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Sector Wide Approaches in motion: From an aid delivery to a sector development perspective Bruxelles, 10.-11. June 2008. Your turn!. In your experience from the water sector, what are the achievements and strengths of water SWAps? What are the weaknesses and challenges?.

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Sector Wide Approaches in motion:From an aid delivery to a sector development perspectiveBruxelles, 10.-11. June 2008

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Your turn
Your turn!

  • In your experience from the water sector,

    • what are the achievements and strengths of water SWAps?

    • What are the weaknesses and challenges?

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Overview the general lessons
Overview: The general lessons

  • Strong interest in the SWAp and PBAs

  • More driven by donors than by government

  • Limited analytical underpinnings

  • Increasing attention to civil society

  • Increasing concern about links to decentralisation

  • Many rather incipient processes – weak incentives?

  • And/or a SWAp concept beyond reach?

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

What is a Sector Programme?

A Sector Programme is a product of the Sector Approach. It is a government (not donor) programme

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Sector programmes 5 typical elements
Sector programmes: 5 typical elements

Public finance


Sector policy

in macro-framework

Services and



Accountability &



Institutions and


Aid alignment and


Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Key issue capacity to swap
Key Issue: Capacity to SWAp?

  • Too much complexity vis-à-vis available capacity and incentives to transform the SWAp into sensible action, for all stakeholders?

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

The swap concept means and ends
The SWAp concept – means and ends

  • Born out of aid effectiveness concerns…

  • …but aim of sector programmes is sector development, thus...

  • …raising the ante: how can a sector develop?

  • …implying:

    • systemic view, more to look at, more diagnosis

    • handling political economy dimensions

    • increased complexity

  • The JLP is moving in this direction, offering imperfect analytical framework for “sector helicopter view”

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Open systems model for sector diagnosis

Sector systems



Open Systems Model for Sector Diagnosis

Contextual factors beyond influence







Contextual factors within influence

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Open systems model for sector diagnosis1
Open Systems Model for Sector Diagnosis

Organizational capacities

Contextual factors beyond influence


Public financial


Sector coordination


Policy frameworks





Change capacity

Decentralization and


Specific incentives

driving performance

Contextual factors within influence

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Sector diagnosis and reform entry points
Sector diagnosis and reform entry points

  • Wider context factors, public sector wide reforms

  • Sector resources and inputs

  • Sector outputs

  • Sector governance and accountability

  • Policy frameworks; sector vision and strategy; legal issues and legislative frameworks

  • Public financial management systems and capacity

  • Organizational capacities

  • Feedback-mechanisms

  • Sector coordination mechanisms

  • Decentralization and/or deconcentration

  • Specific incentives driving or constraining performance

  • The change capacity of domestic actor

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Sector policy process
Sector policy: process

  • Country ownership still compromised

  • How good is ‘good enough’

  • Cobbling the pieces together

  • Still weak policy – budget links

  • ‘Policy - capacity = capacity gap’

  • Too much ‘development (project?) planning thinking’ carry over

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Sector policy content
Sector policy: content

  • Lack of prioritisation

  • ‘Missing middle’ (in objectives and in targets)

    • Poor micro-, meso-, macro linkages

    • Lack of non-state actor involvement

  • Taking account of winners and losers

    • Beyond government, below national level, towards disadvantaged areas and people

    • Can (or should) losers be implementers?

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

The budget pfm mtef
The budget, PFM, MTEF

  • Theoretical importance well accepted

  • De facto budget/PFM issues not yet that central

  • Finance ministries conspicuously absent

  • MTEFs in sector can be very rudimentary

  • Limited sector incentives to pursue better PFM

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Risky pfm issues in swaps
Risky PFM issues in SWAps

  • Risk of “state-centred” perspective – budget not equally important in all sectors

  • Sector programme budget may only be part of sector budget, or cut across sectors

  • Risk of overlooking fiscal decentralisation interfaces

  • Risk of technocratic bias

  • Premise of predictability uncertain

  • MTEF – maybe, but when?

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Institutions and capacities
Institutions and Capacities

  • Everybody’s concern

  • Everywhere – and nowhere….

  • Few handles – except the supply driven TA and training

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Capacity development issues
Capacity development issues

  • Mainstreaming CD in Sector Programmes

  • Opening dialogue about institutional/political economy drivers and constraints

  • Opening dialogue which respects that CD must be demand-driven

  • Maintaining realism about what sector level CD can achieve

  • Finding joint sector approaches to support CD

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal


Political system/government


Checks and balances organisations

Non-state actors

Core public agencies

Frontline service providers

Donors, international organisations



Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Strengthening domestic accountability

Focus on expenditure

Focus on sector outcomes

Focus on CD for government

Bias towards mutual accountability concerns

Attention to revenue

Service users to hold providers to account

CD of ‘pillars’ of accountability

Priority of domestic accountability

Strengthening domestic accountability

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal


  • Harmonisation and alignment successes

  • Monitoring for learning vs monitoring for accountability

  • The problem with indicators

  • Monitoring systems as government management information tools first and donor ‘checking tools’ after

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Alignment harmonisation modalities
Alignment, harmonisation, modalities

  • Unprecedented push for H&A

  • Government push essential – donors alone won’t make it

  • Overdoing donor-govt coordination may crowd out domestic sector coordination

  • Coordination often poorly performed

  • Increased time required for SWAps

  • Inclusive SWAp model appreciated, but..

  • Budget support still contentious

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

H a issues
H&A issues

  • Putting the sector coordination perspective first

  • Getting business-like approach to coordination, and managerial capacity to pursue it

  • Embracing transaction costs – pay them with a smile!

  • Working on tensions around donors coming too close for comfort

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal


  • Centralising tendencies in SWAps – how to deal with decentralisation is key issue in several JLP events

  • Central government faces “donor dilemmas” vis-à-vis local governments

  • Funding mechanisms, policy/legal mechanisms, bargaining – all in play to define autonomy/control balance

  • Country perspective on the tension and issues, not an aid perspective

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Concluding remarks implications
Concluding remarks: Implications?

  • Looking for a middle ground between..

    • the Scylla of a building a system on sand, stuck in capitals, pondering about complexities; and..

    • the Charybdis of unprincipled, opportunistic muddling through

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal

Strategic incrementalism
Strategic Incrementalism?

  • A sector development perspective

  • Explicit political economy perspective

  • Consistent actor/stakeholder perspective

  • Strengthened managerial inputs

  • Common sense focus on results

  • …building SWAp as a process also with focus on processes

  • …and thereby fostering trust through modesty, realism and patience….

Nils Boesen/Erma Uytewaal