Sunday, February 21, 2010

OECD and Center for Global Development resources on aid effectiveness

As the response to Haiti turns from acquiring funds to absorbing the money on the ground into meaningful reconstruction work, you might be wondering how effective your country’s response is. While many of us have donated to non-governmental organizations, wonderful groups such as Partners in Health who have labored to improve socio-economic conditions in Haiti since well before this earthquake, the high-level organization and often the actual implementation of reconstruction work is the province of donor governments, generally under the supervision of the United Nations. My previous post provides a link to an excellent article about the challenges all of these stakeholders are facing in implementing the humanitarian response in Haiti, but what about efforts in other developing countries? Who is measuring up, serving as strong program managers and implementers that bring about sustainable socio-economic change, and who is coming up short?
This question is really more the theme of this blog than a question I, or anybody else, could answer in a single blog post. Certainly, I will not attempt to provide an answer to this question here, but I think it is important to know where to look for some answers.
Here are two good resources available online for those interested. If you have a lot of time on your hands (or, like me, find yourself needing to research this stuff), this site provides links to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) periodic peer reviews of the 23 donor countries who are members of its Development Assistance Committee (the OECD-DAC). Each review provides roughly 100 pages of analysis on issues such as 1) a donor’s organizational effectiveness (the institutional structures and legislative accountability of aid agencies such as the US Agency for International Development or the UK’s Department for International Development) and 2) the donor’s “policy coherence,” meaning the extent to which the donor is committed to development through its domestic and foreign policies. The analysis in these peer reviews is generally very strong and lends itself well to comparison since each report is structured similarly.
For those of you looking for some quick answers and/or are perhaps interested in disaggregated rankings for performance on issues such as migration and environmental sustainability, issues the OECD reports do not tackle, the Center for Global Development’s yearly Commitment to Development Index is very useful. It provides a rank-order listing of donors, with Sweden topping off this year’s list. The U.S. does not perform particularly well in this index - this blog will delve more into why this is in subsequent posts.


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