Monday, January 10, 2011

Donors Aim for More Efficiency, Coherence in 2011

Article published by Devex - website here. Register with Devex for project and job announcements.

Aid effectiveness appears to top the priorities of several donors this 2011, with the new year ushering in the operationalization of Germany’s new aid agency, as well as the formal launch of a new directorate within the European Union.

Germany’s Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, or GIZ, which began work Jan. 1, is the merger of three development agencies: the German Technical Cooperation, or GTZ, German Development Service, or DED, and Inwent. GIZ is the result of one of the most sweeping, and swift, reforms seen in German development cooperation in recent years.

GIZ is placed under the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, or BMZ, giving the federal government complete control over German development aid operations once again. The creation of GIZ is likely to make German aid more efficient, but, as some critics note, not necessarily more effective.

Foremost among critics’ concerns is the vaguenesss of its organizational structure, which the German government has yet to unveil. Questions also abound on how the merger will affect staffing and procurement. While the German government gave assurances that there will be no layoffs following the merger of the three agencies, fears over staff shifts are still rife.

Meanwhile, the new Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid, or DG DEVCO, became operational Jan. 3. The European Commission merged DG EuropeAid and DG Development following an announcement in October 2010. The goal of the merger, according to the commission, is to create a single voice for the EU on development and cooperation. Fokion Fotiadis will head the directorate. Its new structure is expected to be fully in place by April 2011.

The merger of the two directorates is part of the transitional measures on development that the EU is undertaking. Some former staff members of DG Development were among the 1,643 permanent officials from the European Commission and Council of Ministers who were transferred to the newly created European External Action Service on Jan. 1.

This year, more changes to national and international aid structures can be expected. The U.K. will release the findings of its sweeping multilateral and bilateral aid review in February and March 2011, while the U.S. is set to implement reforms outlined in the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.

The development community is waiting to see whether or not these new and expected reforms will make aid more effective and efficient.

Read more development news.

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