Increasingly, trade is becoming a priority for many developing countries and is being mainstreamed in development strategies. However, assessing the impacts of trade-related interventions is difficult. Yet keeping track of results is needed to help in making policy choices. This project will provide guidance in establishing frameworks which are useful for tracking trade results. The project is demand driven and will put the developing countries in the driver seat. This not only promotes ownership but will also lead to better prioritisation, identification of binding constraints and appropriate sequencing of policies and aid-for-trade programmes, and improved mutual accountability. Too often evaluating the efforts of aid for trade has focused on donor interventions at the project level – this project is about putting a spotlight on the country’s overall trade and development strategies and how donors are supporting those strategies.
There is strong political demand to demonstrate the outcomes and impacts of aid for trade. This pressure has increased in light of the significant amount of aid that has been directed toward this area of development co-operation since the launch of the Aid-for-Trade Initiative in 2005. In response, the OECD (the DAC and the Trade Committee) has agreed to develop a menu of a limited set of indicators to measure the performance of aid-for-trade interventions towards quantifiable targets and objectives and to take this work to the country level through a series of country case studies in a number of select partner countries. These include Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Vietnam. This OECD Study is being carried out in close collaboration with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and with the financial support of the European Union.
Members have strongly emphasised the prerogative of partner countries to set their own trade-related targets and objectives (i.e. they are country ‘owned’) as part of their broader development strategies. This implies that the case studies should be demand driven and that case-study countries should be intimately involved in conducting the studies. Furthermore, donors present in the partner country should also be involved from the start of the project.
The OECD Study has received strong support from the WTO Members as highlighted in the concluding remarks of the Director-General of the WTO Pascal Lamy to the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade where he stated that: “We must take monitoring and evaluation down to the country and regional level and redouble efforts with the OECD to develop a menu of meaningful performance indicators which partners and donors alike can use for planning and implementation.”
The outcome document of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation also emphasised the need for progress in this area when it concluded that: “(…) country‐led and country‐level results frameworks and platforms will be adopted as a common tool among all concerned actors to assess performance based on a manageable number of output and outcome indicators drawn from the development priorities and goals of the developing country. Providers of development cooperation will minimise their use of additional frameworks, refraining from requesting the introduction of performance indicators that are not consistent.”
The conclusions of the joint OECD-WTO Dialogue on Aid for Trade in Busan further detailed the challenges ahead and stressed that aid would need to be managed better to achieve trade and development results in a manner that would strengthen aid effectiveness and contribute to the ongoing process of prioritising trade within the evolving aid dialogue.
The purpose of this OECD Study is to provide the aid-for-trade community with good practices in designing and introducing results frameworks for aid-for-trade projects and programmes based on country-defined quantifiable targets and a menu of limited number of indicators to measure performance (i.e. outcomes and impacts). The case studies will identify the targets and performance indicators used in the country and discuss options to introduce or improve these measurement frameworks to strengthen transparency and mutual accountability.
A greater focus on results must not, however, lead to a proliferation of individual donor systems to define and measure performance. Thus, the results frameworks should be based on country systems, which would allow for the tracking of progress (results) at sector and country-level, and at the same time, contribute to fulfilling mutual accountability requirements. Such an approach would help advancing the aid effectiveness principles and the outcome of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan.
More specifically, practical country-based approaches for managing aid to achieve trade and development results will increase transparency and objectivity of decision making, promoting alignment of donors with partner country’s trade-related objectives and targets, reducing parallel results reporting processes, increasing mutual accountability and allow for country comparisons.
Such an outcome would also allow making progress in strengthening the usefulness of the aid-for-trade country factsheets, which are part of the joint OECD-WTO aid-for-trade monitoring and evaluation framework. In addition, the country case study would also provide input for a discussion on the type of trade-related goals that could be introduced at the country level in the period after the ‘rendezvous’ on the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
Ownership and Accountability