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The UK’s Aid Review – Lessons for everybody else

The ODI has a series of post unpacking the UK’s bilateral and Multilateral aid reviews. I’ll leave comments on the actual reviews to others, but sitting in Canada, one is left to stare in amazement, that a) there is a framework presented for decisions in each of the reviews, and that said framework b) allows outsiders speak to the logic of aid decisions and debate how and whether they are appropriate.

We in Canada could benefit from some transparency, rather than a system in which researchers and other stakeholders can only guess about what our aid agency is thinking.

Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Blog : Unpicking the Multilateral Aid Review

The systematic approach to reviewing performance against a common framework is to be welcomed, even with its caveats. There seems to be a reasonable balance of strategic considerations (a poverty focus and UK development priorities) and organisational strengths (cost consciousness and transparency) in the assessment made of each organisation.

Colleagues at ODI have already noted a possible tension in the MAR methodology for determining the ‘Needs-Effectiveness Index’ which combines contradictory measures of country fragility on the one hand and policy/institutional strength (through World Bank CPIA) on the other. The details of that index and its implications for the review model will need further unpicking, but it was only one of multiple components scored in the review. Even with this tight specification and quantitative evidence, the addition of a criterion on ‘likelihood of positive change’ still gives DFID flexibility to keep faith with some poor performing multilateral organisations if they commit to improving. That is probably sensible and reflects the need for strategic judgements as well as strict value for money concerns.

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