setting the context from the washington consensus to a new leading paradigm of effective aid
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Setting the context: from the Washington Consensus to a new leading paradigm of effective aid?. Alina Rocha Menocal, ODI Commonwealth Secretariat/La Francophonie workshop on ‘The Future of Aid: User Perspectives on Reform of the International Aid System’

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setting the context from the washington consensus to a new leading paradigm of effective aid

Setting the context: from the Washington Consensus to a new leading paradigm of effective aid?

Alina Rocha Menocal, ODI

Commonwealth Secretariat/La Francophonie workshop on

‘The Future of Aid: User Perspectives on Reform of the International Aid System’

Sheraton Hotel, Dhaka, 20-21 March 2006

the new aid agenda
The ‘new aid agenda’
  • Where did it come from?
  • What is it?
  • How is it intended to be achieved?
  • Where are Southern Voices in this debate?


aid trends and fads
Aid trends and fads
  • 1960s: with donor support, newly independent governments hurry to displace the private sector
  • 1970s: donors in a hurry to displace government
  • 1980s: ‘Washington Consensus’ and Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs)  governments, responding to donor/ IFI stipulations, return ownership to private sector
  • 1990s: donors begin to return ownership to government based on the recognition that SAPs failed to produce desired developmental outcomes.


principles embedded in the new aid relationship
Principles embedded in the new aid relationship
  • ‘Washington Consensus’ slowly replaced by a new paradigm of effective aid that is founded on a discourse of country ownership, partnership, and ‘mutual accountability’
  • Not all donors may subscribe equally to this new consensus, but no donors reject it explicitly.
the importance of 2005 scaling up aid
The importance of 2005: ‘Scaling up’ aid
  • 2005 was a landmark year in terms of efforts to ‘scale up’ aid.
  • The emphasis on ‘scaling up’ development efforts has focused on issues of both quantity and quality of aid.
  • Perceived need to scale up aid is based on the premise that adequate, predictable and more effective aid flows are critical to reaching the MDGs.
aid quantity
Aid quantity
  • In 2005 numerous declarations and reports called for substantial increases in aid flows: Commission for Africa; G-8 Summit; UN Millennium Project Report; etc.
  • If donors deliver on the public statements they have made, the OECD/DAC estimates that ODA from the main OECD donors will increase from a little under US$80 billion in 2004 toward US$130 billion in 2010.
  • This US$50 billion increase represents the largest expansion in absolute levels of ODA as measured by the OECD DAC since the committee was formed in 1960.
aid quantity1
Aid quantity

The ‘big win’: more money

  • Aid quantity
    • As can be seen from the previous graph, the sharpest percentage increase in aid is likely to occur in Africa.
aid quantity asia
Aid quantity: Asia
  • Data show aid to Asia falling sharply through the 1990s, but then recovering.
  • Iraq accounts for a large share of the additional volume, but the figures show recovery in both South Asia and the Far East.
  • In South Asia, however, most of the increase there is explained by Afghanistan.
  • The tsunami will produce greatly increased figures for 2005: according to TEC (2005) more than US$14bn was raised.
  • The Pakistan earthquake will also be important.
aid quantity asia2
Aid quantity: Asia
  • Some countries in Asia that were previously aid recipients or continue to be have also emerged as ‘new’ donors.
  • The most obvious examples of this include India and China, but Malaysia and others are moving in similar direction.
aid quality current problems
Aid quality: current problems
  • In a 2002 OECD-DAC ‘Needs Assessment Survey’, the following (listed according to priority) donor practices were identified as the most burdensome from a recipient-government perspective:
  • Donor-driven priorities and systems, including i) donor pressures on partners’ development strategies and priorities and ii) aid management systems supporting donor requirements, not national systems
  • Uncoordinated donor practices, particularly understanding and fulfilling the multiple requirements of different donors
  • Difficulties in complying with donor procedures (especially procurement and TA) and frequent changes to donor policies, systems and staff
aid quality current problems1
Aid quality: current problems
  • All these problems are exacerbated by the fact that there is a proliferation of aid agencies making up the international aid system.
  • There are currently more than 90 agencies, and the system continues to expand.
  • The latest newcomers include the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), launched by the USA, and vertical funds such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).
aid quality wal mart vs corner shops
Aid quality: Wal-mart vs. corner shops
  • You can think of the current aid market as looking as something like this… one Wal-Mart and a whole string of corner shops
the aid market structure wal mart and the corner shop
This model would be both unstable and monopolistic in a genuine market, socially inefficient and politically unacceptable.

But this is not a market, and it is not well regulated.

No major aid institution has closed in several decades, while dozens have opened.

The irony is that, unlike supermarkets and shops, the same owners – rich country governments – control all the outlets.

The aid market structure: Wal-mart and the corner shop
aid quality responses
Aid quality: Responses
  • A growing consensus has emerged, especially among donors and a few recipient countries, on what needs to be done to make ODA work better.
  • The concepts of harmonisation and alignment have thus come to the centre of the aid agenda.
defining harmonisation alignment h a
Defining Harmonisation & Alignment (H&A)
  • Harmonisation involves better coordination among donors.
  • Alignment involves donors following or ‘aligning with’ country policies and priorities.
  • Alignment also calls for increased donor reliance on national systems through SWAPs and Budget Support, for eg.
visual representation of h a

1. Ownership

(Partner countries)



Use ofcountrysystems

Alignmenton partners’


2. Alignment


3. Harmonisation


Information sharing

Rationalised procedures

Common arrangements

Visual representation of H&A


paris declaration on aid effectiveness
Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
  • Signed at the Paris High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (2005) by:

35 donor countries and agencies

26 multilateral donor agencies

56 aid recipient countries

14 civil society organisations

  • Significant because for the first time actionable commitments to deliver more effective aid are established based on 12 Indicators
role of southern voices in this debate
Role of Southern Voices in this debate?
  • Whether these initiatives bear fruit remains an open question, but those are the trends that the main actors shaping the international aid system are moving toward, at least at the rhetorical level.
  • Importantly, most of the impetus and intellectual leadership for reforming the international aid system along the lines described above has come from donors themselves.
  • Northern CSOs have begun to engage with this agenda.
  • So far, however, the views and perspectives of Southern stakeholders in shaping such trends have been muted, and their contribution to the debate on how to reform the aid system has been rather limited.
  • This is true for both Southern governments and Southern CSOs.
how to inject southern voices into this debate
How to inject Southern Voices into this debate?
  • ODI has been involved in at least two important initiatives on this front:
  • Coordinating and facilitating the ‘Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System’ project; and
  • Working with the Commonwealth Secretariat and La Francophonie on a set of workshops on the future of aid and how to reform the international aid system from a user perspective.
southern voices project
Southern Voices project
  • This project has consisted of capturing the views and perspectives of Southern-based civil society organisations on how the international aid system works and how it ought to be reformed.
  • Its main outputs have consisted of:

1) a Workshop held at ODI in November 2005 with CSO representatives from Africa, Asia and Lat Am (as well as donors and INGO representatives)

2) a virtual Forum on the Future of Aid (FFA) to stimulate a broader discussion on the aid system among interested parties – see

3) a working paper titled ‘Which way the future of aid?’, which you can find both in your folders and in the CD we have compiled for this workshop.

commonwealth francophonie workshops
Commonwealth/Francophonie workshops
  • This is the first of two workshops being organised by the Commonwealth and the Francophonie with senior government officials and civil society representatives in Asia and Africa.
  • The aim is to work toward the preparation of a paper on aid architecture and its reform to present at the Commonwealth Senior Finance Officials Meeting in Colombo in September 2006.
  • So we very much hope that you will take advantage of this workshop to do some thinking about where the future of aid lies and share your ideas so that they can be transmitted to the Commonwealth Ministers and the voices of Asian aid stakeholders can be appropriately heard.