November 23, 2010
  Governance Information Bulletin #19 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Aid and Governance Strategies

Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor
In this independent study commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Victoria Holt and Glyn Taylor examine how UN Peacekeeping Missions have protected civilians in international interventions. They begin by reviewing UN Security Council Resolutions authorizing peacekeeping missions and their explicit mandates for protecting civilians. They show that the UN Secretariat and peacekeeping missions do not understand Security Council intent and lack policy guidance, planning, and preparedness. This hampers the implementation of mission mandates to protect civilians. In addition, a lack of mission-wide strategies and intelligence collection and analysis capabilities hampers mission effectiveness in the field level. Last, the authors recommend that the Security Council clarify its expectations regarding the protection of civilians and the development of an operational concept that defines how population protection is to be implemented for each mission.>>>

Wolfgang Fengler and HomiKharas
In 'Delivering Aid Differently', Wolfgang Fengler and HomiKharas of the Brookings Institution explore how new developments in the foreign aid and development sector are transforming the practice of aid delivery. As the first chapter of their book, this piece discusses how aid delivery requires the synchronization of public and private actors in support of development in recipient countries. In addition to the emergence of new donors, the chapter also discusses how recipient countries deal with the potential volatility in aid delivery. Further, the authors discuss how recipient countries have sought to make aid more efficacious through greater coordination, transparency, and effectiveness. Finally, the chapter ends with a summary of the contemporary model of aid delivery. >>>

Alexandra Gillies
In 'Giving Money Away?', Alexandra Gillies of the Center for Global Development discusses how resource rich states directly distribute resource rents to citizens. She explores the political feasibility and implications of direct distribution and the political contexts in that make such a policy likely. In addition, Gillies also argues that direct distribution can create benefits by constituting constituencies for natural resource management, more equal relationships between the state and civil society, the development of broad-based national taxation and subsequent accountability measures, and reduce principal-agent problems. Of course, these outcomes may not occur in all states that use direct distribution, necessitating that a careful understanding of the country's political context and well designed programs to ensure positive effects on governance and development.

Lucy Earle and Zoë Scot
In this paper, Lucy Earle and Zoë Scott review academic and donor research regarding the success of governance support and capacity building on poverty reduction and development outcomes. They explore the literature from the emergence of the 'good governance agenda' during the 1990s, the evolution of the concept of 'good enough governance', and current approaches that emphasize political economy. Each section focuses different areas of governance work, such as democratization, justice and rule of law, corruption, decentralization, public administration reform, and public financial management. Overall, a mixed picture is presented that shows how reforms have not always led to expected results.

Gerald Hyman
In this piece, Gerald Hyman of the Center for International and Strategic Studies discusses the bureaucratic processes of USAID and its their slow but steady erosion since the first Bush administration. This erosion has taken place as development and diplomacy have been elevated to important foreign policy tools alongside defense. Although foreign aid nearly doubled during the second Bush administration, Hyman notes how it sought to break down the original structures of USAID and foreign assistance and observes that the Obama administration has done little to repair these capabilities. Although changes to USAID were made with the purpose of solving apparent problems, Hyman argues that reformers gave little thought to how bureaucratic processes can lead to unintended consequences and an overall weakness of bureaucratic capacity.

Parliaments and Parliamentary Strengthening

Naomi Rosenbaum
In this article, Naomi Rosenbaum of York University writes about how the UN functions as a forum for parliamentary diplomacy among nation-states by facilitating deliberation amongst all relevant international issues. It suggests that parliamentary institutions play an important function in fostering a public exchange of information between actors of various affinities. Rosenbaum's case study of Cyprus is instructive in this sense, as it shows how ordinary international communications is inadequate in transmitting the intentions of other actors. In this way, she defends the UN from critics who argue it serves no function. Instead, she argues it acts as an imperfect international parliament.  >>>

The European Parliament
In this report, the European Parliament describes how new ICT can be used to enhance parliamentary efficiency, transparency, and strong relationships with citizens. In addition to discussing how ICT capabilities can help enhance achieve the above goals, this report also explores the impact of ICT on policy formulation, strategic planning, management roles, and other important technical matters that impact the effective adoption of ICT in parliaments. The report also lays out important steps for parliaments when adopting ICT capabilities and provides guidance on the use of more advanced technological capabilities. >>>

Penjira Kanthawongs

In this piece, PenjiraKanthawongsof Bangkok University investigates social factors which increase the effective use of e-Parliament technologies. After discussing the interactive and conceptual design of e-Parliament technologies and their strategic use by parliamentarians, she presents a case study of their adoption in Thailand. By using mail surveys sent to Thai MPs to gauge their relationship with e-Parliament,the author finds that trust, usefulness, and word of mouth are important factors in increasing the level of MP engagement. As engagement increases, MPs intention to use e-Parliament technologies subsequently increases. >>>

Helene Helboe Pedersen
In this article, Helene Helboe Pederson of the University of Aarhus in Denmark examines how power relations within political parties and constraints on leadership determines party behavior in coalitions. She tests two alternative theories of party behavior that draw upon different assumptions regarding the unity or fragmentation of political parties and their effectiveness in negotiating with other parties. In her case study of the Danish parliament, she finds that intra-party power relations do significantly affect overall coalition behavior. Parties whose leadership is relatively unconstrained tend to make more accommodating decisions in coalition negotiations compared to leaderships more closely tied to party organization. >>>


Dana Holland
In this briefing paper, Dana Holland of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit reviews international efforts to strengthen the capacity of the Afghan Ministry of Education. She begins by noting that the concept of capacity refers not just to technical and administrative decisions but also political judgments. Holland then reviews how the Ministry and donors underwent strategic planning to increase ministry capacity and functional performance. She notes that because the first strategic planning process placed decision-making in the hands of Ministry departments, they felt empowered to make and implement decisions as relevant stakeholders. However, she also discusses the risks of creating parallel structures in the Ministry since employees are paid not by the state but by donor agencies. Finally, she concludes with recommendations to increase capacity in the future. >>>

The Balkans

Rosa Balfour and Dijana Basic
In this policy brief, Rosa Balfour and Dijana Basic of the European Policy explore recent developments in the EU accession process for Balkan states. Although they begin optimistically by describing how negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo are about to begin, the authors note that many points of contention exist between multiple states in region. On this basis, they argue that EU enlargement is likely to proceed in stages to allow more time for states to resolve issues related to borders and sovereign boundaries. After discussing issues between specific Western Balkan states, the authors conclude by reviewing the prospects of solving remaining issues.


Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
This SIDA report discusses the results of surveys and interviews with poor Bangladeshis about their access to primary healthcare and primary education. In providing their perspectives, SIDA emphasizes how aid delivery and development must incorporate the understandings of all members of society. After describing the general political context of Bangladeshi politics, the report offers its findings regarding healthcare and education services. Regading healthcare, respondents' answers confirmed shrinking capacity and use of public services and an increase reliance on private providers. Respondents also indicated that privatization was sweeping through education services but show evidence of a huge demand for education. >>>


International Crisis Group (ICG)
This ICG report covers Haiti's November 28thnational elections in the context of the recovery from this year's earthquake. It argues that the recovery effort has stalled while crime has risen in the absence of economic security. In addition, Haitians are losing confidence in the electoral process and the government, and explains why major steps be taken to improve Haitians' perceptions and increase electoral participation. Politically, it suggests that political parties should public commit to the principle non-violent electoral competition. Lastly it concludes with recommendations for foreign donors, NGOs, and Haitian political actors.

The Middle East

United States Institute of Peace (USIP)
This USIP publication provides foreign policy suggestions for the Obama administration about specific countries within the Middle East. For many countries, including Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon, the report argues that the United States must enhance its commitment to stability and development beyond economic and political support. Reform efforts in these countries can only succeed with full-fledged American support. Absent such a commitment, the gulf between state and society in fragile Middle Eastern states is likely to widen. Finally, the report concludes with a series of concrete recommendations to alter policy in pursuit of American objectives.

Message from the Editor

Below please find the nineteenth edition of SUNY/CID’s Governance Information Bulletin [GIB]. It draws attention to materials about technical matters involved in strengthening national, regional and local political institutions, as well as to broader issues of aid strategies, democracy assistance, government and public sector performance, and to developments in countries and regions where we are working. Each entry provides a link to a larger piece of research in the title and at the end of the entry.

Many thanks for your attention. We welcome all questions, comments and suggestions at  

In This Issue

Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations
Delivering Aid Differently: Lessons from the Field
Giving Money Away? The Politics of Direct Distribution in Resource Rich States
Assessing the Evidence of the Impact of Governance on Development Outcomes and Poverty Reduction
Structure, Process, Policy and the Drip-by-Drip Erosion of USAID
Cyprus and the United Nations: An Appreciation of Parliamentary Diplomacy
Information and Communication Technologies in Parliament
Critical Success Factors of e-Parliament Systems to Enhance User Engagement
How Intra-Party Power Relations Affect Coalition Behaviour of Political Parties
Capacity-Building through Policymaking: Developing Afghanistan's National Education Strategic Plan
A bridge over troubled borders: Europeanising the Balkans
Reality Check Bangladesh 2009 - Healthcare and Primary Education
Haiti: The Stakes of the Post-Quake Elections
In Pursuit of Democracy and Security in the Greater Middle East

Development and Governance Blogs

Peace Dividend Trust is an organization devoted towards international peace and the enhancement of UN Peacekeeping Operations performance. Their blog discusses issues of security and stability.

Governance for Development is a World Bank blog that covers good governance issues and their relationship with international development and economic growth.

The Overseas Development Initiative Blog features ODI experts and their analysis of ongoing events in the development community and new approaches toward development.

The Governance Assessment Portal compiles data, research, and knowledge regarding governance assessments. It also provides links to multiple forms of governance indicators.

Public Government Research Blog discusses issues related to public governance, such as climate change, trade and investment, and the participation of universities in development.

The Next Billion covers development and efforts related towards reducing poverty among poor states and bringing regional populations out of destitution.

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