February 22, 2011
  Governance Information Bulletin #22 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Aid and Governance Strategies

Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA),
United Nations
In Reconstructing Public Administration after Conflict, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs analyzes the causes of intrastate wars and proposes guidelines for state building. DESA argues that weak institutions is the central cause of violent conflict and that successful conflict resolution depends on the emergence of capable public administration and responsive government. Further, the Department suggests that there is no "one size fits all" solution to governance since all societies are unique in cultural and social contexts. The development of new leadership is thus an endogenous process which can only be aided, but not caused, by donor initiatives. Finally, the emergence of new institutions must involve the careful management of tensions between cultural groups which can cause recurring violence.>>>

Arthur A. Goldsmith
In this article, Arthur A. Goldsmith of the University of Massachusetts challenges claims made by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which was established in 2004, regarding how countries are chosen to be aid recipients based on quality of governance indicators. The accountability movement in public policy hails the MCA as a new program for U.S. foreign assistance. This article uses the MCA’s own rating system to dispute its claim to know in advance which countries are best positioned to meet major development goals. High governance scores alone bear little or no relationship to growth in national income or decline in poverty. Attempting to measure public-policy performance limits the range of choice available to policy-makers, and may inadvertently limit true performance. >>>

Paul J. Gertler, et. al.
In "Impact Evaluation in Practice," Paul J. Gertler and his co-authors provide a broad and general manual about impact evaluation. After describing impact evaluation and its purposes, the authors explain the importance of inferences, counterfactuals, and randomized selection methods. In addition, they use case studies to explain how other methods, such as regression analyses and difference-in-difference designs can yield important determinations about the effectiveness of particular programs. They then discuss how to conduct an impact evaluation by operationalizing an evaluation design, choosing samples, and collecting data. Lastly, they stress the importance of sharing evaluation findings to promote learning and innovation in program design and implementation. >>>

International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA)
This International IDEA report reviews the EU’s external policies and practices regarding its support democracy around the world. It argues that the EU’s internal achievements make possible a leadership role in democracy promotion around the world. However, the EU’s inability to act in an integrated way leads many partners to expect that the organization will fail to provide meaningful guidance. To remedy this problem, International IDEA recommends that the EU articulate its own experiences involved in building democracy and ensure its internal achievements regarding the integration of political, economic, and social rights are reflected in its external actions. Lastly, International IDEA recommends that the EU maintain its commitment to democracy despite potential short-term compromises and realize its rhetoric of partnership.>>>

Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
This SIDA report explores how information and communications technologies can foster economic development, poverty reduction, and democratization. To illustrate these possibilities, the report reviews how ICTs can advance democracy and empowerment in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, three countries that experience low income and ICT literacy levels. On this basis, SIDA recommends that the aid community raise awareness of the potential of ICTs in combination with democratic principles and practices, strengthen the capacity of CSOs and NGOs to voice demands for greater democracy, foster greater transparency and governance by states, and strengthen community voices through public debate and decision making. >>>

Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

Dawn Brancati and Jack L. Snyder
In “Time to Kill,” Dawn Brancati and Jack L. Snyder examine the relationship between early elections and post-conflict stability. They seek to contrast hypotheses suggesting that early elections either reinforce peace agreements or trigger renewed conflict. The authors conduct a quantitative analysis of all post-World War II civil wars and find that elections do increase the probability of a relapse into conflict. However, they note that the risk of conflict can be mitigated due to the presence of demobilization, peacekeeping, power-sharing, and strong governance institutions. Overall, they caution against holding elections too quickly after the end of conflict.  >>>

Gero Erdmann
In “Political Party Research and Political Party Assistance,” Gero Erdmann discusses the relationship between providers of political party assistance and academic research on political parties performed by political scientists. Erdmann argues that the two professional fields are widely disconnected from each other, which results in conceptual shortcomings. For the author, political party assistance cannot operationalize its transformative intentions to alter the organization of political parties. Further, he explains that political party research is of limited use to development professionals due to its Western conceptual bias, limited empirical research on non-Western parties, and its adherence to the structural functionalist approach to social science. Finally, he suggests that political party assistance should abandon the aim of "transformative impact" and focus more on consolidating democracy.. >>>

National Democratic Institute (NDI)

In this report, the National Democratic Institute discusses new standards and expectations for legislative bodies in representative democracies by exploring their basic functions and operations. It begins by examining how legislators are elected, the importance of parliamentary immunity and remuneration, and the circumstances under which legislators might resign. It further describes how legislatures organize their work through parliamentary procedures, committees, and the role of parliamentary staff. Most importantly it discusses how legislatures function by passing binding laws, conduct rigorous oversight over the executive, and represent citizen claims and interests. Finally, it concludes by reviewing the spirit of legislative practices and the values that guide legislative efforts in a substantive democracy. >>>

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
In “Parliamentary Engagement with the Millennium Development Goals,” the United Nations Development Programme provides a manual for parliamentarians to address the MDGs in their respective countries. In particular, the manual highlights examples of parliamentary best practices and offers practical advice for MPs seeking to utilize the MDGs in legislative functions. These include referring to the MDGs when passing laws, reviewing government activities in oversight, approving budgetary expenditures, and interacting with citizens to provide better representation. The manual concludes with a call for MPs to engage the MDGs as a means of accelerating development and progress for their citizens. >>>

Afghanistan

Matt Waldman and Thomas Ruttig
In this discussion paper, Matt Waldman and Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts Network discuss different approaches to conflict resolution and how they might be implemented to end that country’s ongoing conflict. The authors review seven theories of conflict resolution that help to frame the conflict and suggest actionable steps that can be taken to increase incentives for peace. Waldman and Ruttig conclude that a military de-escalation, effective mediation, dialogue and confidence building measures, and multiple levels of diplomatic engagement can help foster a negotiated outcome to the conflict. These theories are evaluated based on assumptions that foreign military actions have driven the conflict and that the insurgency cannot be defeated through military means. >>>

Kenya

Mark Bradbury and Michael Kleinman
In this working paper, Mark Bradbury and Michael Kleinman of Tufts University explore how the U.S. military has become increasingly involved in providing humanitarian and development assistance in Kenya through deployment of civil affairs (CA) teams. In its attempt to "win hearts and minds," U.S. personnel have sought to use aid projects to build connections with the people and develop an understanding of the local population while attempting to overcome negative perceptions and stereotypes about the United States. Coupled with increasing demand for external assistance, the authors argue that such tactical efforts have been somewhat successful in improving perceptions of the United States in Kenya and throughout the region. >>>

Rwanda

Filip Reyntjens
In "Governance in Post-Genocide Rwanda," Filip Reyntjens examines how the Rwandan state led by Paul Kagame has become a "donor darling" despite its repressive policies towards its citizens and its contribution toward regional insecurity. He argues that the regime has presented itself to the international community quite effectively while simultaneously stifling any internal dissent. These forms of information manipulation have led the international community to recognize the regime’s claim to govern in a technocratic manner and ignore its dictatorial forms of governance. The result has been tolerance of a great degree of structural violence and insecurity for the Rwandan people. In turn, Rwanda faces ongoing risks for political instability. . >>>

Serbia

Slobodan Milutinovic
In this article, Slobodan Milutinovic of the University of Nis explores the adoption of the Local Sustainable Development Strategy at the 1st National Conference of Local Sustainable Development in Belgrade in May 2005 by Serbian municipalities. This strategy seeks to strengthen local government capacity for service delivery and increase their ability to represent local citizens. Its development was facilitated through capacity building and strategic planning exercises that ensured each municipality had ownership over its own sustainable development plan. Lastly, analysis of municipal planning documents shows that larger municipalities tend to be more prepared for strategic exercises yet most lack any action plans, thereby hindering any form of implementation. >>>

Uganda

Terrell G. Manyak and Isaac Wasswa Katono
In “Decentralization and Conflict in Uganda,” Terrell G. Manyak and Isaac Wasswa Katono examine the challenges posed to decentralization policies by political and administrative disagreements. While the decentralization policy was initiated as a means to provide basic services to citizens while building local governance capacity, the authors report that Ugandans have largely become disillusioned with the prospect of improved governance. In addition, they perform more than 60 interviews with local government officials in 22 districts to determine what obstacles impede progress in building local governance capacity. They argue that conflicts driven by national electoral politics, the inability to meet citizen demands for service delivery, poverty and ethnic differences, and a lack of effective leadership all serve to undermine the decentralization policy. >>>

Message from the Editor

Below please find SUNY/CID’s Governance Information Bulletin [GIB] that draws attention to technical matters involved in strengthening political institutions and to broader issues of aid strategies, democracy assistance, public sector performance, and to countries and regions where SUNY/CID is working.  Each entry provides a link to a larger piece of research in the title and at the end of the entry.

In this week’s GIB, please find recent reports, summaries publications on development by the UN, International IDEA, SIDA, NDI, and other organizations and researchers. 

Many thanks for your attention. We welcome all questions, comments and suggestions at gib@cid.suny.edu.  
In This Issue

Reconstructing Public Administration after Conflict
No Country Left Behind? Performance Standards and Accountability in US Foreign Assistance
Impact Evaluation in Practice
Democracy in Development: Global consultations on the EU’s role in democracy building
ICTs for Democracy: information and communication technologies for the enhancement of democracy
Time to Kill: The Impact of Election Timing on Post-Conflict Stability
Political Party Research and Political Party Assistance
Toward the Development of International Standards for Democratic Legislatures
Parliamentary Engagement with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
Peace Offerings: Theories of conflict resolution and their applicability to Afghanistan
Winning Hearts and Minds: Examining the Relationship Between Aid and Security in Kenya
Governance in Post-Genocide Rwanda
Local Sustainable Development Planning in Serbia
Decentralization and Conflict in Uganda: Governance Adrift

Development and Governance Blogs

The Center for Global Development's Microfinance Open Book Blog is written by David Roodman and covers issues such as microloans and microcredit relevant to an upcoming book on microfinance.

Written by researchers at the Institute for Financial Management and Research, The India Development Blog covers development issues in India and its progress toward alleviating poverty.

Registan.net follows political development in Central Asia and offers critical insights into ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


PBS Wide Angle offers coverage about international relations and political development in countries around the world.


Good Intentions Are Not Enough explores the relationships between donors and recipients in the aid community and global affairs.

The Overseas Development Institute Blog discusses a wide range of current events and issues related to international development.


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