April 26, 2011
  Governance Information Bulletin #25 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Aid and Governance Strategies

Alex Ergo and Ingo Puhl
In this Center for Global Development working paper, Alex Ergo and Ingo Puhl describe a new aid funding mechanism called TrAid+. TrAid+ can be tailored to any sector where outputs can be clearly defined and measured, whether health, education, infrastructure, or agriculture. This paper describes the trAid+ concept in detail and proposes practical steps to establish the traAid+ platform. While development has traditionally focused on providing funding for inputs such as roads or schools, TrAid+ seeks to provide easily accessible information about the outputs and results of development intervention. Once made publicly available, this information can be used to attract additional funding based on the performance of the development intervention. Through pledges, transparency, measurement and verification of results, TrAid+ thereby creates a market for aid projects. The authors describe how TrAid+ mechanisms might function and the relationships between donors and aid practitioners.   >>>
Matthew Andrews
In this working paper, Matt Andrews of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government discusses how the concept of good governance cannot be reduced to a universal model of technocratic expertise. Instead, he shows how good governance can take many different institutional forms. Further, what defines governance as ‘good’ is often contextually based and does not rely on isomorphic similarity with the governance procedures of other countries. These contextual factors include economic challenges, demographics, and sociopolitical structures. Matthews explores how they shape the nature of good government using public financial management structures across several cases. The paper draws these factors out of an inductive analysis of differences in a set of OECD countries considered examples of "good government". >>>
David Ellerman
In “Helping self-help,” David Ellerman discusses the inherent paradoxes of providing development assistance. By providing help to others, he argues that donor countries fail to empower recipients to help themselves. Assistance can be unhelpful in two ways. First, it can impose the donor’s expectations for how a problem should be solved rather than assisting local stakeholders to develop their own solutions. Second, assistance can create dependency among recipients on donors. Instead, Ellerman explains how development assistance should adopt an indirect approach by building upon the intrinsic will of stakeholders and understanding problems from the perspective of donors.  >>>
Jan Egeland, Adele Harmer and Abby Stoddard
In "To Stay and Deliver," former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General and current Director of the  the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs Jan Egeland and Adele Harmer and Abby Stoddard of Humanitarian Outcomes discuss new strategies for humanitarian relief groups to cope with insecurity amidst conflict environments for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. As violence against aid workers has risen in recent years, humanitarian access to populations in need has often shrunk. This report discusses how humanitarian actors ensure that they can maintain close contact with the people by asking "how to stay" instead of "when to leave". Doing so requires accepting a degree of risk congruent with the importance of the humanitarian program to a population’s survival and well-being. In addition, the report discusses how aid workers can engage in remote program management, engage in a responsible partnership with national aid workers, and maintain a sustained humanitarian dialogue.  >>>

Arne Disch, et. al.
In this report commissioned for the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the authors examine how Norad has promoted democracy through international organizations. It finds that Norad’s approach has historically been closely aligned with the UN, and that successful democracy promotion must be highly sensitive to a country’s political context, aware of the limited impact of donors, and need for local ownership and support. In addition, the report also provides an extensive review of literature and mapping study that illustrates the structure of Norwegian funding across countries, between UN agencies, and across dimensions of democratic development. Finally, the authors provide case studies in Guatemala, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan and Sudan to illustrate the effects of Norwegian supported democracy programs across a range of countries. >>>

Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

Pilar Domingo
In this review, Pilar Domingo of the Overseas Development Institutes explores the history of political party assistance to governments in Latin America. She notes the regional trends in political parties and party systems, particularly the contrasting development of elite and mass based parties, progress in electoral legislation in the 1980s and 1990s and the influence of presidentialism. Given this context, she notes the history of political party support by international organizations and foundations. European foundations tended to focus assistance on like-minded or sister parties, while U.S. foundations organize assistance in a multi-party framework. Finally, the author discusses the lessons learned from party support and their potential application for the future development of political parties.  These include the importance of adopting assistance to the local context, ownership by country stakeholders, acknowledging the limits of technical assistance through realistic objectives, and a cautious use of assumptions and expectations regarding the outcomes of party assistance.  >>>

London School of Economics and Political Science
In this report, LSE scholars compare and contrast different evaluation and assessment frameworks employed by capacity strengthening organizations to determine the extent of their differences. These frameworks are the NDI Stands, the CPA/WBI/UNDP Benchmarks, the IPU Toolkit, the Parliamentary Centre Budget Process framework, and the Parliamentary Centre Parliamentary Audit framework. The report examines these frameworks with regard to their composition, performance on good question design, and the differential scores generated when applied to sample countries. However, the authors do find areas of agreement among these different assessment tools. On this basis, they propose a holistic agenda intended to assist these organizations in harmonizing their individual frameworks. >>>

Dirk Peters and Wolfgang Wagner
Although the democratic peace proposition has been successfully defended against a broad range of criticisms, the degree of reverse causality (i.e. peace enabling democracy in the first place) has remained contested. This article presents new data on the absence or presence of parliamentary veto power over military missions in 49 countries, 1989 to 2004, and examines the possible sources of this variance. It demonstrates that the presence or absence of a parliamentary veto is best explained by the level of external threat, indicating a link between a state's external security environment and its domestic democratic institutions. Moreover, countries whose constitution has been influenced by the British "royal prerogative doctrine" are likely to have no parliamentary veto. Other possible explanations cannot be confirmed by the data: A country is not likely to have parliamentary veto power if it recently suffered a failed military operation. Nor are presidential political systems more likely to have a parliamentary veto over military missions than parliamentary political systems. >>>

Greg Power
In this report commissioned by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Greg Power discusses the evolution of donor support to parliaments and political parties. He argues that donors are recognizing that technical assistance, alone, is insufficient to shape the behavior of political actors and redistribute political power.  Rather, engagement is also necessary at a political level. Although donors do not wish to meddle in the affairs of sovereign nations, they must still deal with these issues. Power argues that donors are attempting to do so by adapting their support to local contexts, developing more stringent forms of monitoring and evaluation with an emphasis on local ownership, and finding ways to combine legislative assistance and support for parties. >>>

Max Bader
In this OSCE report, Max Bader discusses the history of political party assistance to Central Asian countries. He shows how assistance activities have included educational seminars to party representatives, consultations with party leaders, and study trips to western democracies. These activities are guided by international norms that stress non-interference with domestic politics and consistently promote democracy. These norms limit the scope of parties that can receive assistance to those which represent the democratic sector and adhere to democratic values. However, Bader argues that political contexts make it unlikely that Central Asian states will successfully transition to democracy. Because entrenched elites in these states prevent real and genuine political competition, political party assistance cannot have any real impact on party development. >>>


Susanne Schmeidl
In this report, Susanne Schmeidl of the Tribal Liaison Office discusses challenges to improving governance in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province posed by militia leaders and strongmen in the absence of a strong Afghan state. Schmeidl refers to the political context in Uruzgan as a ‘marketplace’ characterized by leaders of various groups, including tribes, commanders, and representatives of the Afghan state. However, access to the political marketplace is limited based on existing social ties which can be used to leverage resources, promote one’s position, and ultimately undermine state authority. Given this context, the author argues that sub-national governance based on Western assumptions of merit-based appointments are not appropriate in Uruzgan and should be replaced with a grass-roots or bottom-up approach toward reform. >>>


Matthew Bolton
In this LSE Global Governance Research Paper, Matthew Bolton of Pace University discusses how institutions of global governance perform basic sociopolitical functions in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. He argues that contemporary governance institutions take a form opposite of the traditional structure of state authority. Instead of a domestic monopoly on violence and authority, governance in Haiti is a fragmented and shifting constellation of global organizations applying technical expertise to solve the many dimensions of its humanitarian crisis. In particular, he notes the role of sectoral clusters that formulate policy regarding security, health, education, and other issues in the absence of guidance from the Haitian state. Finally, Bolton discusses the implications for this system of governance regarding the emerging norms of human security and their application in Haiti. >>>

Middle East

Marina Ottaway and Amr Hamzawy
In this report, Marina Ottaway and Amr Hamzawy of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace discuss the emergence of protest movements across the Arab world. They discuss the political and economic preconditions for revolt that set the stage for the Tunisian revolution and other subsequent uprisings. However, the authors caution that the protest movements’ inability to coordinate the multitude of civil society groups in each country and their demands may weaken their effectiveness. Nonetheless, they contend that the underlying conditions of dissent are in every Arab state and that all are vulnerable to the possibility of a widespread uprising. >>>

Southern Sudan

International Crisis Group
In this report, the International Crisis Group explores the challenges facing the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. The report argues that independence poses new strains within South Sudan between the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement and smaller parties opposed to its unilateral control of the country, which has led to the re-surfacing of long-simmering political disputes and even inter-faction armed conflicts. Rather than a ‘winner-take-all’ approach, the report implores the SPLM to begin governing through consensus instead of conflict and incorporate opposition parties into the emerging state structure. Further, it suggests the SPLM should begin to reorganize itself through party reforms, professionalize its military and transition from a top-down military culture, and foster greater internal dialogue. >>>


Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet
In her keynote presentation to the Association of Development Researchers in Denmark, Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet discusses the evolution of the Vietnamese state and its progress in fostering development. She characterizes Vietnam as a ‘responsive-repressive state’, one that fosters positive interactive relationships with civil society yet lacks formal democratic institutions and quells any dissent seen as a threat to state authorities. Further, Kerkvliet discusses how this character of state action presents dilemmas for Vietnamese citizens seeking reform of state policies. Critics are thus divided into two groups, one advocating participatory struggle and the other advocating confrontation with the state. >>>

Message from the Editor

Note: Back issues of the Governance Information Bulletin are now online.

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, and publications on development by authors from the Center for Global Development, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Norad and other organizations and researchers.  

We welcome all questions, comments and suggestions at gib@cid.suny.edu.  
In This Issue

* TrAid+ Channeling Development Assistance to Results
Good Governance Means Different Things in Different Countries
* Helping self-help:The fundametal conundrum of development assistance
* To Stay and Deliver: good practice for humanitarians in complex security environments
* Democracy Support through the United Nations
* Review of International Assistance to Political Party and Party System Development
* Parliamentary Assessment: An Analysis of Existing Frameworks and Application to Selected Countries
* External Threat and Democratic Institutions: The Parliamentary Control of Military Missions
* Donor Support to Parliaments and Political Parties
The Curious Case of Political Party Assistance in Central Asia
* The Challenges to Strengthening Governance in Uruzgan
* After State Collapse: Global Governance in post-Earthquake Haiti
* Protest Movements and Political Change in the Arab World
* Politics and Transition in the New South Sudan
* Governance, Development, and the Responsive- Repressive State in Vietnam

Development and Governance Blogs

Turtle Bay covers all things related to the United Nations. It focuses on diplomatic activity, global peace operations, and important developments for the international community.

The ODI Blog hosts scholars at the Overseas Development Institute and their discussions about learning, complexity, and their applications to development.

The Open Budgets Blog explores how budgetary transparency and accountability can be expanded in aid delivery, development, and governance.

Governance for Development is a World Bank blog that discusses the relevance of state institutions and good governance for improving development outcomes.

The Democracy Digest blog explores the evolution of democracy around the world. Recently, its coverage has focused on the Arab revolutions across the Middle East. 

Pressure Points is written by Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow at the Council at Foreign Relations, and discusses world events and their relationship to U.S. foreign policy.

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