Monday, June 27, 2011

Progress on the G20 Development Working Group Agenda

The Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth, a long-term growth and development agenda was adopted by the G-20 in Cannes last year (linked here). The aim of the G-20 framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth is to encourage G-20 countries to implement coherent medium-term policy frameworks in order to attain a mutually beneficial growth path and avoid future crises.

It contains nine pillars:

1. Financing infrastructure

2. Human resource development

3. Trade

4. Private investment and job creation

5. Food security

6. Growth with resilience

7. Financial inclusion

8. Domestic resource mobilization

9. Knowledge sharing

G-20 Development Working Group (DWG) ongoing discussions focus on delivering against the action points from the Cannes summit in November, however for 2012 there will be a need to follow up and prioritize the nine pillars.

Recently, Overseas Development Institute's analyst Dirk Willem te Velde, head of the ODI Investment and Growth Program, has written a short update of progress on the 9 pillars. He sees progress in the 9 areas as very uneven, and suggests a new 10th pillar focusing on natural resource management. 

Read his critique linked here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Challenge of Corruption

With governments committing huge sums to tackle the world's most pressing problems, from the instability of financial markets to climate change and poverty, corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much needed progress. The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index score below five, on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt). These results indicate a serious corruption problem.

To address these challenges, governments need to integrate anti-corruption measures in all spheres, from their responses to the financial crisis and climate change to commitments by the international community to eradicate poverty. Transparency International advocates stricter implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, the only global initiative that provides a framework for putting an end to corruption. Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore are tied at the top of the list with a score of 9.3, followed closely by Finland and Sweden at 9.2. Bringing up the rear is Somalia with a score of 1.1, slightly trailing Myanmar and Afghanistan at 1.4 and Iraq at 1.5.

Notable among decliners over the past year are some of the countries most affected by a financial crisis precipitated by transparency and integrity deficits. Among those improving in the past year, the general absence of OECD states underlines the fact that all nations need to bolster their good governance mechanisms. 

The message is clear: across the globe, transparency and accountability are critical to restoring trust and turning back the tide of corruption. Without them, global policy solutions to many global crises are at risk.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Make Aid Transparent

The Make Aid Transparent campaign is a coalition of civil society organisations who have come together to call on donors to publish more and better information about the aid they give.

For more information about aid transparency visit here.

"Aid makes a real difference. It can save lives, put kids into school, and reduce poverty and suffering. But at the moment no one knows exactly how much money is being spent, where or on what. In most cases, not even governments receiving aid have a full picture of where all the money goes. This undermines aid’s potential and its effectiveness. With more information, citizens in both donor and recipient countries could know whether aid money was having the best possible impact."

"2011 is a critical moment. Governments have promised to be more transparent and at a big international meeting at the end of this year we have the chance to hold them to account. A public push for greater transparency now will make a huge difference. Governments are reviewing their commitments and if they feel public pressure they will redouble efforts to keep their promises."


Monday, June 13, 2011

5 Steps to Make Aid More Effective and Save $2 Billion

John Norris and Connie Veillette of the Center for Global Development recently published a short brief on ways to improve effectiveness of U.S. aid delivery.

An extract below....

Most Americans wildly overestimate foreign aid as a percentage of the federal budget, which makes it unsurprising that U.S. foreign aid programs once again find themselves at the center of the debate as the budget battles heat up in Washington. 

Policymakers are seemingly divided into two camps: those who want to deeply cut foreign aid and those who want to maintain spending levels and make programs work more effectively.

But there is a third way that makes a great deal of sense. It saves taxpayers billions of dollars and will make aid programs more effective and more likely to produce lasting results.

This brief (link here) details how the new Congress could save more than $500 million annually by eliminating unnecessary regulations currently in place that are incredibly wasteful, anti-competitive, and make it harder to carry out effective development programs abroad.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Unique Approach for Higher Education at ITSON

Most universities teach, do research, or do both. Another model exists which blend teaching and research along with serving as an incubator for the ecosystem it serves. 

By partnering with local business, not only will usual academic endeavors continue but a new source of revenue can be developed while adding measurable value to all stakeholders, including society. This new approach to Mega thinking and planning or provided here along with metrics for measuring value added.

In this recent paper authors Roger Kaufman, Mariano Bernardez, and Gonzalo Rodríguez Villanueva, describe the practicality of this approach taken by the Sonora Institute of Technology (ITSON) in Mexico. It is shown not only as theoretical but is supported by several other real-life applications.

The key is metrics — data from which you can plan, implement, and evaluate—are critical to any data-driven initiative. Proving value-for-money is almost universally seen as an organizational imperative, especially as funding is in increasing short supply.

Building on past university commitments, ITSON both ethically and economically adds value to its students, faculties, staff, and communities. This is both economic and ethical.  Full paper linked here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

AIDWatch to the Finishline

This is the sixth year that development NGOs from all 27 EU countries have come together through the AidWatch initiative to produce this report, under the umbrella of CONCORD. 

CONCORD is the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development. Its 25 national associations and 18 international networks represent over 1,600 NGOs which are supported by millions of citizens across Europe.

It is part of the Global Call to Action against Poverty, the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness, BetterAid and the Spring Alliance. More on

The report is linked here.

What is Aid Watch?

Monday, June 6, 2011

G8 Summit - Deauville G8 Declaration

Beyond aid plans for the Middle Eastern and North African countries, the final communique from G-8 leaders in Deauville, France, outlined their commitments to global efforts to improve health and food security. 

A number of international non-governmental organizations, however, criticized the communique for its vague language and lack of concrete targets.

May 26-27, 2011,  Deauville, France


1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Eight, met in Deauville on 26 and 27 May 2011. In this period of change, we reaffirmed our profound commitment to the values of freedom and democracy, and their universality.

2. In light of the recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, we renewed our commitment to support democratic reform around the world and to respond to the aspirations for freedom, including freedom of religion, and empowerment, particularly for women and youth. Democracy lays the best path to peace, stability, prosperity, shared growth and development. 

We met with the Prime Ministers of Egypt and Tunisia, and decided to launch an enduring partnership with those countries engaging in a transition to democracy and tolerant societies. Our common goal is to develop the rule of law and citizen engagement as well as foster economic and social reforms to meet the aspirations of the people. We have adopted a declaration on the Arab spring.

3. In Deauville, we have renewed a strong partnership with Africa, building on commitments made for over a decade. We have emphasized our mutual responsibilities and decided to be even more accountable regarding our respective commitments to development, peace and security. We reaffirmed our commitment to transparency and governance – critical drivers of progress. 

We welcomed the new dynamism of our African partners and the spread of democracy, and committed to stand even more strongly side-by-side with the people of the African continent. We welcomed the democratically elected Presidents of Côte-d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger. For the first time, we have adopted a joint declaration together with African Leaders.

4. In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, we expressed our heartfelt sympathy for the victims and solidarity with the people and government of Japan, and paid tribute to the courage and dignity which they have shown in the face of the disaster. We are fully confident in the ability of the Japanese authorities to respond to the challenge and build a speedy and lasting recovery, and we stand ready to assist as needed.

5. We discussed new issues such as the Internet which are essential to our societies, economies and growth. For citizens, the Internet is a unique information and education tool, and thus helps to promote freedom, democracy and human rights. The Internet facilitates new forms of business and promotes efficiency, competitiveness, and economic growth. 

Governments, the private sector, users, and other stakeholders all have a role to play in creating an environment in which the Internet can flourish in a balanced manner. In Deauville in 2011, for the first time at Leaders’ level, we agreed, in the presence of some leaders of the Internet economy, on a number of key principles, including freedom, respect for privacy and intellectual property, multi-stakeholder governance, cyber-security, and protection from crime, that underpin a strong and flourishing Internet. The “e-G8” event held in Paris on 24 and 25 May was a useful contribution to these debates.

6. Our advanced and closely integrated economies face common challenges and opportunities. Recovery is strengthening. Our priority remains to promote job creations for our citizens. We pledged to continue our efforts to generate strong, sustainable, and balanced growth and will work with our partners in the G20 to this end.

7. New growth drivers are required. We committed to prioritizing growth-enhancing policies such as research, education and innovation, which are crucial to our knowledge economies. We will foster green growth as it is essential to fight global warming, represents a promising source of jobs for our societies, and reflects a shared aspiration for more sustainable development.

8. Building on our experience, we marked our determination to draw all the lessons from the nuclear accident in Japan, including the necessity to promote the highest levels of safety, consistent with the principles of the Convention on Nuclear Safety. We noted the necessity to consider strengthening the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, as well as upgrading norms and standards of nuclear safety. 

Meanwhile, we noted with great satisfaction that this year, which marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl accident, the international community was able to pledge substantial financial resources for the completion of the international effort to convert the Chernobyl site into a stable and environmentally safe condition.

9. We will continue to act in support of peace and international security.

10. We demand the immediate cessation of the use of force against civilians by the Libyan regime forces and support a political solution that reflects the will of the Libyan people. We call on the Syrian leadership to stop using force and intimidation against the Syrian people and to engage in dialogue and fundamental reforms in response to the legitimate expression of the demands of the Syrian people. 

We are convinced that the historic changes throughout the region make the solution of the Israeli-Palestine conflict through negotiations more important, not less. We urge both parties to engage without delay in substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues.

11. We renew our commitment to implement all our obligations under the NPT and to support and promote the global non-proliferation architecture in all its aspects. We are committed to stemming the severe proliferation challenges, particularly in Iran and DPRK, which represent a threat to global stability. We ask our experts to explore ways of ensuring fair and responsible access to the benefits of the peaceful uses of technologies. 

We will consolidate progress in the fight against violent extremism, international terrorism and drug trafficking and will continue our common efforts to tackle these scourges. We renew our commitment in favour of a stable, peaceful and sovereign Afghanistan and of stability and cooperation throughout the region.

12. We will meet next year under the presidency of the United States of America.
* * *

Saturday, June 4, 2011

World Bank Calibrating Sustainability Measurement

This is an extract. See the full IPS article by Emilio Godoy here.

The World Bank is working to update the mechanisms it uses to measure the effects of the financing it provides, particularly in environmental and social terms, now that it is gearing up to administer the new Green Climate Fund.

"The Bank is working to deepen the measurement of impacts," not only "the outcomes associated with a project, but also its long-term effects, such as impacts on health, ecosystems or the quality of life of the population," Gustavo Saltiel, the director of sustainable development for the World Bank in Mexico, told Tierramérica.

The World Bank has established safeguard policies to "promote socially and environmentally sustainable approaches to development as well as to ensure that Bank operations do not harm people and the environment," according to its website.

These safeguard policies include the Bank's policy on environmental assessment of loan proposals and the corresponding safeguards regarding cultural property, disputed areas, forestry, indigenous peoples, international waterways, involuntary resettlement, natural habitats, pest management and safety of dams.

Evaluations of these policies "have demonstrated the poor work done (by the Bank) in monitoring the execution of measures to mitigate social and environmental risks," Vince McElhinny of the non-governmental Bank Information Center, based in Washington, told Tierramérica.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Aid & International Development Forum, June 8-9, Washington, DC

Join MCC, USAID, and the World Bank, among many others, at the Aid and International Development Forum, June 8-9, 2011 in Washington, DC.

The Aid and International Development Forum brings together decision makers from the UN, NGOs, government, and intergovernmental organizations involved in the delivery of aid relief and development programs. Participants will benefit from networking opportunities, interactive workshops and seminars, and demonstrations of the latest innovations in action.

This event will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and is free to attend -- learn more and register online here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Excuses for Not Doing Impact Evaluations

An extract of a recent commentary by William Savedoff of Center for Global Development.

Recently, I was called for advice by someone who will be running a workshop attended by people who implement and evaluate programs. 
She asked me to help her anticipate the main objections raised against doing impact evaluations—evaluations that measure how much of an outcome can be attributed to a specific intervention–and to suggest possible responses.  I realized that five particular objections come up over and over again. 

Objection #1: “We already spend a lot on evaluation”

Objection #2: “Impact evaluation methods can’t be applied in our field”

Objection #3: “Impact evaluations cost too much”

Objection #4: “We know that our programs work so it would be a waste of money”

Objection #5: “Impact evaluations don’t affect policy decisions”
See the full expanded argument at this link.