In this issue we release the latest data on aid to fragile states; and with an increase in funding to global programmes and recently the Gates Foundation, we ask – 'Do global programmes work?'

Some fragile states are receiving less aid than they should, given their extreme poverty combined with governance indicators which are no worse than other low income countries receiving more aid. But these countries tend to be less strategic and attract relatively little international attention. Have they been left behind?


July 2006

Aid to fragile states is not keeping up with the recent growth in aid to other low-income countries...

A new OECD DAC report monitors resource flows to fragile states, and is an information tool to help policy makers in donor agencies make more informed decisions. Aid to fragile states is not keeping up with the recent growth in aid to other low-income countries.

There are exceptions. For example aid volumes to post conflict fragile states tend to rise in the early stages of their recovery, because they often represent a strategic interest to the international community. In some cases, low levels of aid need to be understood within the context of deteriorating governance, and a lack of human rights. These largely explain low aid levels in countries like Myanmar.

Funds to HIV/AIDS programmes in fragile states appear to be on the increase.

Do global programmes work?

Warren Buffet’s massive donation to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation raises the question, 'How effective are global funds, whether public or private?' Governments are putting more of their aid through global programmes, and development spending by private foundations is on the rise.

Uma Lele formerly of the independent evaluation department of the World Bank (IEG), led the first and largest evaluation of 70 global programmes in 2005. As guest contributors for DACNews, Uma and her World Bank (IEG) colleagues, Nafis Sadik and Adele Simmons sum up their findings.

Their report suggests that the rising popularity of global programmes could be in part, because the public tend to be cynical about traditional aid organisations and happier to endorse Bono, Gates, Clinton and Buffett as their champions of the third world poor.

These new 'champions' have helped to dramatically raise aid funding from unconventional sources. But what the new resources achieve will depend greatly on how they are channelled. This evaluation of global programmes raises doubts about the wisdom of some popular approaches and suggest directions for reform of the aid architecture.

Many global programmes have signed up to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, for example, but just how compatible they are with comprehensive country led approaches is still to be clarified.  'Global Programmes and the Paris Agenda' will be the subject of a policy workshop, jointly organised by the World Bank and the DAC in December, back-to-back with the DAC's annual senior level meeting.

A major OECD DAC report on funding for philanthropic foundations will also be a useful reference document.

Uma Lele's report concludes that 'only a few global programmes provide true global public goods' (the Gates Foundation has provided some of the successes). What’s needed, the authors argue, is a new 'global strategy' with a limited set of goals, and a plan for better co-ordination.

On the subject of evaluations, the OECD initiated a recent independent survey of General Budget Support. It found that budget support can be an effective way to strengthen public financial systems in developing countries, and in some cases has improved access to health care and education. But donors need to make sure they analyse political risks thoroughly…

Please visit the following
DAC evaluation websites

Evaluation of Development Programmes

Network on Development Evaluation

Evaluation Resource Centre (DEReC)

Also in this issue...

Peer Reviews

What is a Peer Review?

News in Brief

OECD DAC countries ODA in 2005:
US$ 106.5 billion - Up 31.4% since 2004 in real terms -
Percentage of GNI 0.33%

OECD DAC Statistics including Aid at a Glance charts for DAC members and recipient countries.

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