Assistance Coherence and Effectiveness
- The Paris Declaration (March 2005)
- The French Action Plan for Assistance Effectiveness
- The European Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labor in Development Policy (May 2007)
- The 3rd High Level Forum on Economic Development Assistance Effectiveness held in Accra from September 2nd - 4th, 2008
The concept of assistance effectiveness has emerged in the context of adopting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the UN, in September 2000, and the expected increase in public economic development assistance following the commitments made during the Monterrey Conference regarding financing economic development (2002).
The first international conference was held in Rome in February 2003 at the OECD DCD’s (www.oecd.org/cad) and a group of donor countries’ initiative. The final declaration in Rome, bringing together around forty assistance agencies and 28 beneficiary countries, sealed a mutual commitment to improve assistance effectiveness by implementing “good practices” in order to comply with the priorities of the beneficiary countries, simplify and harmonize procedures, and place more emphasis on results. A seminar took place in Marrakech in February 2004 on the theme of managing results-oriented assistance. Targeted regional workshops were then organized under the aegis of regional development banks, among others.
The Paris Declaration (March 2005)
The process made a significant step with the Paris Conference in March 2005. Indeed, the conference provided for achieving relatively precise commitments and a battery of 12 indicators for measuring the progress achieved for each of these commitments.
The Paris Declaration (PD) has five working headings whose range and practical difficult vary considerably:
Harmonizing financial backer intervention methods with procedures in receiving countries: using national systems and institutions (particularly contracting procedures, financial reports, and the ultimate goal which is to extend up to budgetary assistance).
Aligning on national priorities in which assistance is part of the national policy framework more clearly affirmed by beneficiary countries (appropriation)
Coordinating and sharing the workload between financial backers: developing common approaches, sharing the workload between sectors and between countries to avoid bottlenecks in those countries most appreciated by financial backers and the “assistance orphans” syndrome.
Results-oriented management, aimed at achieving specific results, targeted by both the assistance and the recipient state’s normal budget.
The need for transparent reporting on the use of assistance in donor and recipient countries.
The French Action Plan for Assistance Effectiveness
To implement the commitments made as part of the Paris Declaration, France has drafted an action plan, validated by the COSP (Conference on Strategic Orientation and Planning) in December 2006. This document presents the commitments made by France to achieve the targets set in the Paris Declaration. However, it goes beyond this, particularly in a more detailed presentation of the themes of workload sharing and predictability. This plan is organized around three primary headings detailed in 12 concrete measures;
Priority to reinforcing capacities:
Major assistance effectiveness issues, even if they are not deeply discussed in the Paris declaration, drafting and implementing public policies requires assistance in terms of reinforcing capacities. This is an opportunity to promote French expertise in this domain. The action plan proposes developing this type of action, in a coordinated framework, by calling upon local expertise where possible.
Developing the Partnership Framework Document Tool:
The partnership framework document, a reference instrument for programming French assistance on the middle-term, is a tool for implementing the Paris Declaration on several points: sharing workload between financial backers, aligning on national policies, assistance predictability, results-oriented management. The progressive development of this instrument should provide for consolidating partnership practices, around the principle of mutual responsibility. The quantified appendix should become a steering tool for assistance and improving control over disbursements. More specifically, assistance should be increasingly a part of program approaches (budgetary assistance, mutual funds, coordinated project assistance).
Improving French management procedures and practices:
More broadly, the action plan opens several projects with regards to management procedures and practices in the assistance scheme. An essential query is in regards to French actors’ capacities for playing their full role in the discussion and harmonization process. This involves de-concentrating decision-making to allow actors in the field to participate in this dialogue effectively, as well as sizing the human resources present in the field. With regards to predictability, an in-depth reflection should lead to better budget constraint management.
The European Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labor in Development Policy (May 2007)
The Code of Conduct adopted by the European Union Council in May 2007 enriches the discussion about assistance complementarity and proposes practical solutions to financial backers for the implementation of the division of labor in development policy. The code proposes significant advances to EU Member States with regards to the Paris Declaration.
Regarding the division of labor
- reducing the number of priorities to 3 per country and per financial backer;
- financial backers have the option of proceeding with delegated cooperation or through global budgetary assistance in non-priority sectors;
- a maximum of 3 to 5 countries per sector, with a leader having a clear mandate for coordinating and discussing with the country’s authorities
- the same applies to regional organizations;
- a few sectors are deemed to be non-concentration: governance, research, university education;
- defining, for each financial backer, general comparative advantages in terms of sectors and tool types and concentration in these sectors;
- reducing the number of target countries for each donor country;
- defining assistance envelopes on the middle-term and improving the distribution between countries in order to avoid having “assistance orphan” countries.
Regarding the affirmation of the European Union’s presence
- presence of at least one EU member in all developing countries and in all important sectors;
- universal competence for the European Commission: it must be present in all developing countries, but it my delegate the implementation of its actions to Member States.
The 3rd High Level Forum on Economic Development Assistance Effectiveness held in Accra from September 2nd - 4th, 2008
The 3rd High Level Forum on Economic Development Assistance Effectiveness was held in Accra from September 2nd to 4th, 2008. This conference, organized jointly by the OECD, World Bank, and Ghana, was aimed at assessing the implementation of the Paris Declaration with regards to assistance effectiveness and proposing measures to accelerate progress. The French Secretary of State for Cooperation and the French-speaking World, Alain Joyandet, conducted negotiations in the name of the French Presidency of the European Union.
Six points are to be retained from this conference:
i. Numerous, diversified participants: result of a broadly participative process, the Accra Forum mobilized 150 delegations with some 1,300 participants from the political sphere from the bi- and multilateral financial backer community and civil society.
ii. An original negotiating dynamic: the conference overcame the traditional north / south boundaries. The negotiations for the conclusions saw southern countries (lead by Ghana and South Africa) and the European Union adopt similar positions forcing Japan and the United States to go further in their commitments than they intended. For the first time, proposed by Alain Joyandet, the emerging countries (China, India, Brazil...) were called upon to implement the principles of the Paris Declaration when they act as donor countries.
iii. A vigorously discussed action program (AAA): France, supported by all its European Union partners, mobilized to have the AAA include concrete measures and a specific schedule, to ensure quick progress, on the basis of the Council’s July 22nd conclusions.
iv. The Accra conclusions present several practical points of progress: in addition to extending the perimeter for untying assistance to highly indebted non-LDCs, the conclusions commit donors to greater transparency in assistance and predictability, using national systems in beneficiary countries, harmonized conditions based on results, and progressing in the division of labor between financial backers in countries. Beneficiary countries committed to greater transparency and more systematic association of parliaments and civil society in designing and implementing development policies.
v. Content better articulated with development issues: the conference highlighted the need to mobilize diversified financing sources and most of all the internal taxation in the relevant countries. The Secretary of State for Cooperation and the French-speaking World seized the opportunity of the roundtable dedicated to countries in fragile situations, under his chairmanship, to highlight the importance of adapting the assistance effectiveness scheme to this context.
vi. A call for formalizing and implementing, as quickly as possible, the global partnership for agriculture and food proposed in Rome for the month of June 2008 by the President of the Republic.
In total the High Level Accra Forum’s success is particularly due to broad participation crowning a major participative process, reflecting the diversity of situations and actors in economic development assistance and drafting specific propositions, accompanied by schedules susceptible of developing the collective practices of financial backers. Constructive and ambitious positions taken by the French Presidency of the European Union were revealed in several press releases by civil society organizations.
Continued Work on Effectiveness in the OECD and in the Field
The priority is now to implementing, in the field, the numerous, practical commitments made in Accra. This work is taking place both in the framework of the OECD’s working group on assistance effectiveness and in the field:
at the OECD, the working group on assistance effectiveness was re-organized after the Accra conference - it broadened its composition and redefined a working program that should bring it to the 4th High Level Forum on Assistance Effectiveness to be held in Seoul in 2011. The group is organized according to 5 complementary working headings or thematic poles each covering concrete elements for implementing the Paris Declaration principles and the Accra Action Plan:
Pole A. “Appropriation and Mutual Responsibility;”
Pole B. “Reinforcing and Using National Systems;”
Pole C. “Promoting Transparent, Responsible Assistance;”
Pole D. “Monitoring and Assessing the Progress Achieved;”
Pole E. “Results-oriented Management.”
within the French scheme the CICID requested a revision of the 2006 French Action Plan for Assistance Effectiveness. A broad consultation was organized with ambassadorial services and AFD agencies in the field to identify the progress and difficulties applying the commitments made with regards to assistance effectiveness and the emerging issues that could be broached in Seoul. These consultations will constitute a significant contribution in the review of the assistance effectiveness action plan.
Updated on 21.01.10