Facilitating exchanges between governance practitioners and experts
Providers and recipients of development co-operation have recognised the importance of supporting governance with significant investments in this area. Official Development Assistance Committee (DAC) data show that from 2010 to 2019 Official Development Aid (ODA) provided by DAC members for governance increased by 22% representing approximately between 12% and 15% of Total Sector Allocable ODA . Total volumes devoted to governance are greater still since significant spending is included within other sector programmes, such as support to a country’s ministry of education or ministry of health. These are captured through the Participatory Democracy/Good Governance marker, which monitors the mainstreaming of policy objectives related to governance across all development co-operation activities. Some aspects of governance are recognised as building blocks for other types of assistance, for instance core public sector systems such as public financial management. At the same time, development agencies face common and complex challenges in providing support for governance and accountability.
More effective and sustainable support to governance
The Governance team facilitates exchanges between governance practitioners and experts to explore and promote better governance in developing countries. The OECD-DAC Network on Governance (GovNet) exchanges experiences and lessons, identifies and disseminates what has worked where and why, and develops policy, analytical tools and operational approaches. This network helps to identify better strategies for supporting governance reforms, better instruments for implementing them, and improved internal systems. It also formulates recommendations that influence international policy discourse and practice.
Using different methods to provide better governance support
Governance issues are relevant to every development sector. At the same time, governance issues are often challenging to support, especially given the complexity of the contexts in which donors operate. The OECD analyses what has been tried and which innovative approaches have worked in fostering governance reforms in both developed and developing countries.
Work is currently underway to explore the benefits and challenges of results-based approaches in the governance and institutional reform domains, and capture the different modalities and results frameworks that have been used so far. This analysis helps development practitioners to select modalities which are best suited to supporting better governance practices.
Work under the auspices of the DAC Network on Governance (GovNet) compiles experiences of donors in the area of Political Economy Analysis (PEA). GovNet reviews organisations’ current efforts to better understand the country context, consider to what extent these efforts are conducive to more context-adapted development co-operation programmes, and contemplate possible alternatives. This review aims to help development practitioners to think and work more politically, to understand how institutions and individuals interact and operate, and how together they impact on development.
This work also encompasses support to the identification of innovative approaches for public sector management reform through the compilation of public sector reform practices, on the basis of knowledge exchanges and peer learning activities. The lessons learned capture technical as well as “soft dimensions” such as reform sequencing, political economy and change management issues. The results of this work aim to better identify public sector reforms that can be adapted to different country contexts.
Supporting accountability and drivers of governance reforms
Given the growing demand of citizens for more open government, our work also includes a focus on new approaches to supporting transparency and promoting greater accountability.
Many aspects of donor support for accountability have been captured in the OECD-DAC publication Accountability and Democratic Governance: Orientations and Principles for Development(2014). This guidance is based on country studies, a survey of donor innovations and high-level international dialogues. It argues for a wholesale shift in behaviour by parts of the development assistance community from conventional comfort zones towards new approaches to risk taking, analysis and programming around systems of accountability.
Vertical and horizontal accountability are also analysed, at central as well as local level. Our work focuses on the role of media to strengthen accountability, given their contribution to national debates on service delivery, anti-corruption and political governance, including media capacity issues. Additional work is being undertaken in conjunction with the multi-stakeholder group Effective Institutions Platform on supporting citizen’s engagement with Supreme Audit Institutions.