The economic crisis has made aid for trade more important than ever as a means of helping developing countries access global markets and take advantage of opportunities that can help them out of poverty. Through the Aid for Trade Initiative, we work with OECD's Trade Directorate and the World Trade Organisation to enhance donor co-ordination and alignment, provide practical guidance and promote coherence between aid and trade in donor and developing countries.
Our Guidelines on Applying Strategic Environmental Assessment help to integrate environmental considerations into aid programmes and strategies, establishing a more harmonised, effective approach. Through our Network on Environment and Development Co-operation (ENVIRONET), we also address issues such as green growth and climate change, always with a strong emphasis on practical, evidence-based advice drawn from good practice examples around the world.
Efforts to harmonise and compare assessments of democratic governance are hampered by the plethora of different tools and approaches used by donors. A Survey of Donor Approaches to Governance Assessment carried out by our Network on Governance (GOVNET) found 17 general assessment tools in use and had a further 9 under development, as well as 13 thematic tools in use and 7 under development. GOVNET's work covers a range of governance issues, from human rights and accountability to anti-corruption.
Conflict and fragility
Although ODA to fragile states is growing, it is increasingly concentrated in a limited number of states: in 2009, ODA to fragile states totalled USD 46.7 billion, but half of it went to only eight countries. Funding imbalances are not the only problem. Our International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) works with donors and fragile states to develop and apply tailored models that address the unique development challenges in situations of conflict and fragility, such as the ten Fragile States Principles.
Gender equality is not just a fundamental human right, but also a key ingredient for economic growth. But despite good intentions - donors gave USD 25 million to the cause in 2009-10 - policy makers have generally struggled to turn gender equality into a reality on the ground. Our Network on Gender Equality (GENDERNET) is the only international forum that defines common approaches and shares good practice, innovative ideas and state-of-the-art research to boost funding for gender equality and promote women's economic empowerment.
Why has growth been more successful in reducing poverty in some countries than others? How can poor women and men best participate in and benefit from the growth process? Why is pro-poor growth important and what can donors do to promote it? We help promote poverty reduction through economic growth by identifying binding constraints and offering thematic policy recommendations and strategies to address them.