Communication and development

DevCom Seminar “Communicating Development Results”


Hosted and co-organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), this DevCom Seminar on “Communicating Development Results” took place on 23 & 24 April 2012 in Washington DC, United States.



The “Results and Accountability” and “Transparency” building blocks of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation call on development communicators to convey credible evidence for progress in poverty reduction. For accountability purposes, both multilateral and bilateral donors are in quest for showing value for money, and proving development effectiveness. Building on the independent analytical capacity of DevCom and the expertise and long-standing experience of the IDB, this seminar leverages donor expertise from every region of the world towards the common goal of improving results communication. As a forum for peer learning, it fosters strategic partnerships, dialogue, and consultation between multilateral organisations and bilateral donors.


In today's interconnected global reality, multilateral institutions play a central role in the aid architecture. The total use of the multilateral system by DAC donors reached a historic high in 2009 at USD 51 billion, which makes for 40% of total ODA. In the increasingly complex multilateral aid system, donors have less direct oversight and strive to gain greater visibility. How to communicate achievements of multilateral assistance and the impact of an individual donor’s contribution to ordinary citizens? The arguments against multilateral system arise: high levels of bureaucracy, overlaps with other agencies, fragmentation, high costs and salaries, remoteness and lack of accountability. Opinion polls show that the public morally supports aid, but more and more often questions the effectiveness of its use by donors: is pooling of resources really the most effective way to reduce poverty and bring about development?


Multilateral development agencies and banks are required to present results to their shareholders and to show the best value for money for their funders and clients. On the other hand, due to budgetary pressures, bilateral donors are reassessing their funding of international institutions in order to allocate their funds to the most effective organisations. In response to public scrutiny and to the call for more transparency about aid spending, governments are providing more information on results of development projects funded from taxes. Some countries conducted bilateral and multilateral aid reviews, which were received with great interest by domestic publics and by the international development community. Donors are increasingly investing in evaluation, assessment and information systems. They are creating results frameworks, which supply robust data from the field. The challenge for communicators is to fill the communication gaps and to identify the information that will accurately demonstrate development effectiveness. Knowledge and exchange on what works, what does not and why is an important source of learning, innovation and improvement for all partners.


Call for Think Pieces

DevCom invites all development communication practitioners to contribute with short Think Pieces illustrating successful approaches and strategies in communicating results of development. The purpose is a concise piece of writing to add to the wider dialogue on issues facing development communicators.

These Think Pieces will constitute background documents for debates during this IDB / DevCom Seminar on “Communicating Development Results” and will be compiled into an exclusive DevCom publication “Good Practice in Communicating Development Results”.

We hope a particularly rich and diverse body of knowledge on results communication will emerge from the submissions. The deadline for submission is 13 April 2012.

You will find more detailed information notably about the content and the submission in the document “Call for Think Pieces”.


Target audience

Communicators from multilateral institutions, bilateral ministries and agencies and Policy experts from donor institutions interested in the topic of communicating results of aid programmes.


Agenda outline

  • Session I - Opening Discussion: Demonstrating Impact of Development Cooperation;
  • Session II: Good Practice in Communicating Results;
  • Session III: Making the case for effective multilateralism;
  • Session IV: Communication challenges around aid reviews;
  • Session V: Parallel working groups.


For further information about this event, do not hesitate to contact the DevCom Secretariat:


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