation.


Adaptive implementation of the five-year economic development plans

08 Mar 2016 02:19:11 GMT

Korea has an experience of economic development
that is quite different from that of Western industrial
countries. Their economic systems evolved alongside their political, social, and legal institutions, and economic achievements were the results of such evolutionary processes. Korea, in contrast, achieved economic development under institutions that were not as modernized as those of the Western countries'. For this reason, Korea's experience is more relevant to most developing countries aspiring towards rapid growth and industrialization.

The ongoing Knowledge Sharing Program that shares Korean cases of development experiences and policies with developing countries can serve as effective technical assistance, useful to the developing countries participating in the program and to Korea as well. In order to enable the Program to realize its potential of enhancing participating countries' economic performance, it was decided to document, study and draw lessons from concrete examples in Korean development experiences and policies. Five specific cases were selected for that purpose and reports are hereby published. This volume represents one of such

Towards financing the Millennium Development Goals of the Philippines

04 Mar 2016 03:36:53 GMT

The Philippines is lagging behind in terms of achieving the 2015 MDG targets or compared with her neighbours.

This study resulted from UNDP’s interest in the Philippine proposal for debt-to-MDG financing presented to the United Nations in September 2005. It is based on an analysis of the problem and the processes involved as well as consultations with key Philippine stakeholders, and views of creditor countries. One of the salient points of the study is the need to improve the Philippines’ performance to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. The Philippines lags behind in terms of achieving the 2015 MDG targets as compared with her neighbors. There is obviously a need to hasten and broaden activities, projects, and programs that will quickly address the problems. Another key point is the large gaps in financing the attainment of the MDG targets in 2006-2015. Although the enactment of new tax measures eased the fiscal situation starting in 2006, the additional fiscal resources are still inadequate to fully cover MDG resource requirements. Bridging the MDG financing gaps calls for policies geared toward improving income and employment generation as well as the savings mobilization of Filipinos.

The study suggests policies to promote equitable distribution of income and wealth to improve the MDGs substantially and reduce the MDG financing needs. It also proposes concrete recommendations to mobilize and safeguard MDG financing as well as policies for debt reduction or debt conversion to MDG financing.

Measures for assessing basic education in the Philippines

03 Mar 2016 11:40:42 GMT

The second goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to achieve universal primary education. The target is to reach all the MDGs by 2015. Trends in education indicators for monitoring the second MDG suggest that Philippines may probably not meet the target on achieving universal primary education. Indicators that monitor gender disparity in primary and secondary education suggest that females are at an advantage over males.

In this paper, various education indicators sourced from administrative reporting systems and surveys are looked into for assessing basic education in the country. Issues on the lack of comparability of figures from reporting systems, on the need to improve dissemination of education statistics, and on the need to properly link data with policy through a systematic monitoring and evaluation system are also discussed.

Policy study on the national and local government expenditures for Millennium Development Goals, 2000-2005

03 Mar 2016 11:36:18 GMT

In line with the commitment of the Philippine government to adopt the Millennium Declaration, there have been efforts geared toward the achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGs) particularly the specific targets set for each of the eight MDGs. The MDGs include eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; universal primary education; gender equality and women empowerment; reduction of child mortality; improvement of maternal health; control of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; environmental sustainability; and global partnership for development.

The country has to do better in certain aspects of all of the seven quantifiable goals, namely:

  • Goal 1 (poverty and hunger)
  • Goal 2 (education)
  • Goal 3 (gender equality)
  • Goal 5 (maternal health)
  • Goal 6 (control of communicable diseases), and Goal 7 (environmental sustainability).

In this regard, it is critical that the Philippines exercises greater vigilance and exerts increased effort in addressing the requirements of achieving the MDGs. The study aims to support this initiative by tracking and analyzing the trend in MDG expenditures of both the central and local governments. It specifically attempts to analyze trends on MDG expenditures of the national and local governments, including ODA commitments for the period 2000-2005; relate the trends in MDG expenditures with human development outcomes and related outputs/services; and recommend policy actions on how to a) increase government revenues in the aggregate, b) increase the allocation of resources for MDG-related programs and projects by improving both intersectoral and intrasectoral allocation, and c) identify ways of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of MDG-related programs.

Financing the Millennium Development Goals: the Philippines

03 Mar 2016 03:21:34 GMT

The improving fiscal situation in the Phili ppines presents an opportune time for the government to re-assess the resource requir ements of achieving the MDGs and to exercise greater vigilance in ensuring that the MDGs benefit from the fiscal space that has been created. In response, this study updated and expanded the earlier study on the financing of MDGs that was completed in 200 2. In particular, it es timated the financial requirements needed to achieve Goals 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7; co mpared the resource requirements with the funding level that is lik ely to be made available to determine the funding gap for each of these goals under altern ative macro and sectoral policy scenarios; taking existing NG-LGU expenditure assignment into account, arrived at a consolidated estimate of total general government resource requirement and resource gap in financing the said MDGs; and proposed how resources can optimally be managed, referring to both operational efficiencies and institutional arrangements, so as to maximize their effectiveness.

The estimates obtained from this study high light the fact that the Philippines cannot afford to be complacent and act as if it is “bus iness as usual.” It cannot be denied that the policy thrusts embodied in the MTPDP ar e supportive of the a ttainment of the Millennium Development Goals. In addition, the government, in general, and many government agencies, in particular, have al ready started to implement many policies, strategies and programs that are to enha nce the achievement of the MDGs. These policies, strategies and programs will have to be sustained or pursued with greater vigor. But beyond this, there is a need for furt her improvements in other policy areas and institutional arrangements.

The dynamics of Philippines-Japan economic cooperation: the case of Japan's Official Development Assistance in the Philippines

02 Mar 2016 11:25:41 GMT

The Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement is envisioned to further boost Japan's ODA to the Philippines, particularly for capital formation in the infrastructure sector. It will stimulate an increase in investment and capital accumulation causing more employment opportunities to be created. Output capacity will expand and so with cost of production. Moreover, export volume will increase at lower prices, thus enhancing competitiveness in the world market. Trade and business facilitation particularly among Japanese firms in the Philippines will be further enhanced due to an improvement in infrastructure and other support services, for instance, farm-to-market roads, energy, power and telecommunication, irrigation and information technology.

Potential economic gains on technical assistance and development cooperation for capacity-building in the fields of information and communication technology, science and technology, intellectual property, human resource development and the enhancement of the country’s capacity to design an appropriate competition policy are evident from the Agreement.

Furthermore, the proposed pact for economic partnership will be more beneficial to the Philippine economy as its institutions and their capabilities are upgraded particularly through technical cooperation in the areas of trade and investment activities, energy infrastructure development, government procurement, ecommerce and paperless trading. Philippine small-medium enterprises (SMEs) will capture immense economic benefits since the proposed economic cooperation will enhance greater trade and business facilitation. An increase in Japanese ODA channeled to the social sector will significantly improve poverty alleviation and human development. It will translate to an enhancement of skills and IT literacy that will ultimately improve the quality of labor force needed by the various sectors, particularly the industry and services. These skilled and IT-literate labor force can fill up the demand for well-trained technical professionals in Japanese economy. This will be further explored if mutual recognition of performance standards and assessment procedures of technical professionals will be agreed upon under JPEPA.

The Philippines` absorptive capacity for foreign aid

02 Mar 2016 09:57:25 GMT

Aid from donor to recipient countries on per capita basis declined from the decade of the 1980s to the 1990s. The main reason cited for this decline was “aid fatigue syndrome”, which refers to the serious doubts about the effectiveness of aid for development emerged after years of increasing aid flow during the preceding decades. Consequently, “aid effectiveness” became the subject of frequent meetings not only among donors but also between donors and recipients.

Looking at the recipient countries’ ability to absorb aid promptly, efficiently, and effectively would be useful to identify ways and means to improve aid effectiveness. Increasing the volume of aid without the consideration for the aid absorptive capacity of the recipient country will not result in a positive impact on aid effectiveness.

This study evaluates the Philippines’ absorptive performance for foreign aid, particularly during the six-year period 2003 to 2008, and compare this to that of the previous period, 1986 to 1988. We observe that the country’s capacity to absorb foreign aid has declined during the period under study compared to that of the previous period. The study traces the causes of the reduction in aid absorptive capacity to several factors -- both from the side of the recipient and donor country behavior -- which negatively affected the aid absorptive capacity.
The study discusses in detail these bottlenecks to aid absorption and provides policy recommendations to improve the country’s capacity for foreign aid absorption.

ASEAN's fledgling debt securities markets: more tasks ahead

02 Mar 2016 01:10:00 GMT

ASEAN economies have long recognized the importance of developing a deep and broad domestic debt securities market to complement the banking system in efficiently mobilizing and allocating financial resources. However, it was only in the early 1990s that they started to make bold steps to build a vibrant domestic debt securities market. The East Asian financial crisis has further strengthened their resolve to accelerate the development of their domestic debt security markets and reduce reliance on bank lending. Still, the overall performance of the debt security markets in these economies leaves much to be desired. Among the five ASEAN member countries, Singapore’s debt market is moving ahead of the rest, while those of the Philippines and Indonesia lag far behind. This paper has identified some tasks that ASEAN economies must do to accelerate the development of their fledgling debt securities markets. While some of the ASEAN member countries have already done some of these tasks, the Philippines still needs to start doing practically all of them.

Improving local service delivery for the MDGs in Asia: the case of the Philippines

01 Mar 2016 11:59:22 GMT

This report argues that improving local service delivery (LSD) is about improving people’s lives. It is premised on the idea that better provision of public goods and services is a prerequisite to realizing human capabilities, thus expanding human freedoms and enhancing human lives for a better society. It investigates on improving local delivery of MDG-critical services such as education, health, and water, with a view to formulating sectoral decentralization policy frameworks that would serve as inputs to national strategies and plans in improving LSD in the Philippines. It develops a Triangulation Framework as a tool of analysis that provides a perspective on how to better understand the dynamics of LSD systems and the requirements for improving them through the interdependence of policy, institutions, and finance. Corollary argument is that institutional actors take a primordial role in improving LSD systems and practices despite policy and financial gaps and development challenges. Policy, institutional, and financial analyses at the national level are provided in contextualizing the sectoral discussions on primary and secondary education, maternal and child health, and potable water based on sector analysis and performance outcomes in the LSD areas of Agusan del Sur and Dumaguete City. The main thrusts of the sectoral discussions are the key findings, issues and challenges, reforms and recommendations, and areas for further research.

Assessing development strategies to achieve the MDGs in Asia: Philippines (final report)

01 Mar 2016 11:17:09 GMT

The Philippines is a developing country with strong commitment to the millennium development goals (MDGs). However, it faces challenges in closing MDG gaps, owing to mediocre growth, macroeconomic instability, and financing constraints. Since the 1990s, increases in per capita incomes have been pulled down by tepid growth in productivity, rapid population growth, and macroeconomic instability. Since the mid-1980s, however, various reforms have been implemented to lay the foundation for sustained growth and poverty reduction.The external imbalance was a concern in the 1980s and 1990s, as the country endured balance of payments crises and persistent trade deficits; however, recently capital inflows have soared, due mainly to rapid growth of overseas remittances. The fiscal balance remains a policy challenge; public finance through borrowing, whether domestic or foreign, is complicated by large and persistent debt stocks. ODA has shrunk, owing in part to institutional factors. Recently public finance through taxation has suffered from tentative revenue effort.The country`s record in the MDGs is mixed. Progress has been made in child health, potable water, and sanitation. However, inroads against extreme poverty are complicated by an anomalous relationship between poverty and growth. The responsiveness of education outcome to public spending is apparently low; goals for education and maternal health remain elusive.

The study recommends attempting to close the MDG gaps using tax financing. This financing option is feasible in the sense that the required revenue effort has been achieved in previous decades. Admittedly, it entails a dramatic improvement in revenue effort compared to most recent (decadal) trends. This underscores the urgent, development-based rationale for raising tax collection efficiency, introducing new tax policies, in combination with public sector reforms for cost-effective service delivery.

Chasing civil society? Evaluation of Fredskorpset

01 Mar 2016 04:30:26 GMT

The evaluation has assessed FK Norway’s approach and strategy when it comes to strengthening civil society in developing countries. This is one of FK Norway’s overarching objectives and core activities, as stated in the instructions for the agency.

The evaluation has answered four main questions, in accordance with the terms of reference:

  1. Is the current strategy and approach of FK Norway optimal when it comes to developing and strengthening the civil society in developing countries?
  2. What is the comparative advantage of FK’s strategy, approach and work compared with other Norwegian funded means for developing and strengthening of the civil society in developing countries?
  3. What are the possible future options for FK when it comes to approach, set-up, programs and partners?
  4. What is the added value of FK’s programs for the civil society organisations, in particular those that receive other kind of Norwegian assistance?

The evaluation covers the period 2006-2015. It is based on data collected in Norway and two main case countries, Tanzania and Thailand, in addition to limited data collection in Uganda, South Africa and Cambodia.

The evaluation was conducted by Chr. Michelsen’s Institute in collaboration with Nordic Consulting Group, commissioned by the Evaluation Department in Norad.

Are we winning the fight against poverty? An assessment of the poverty situation in the Philippines

01 Mar 2016 02:51:31 GMT

In 2006, poverty incidence in the Philippines went up by 3 percentage points from 2003, marking a reversal against the downward trend in previous poverty estimates. This upward trend went against expectations after the Philippine economy exhibited a relatively robust performance during this period. The reasons as to why this has happened are explored in this paper. Meanwhile, income inequality measures do not show significant change over the years. Natural disasters and economic crises further add to the already difficult work of reducing poverty. The MDG deadline looms ahead and time is running out in the country`s battle against poverty. In this report, the poverty situation is again revisited and closely examined. It aims to assess whether the country has made any improvements or not and to answer several key questions such as: What should likely be the focus of poverty reduction efforts? Why is it that poverty rose despite the relatively fast economic growth in recent years? What can we learn from this experience?

[Draft - for discussion purposes only]

Financing the MDGs and inclusive growth in the time of fiscal consolidation

01 Mar 2016 02:23:08 GMT

The progress made by the national government in consolidating its fiscal position between 2002 and 2006 proved unsustainable as its revenue effort started to go down once again in 2007 after a brief improvement in 2005-2007. With the more expansionary stance taken by the government in 2009 as part of its effort to shield the economy from the effects of the global financial and economic crisis of 2008/9, the national government fiscal deficit jumped to 3.9% of GDP in 2009 and national government debt started to rise when measured relative to GDP.

Clearly, turning around the national government`s fiscal health should be high on the policy agenda. In previous episodes of fiscal consolidation, the easiest way to address the fiscal imbalance is by cutting expenditures. However, this option does not appear to be consistent with the government`s avowed commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and inclusive growth. After estimating the budgetary requirements of achieving the MDGs and inclusive growth, this paper shows that national government revenues need to increase from 14.3% of GDP in 2009-2010 to 17.5%-17.9% in 2012-2016 if fiscal consolidation were to be achieved while providing the fiscal space for the much needed basic social services and infrastructure.

The Aquino administration has repeatedly said that the much needed revenue increases will be derived solely from improvements in tax administration rather than from the imposition of new taxes or increases in the rate of imposition of existing taxes. The record of the BIR and BOC in increasing their revenue effort through improvements in tax administration does not inspire optimism, however. This study also cautions that tax administration improvements do not happen overnight primarily because the installation and operationalization of system-wide changes take time. Thus, it argues that there is a need for government to consider the imposition of new tax measures if fiscal consolidation is to be achieved without sacrificing the financing of MDGs and inclusive growth. The least distortionary options in this regard include:

  • the restructuring of excise tax on sin products
  • the rationalization of fiscal incentives, and
  • reforming the road user charge

In addition, the government should also consider the simplification of tax structure by reducing the number of rates at which various taxes are levied or by reducing the number of taxpayers/transactions/types of income which are exempt from any given tax.

Water financing programs in the Philippines: are we making progress?

26 Feb 2016 12:43:51 GMT

There is a low level of investments in water supply and sanitation, which as noted in the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan (PDP), has hindered the full achievement of the MDG target for this sector.

The paper argues the case for developing more innovative financing schemes for the water supply sector. The use of traditional ODA-dependent financing channeled through government lending institutions has a somewhat moderate success record in developing and improving the water supply sector. There are limitations to the use of public funds and public institutions in financing water delivery systems and it will be helpful to think of PPP or PSP arrangements or schemes that can come up with innovative solutions to address the issues in this sector. The Philippine Water Revolving Fund (PWRF) is one such innovative financing model and there could be others but developing and establishing such models will require the collaborative effort of the concerned stakeholders. Government lending institutions must be forced by policy makers to collaborate with the private sector in solving the long-standing water supply problem for a very large segment of the population. Those government lending institutions have the advantage of ODA funds, which they traditionally use to lend to target borrowers. The ODA funds can be blended with private sector resources, including credit
guarantees that have been demonstrated as good credit  enhancements, to lower the cost of financing water supply projects.

Growth and redistribution: Is there 'Trickle Down' Effect in the Philippines?

26 Feb 2016 11:18:24 GMT

There is a general belief that economic growth is linked to poverty reduction because growth offers economic opportunities to the poor to improve their lot. According to the trickle-down theory (Todaro, 1997), economic growth is favorable because economic gains from growth are transmitted to the poor through various means such as favorable labor market conditions and improved service provisions by the government (e.g., health, schooling, infrastructure etc.). Thus, policies should be centered in boosting the economy and promoting growth to improve living conditions of the people, eventually reducing poverty and improving the living conditions of the poor.

The aim of this study is to review the literature on the impact of growth on poverty reduction, measure empirically the difference between the determinants of growth and poverty in the Philippines, and examine how these two are related. This study intends to answer the question: Does the poor benefit from economic growth? The empirical part focuses on the Philippines, a country  characterised by a relatively modest economic growth, high levels of income inequality, and weak performance in poverty reduction.

Using regression analysis, five factors were examined (1) location
of the household, (2) access to infrastructure, (3) changes in rice prices, (4) peace situation, and (5) initial household endowments. The most important finding is that impacts of the five factors vary significantly across households belonging to different income groups—the rich benefit more than the poor. This calls for an effective policy intervention in targeting the poor.