Making Development Aid More Effective

The upcoming United Nations High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals will spotlight global efforts to reduce poverty, celebrating innovative progress in some areas while illuminating systemic weaknesses in international efforts to support development. In November of this year, the Group of Twenty will convene in Seoul, and development will once again be on the agenda. One year later, South Korea will also host the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Each of these summits could benefit from an examination of how bilateral and multilateral programs can better anticipate and reflect the realities of global development in the 21st century.

From high-profile stabilization contexts like Afghanistan to global public health campaigns, and from a renewed focus on sustainable food security to the looming implications of climate change, development effectiveness is a central and hotly debated issue. As traditional donors make progress in the dialogue on international aid effectiveness, they must increasingly take into account the broader landscape of influential actors, including emerging donors, multinational corporations, megaphilanthropists, high-profile advocates and a vocal and energized global public.

Given the need to reform development assistance efforts within the current window of political opportunity, in these policy briefs Brookings experts and colleagues with other organizations offer a range of recommendations for influential global development actors that look beyond questions of increased resources for antipoverty services to the effectiveness of different approaches and to the systemic issues associated with the delivery of development outcomes.

The briefs include:

Can Aid Catalyze Development? » (PDF)

Homi Kharas offers recommendations on how to link aid effectiveness more firmly to development strategies through a new multilateralism, a more transparent aid system, differentiated strategies for recipient countries and a longer-term focus for aid.

U.S. Government Support for Development Outcomes: Toward Systemic Reform » (PDF)

Noam Unger highlights the current pivotal moment for revamping U.S. global development efforts and outlines potential improvements to aid operations and fundamental reforms related to overarching strategy, organizational structures and underlying statutes.

The Private Sector and Aid Effectiveness: Toward New Models of Engagement » (PDF)

With an emphasis on business, Jane Nelson discusses the role of the private sector in development and proposes various ways to scale up the collaboration between these actors and official donors.

International NGOs and Foundations: Essential Partners in Creating an Effective Architecture for Aid » (PDF)

With a focus on international nonprofit organizations, Samuel A. Worthington (InterAction) and Tony Pipa (independent consultant) analyze the relationship between official aid and private development assistance, suggesting that the role of civil society must evolve as part of the international dialogue on aid effectiveness.

Responding to a Changing Climate: Challenges in Financing Climate-Resilient Development Assistance » (PDF)

Kemal Derviş and Sarah Puritz Milsom (Brookings Global) underline key finance-related challenges in achieving climate-resilient growth in developing countries and propose steps to ensure progress in responding to the climate change challenge.

Civilian–Military Cooperation in Achieving Aid Effectiveness: Lessons from Recent Stabilization Contexts » (PDF)

Margaret L. Taylor (Council on Foreign Relations) explores civilian and military roles and the right balance between them for delivering effective international assistance, offering lessons that are critical for further analysis of foreign militaries as aid providers.

Rethinking the Roles of Multilaterals in the Global Aid Architecture » (PDF)

Homi Kharas probes key issues, including the appropriate multilateral share of total aid, the proliferation of multilateral agencies, knowledge exchange among development professionals and the financial leveraging of loans to capital.

These policy briefs were commissioned for the 2010 Brookings Blum Roundtable, which annually invites government officials, academics, development practitioners and leaders from businesses, foundations and international organizations to together consider new ways to alleviate global poverty through cross-sector collaboration.