June 9, 2011
  Governance Information Bulletin #27 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Aid and Governance Strategies

Jim Woodhill
In “Capacities for Institutional Innovation,” James Woodhill explores how the emerging field of complexity provide insights into institutional development. The author argues that the requirements for institutional innovation are fundamentally different compared to those provided by the prevailing mode of development intervention emphasizing technological innovation.  Instead, Woodhill argues that fostering institutional change requires the ‘soft’ capacities of communication, trust building, diplomacy, networking, making sense of messy social situations, political advocacy and leadership. The article concludes by outlining four specific capabilities required for institutional innovation: navigating complexity, learning collaboratively, engaging politically and being self-reflective.

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Irene Guijt, Jan Brouwers, Cecile Kusters, Ester Prins and Bayaz Zeynalova
This conference report reviews how the evaluation of solutions to complex development problems can be improved. The authors and conference participants begin by noting how development is not simply a technical process but a transformational one defined by non-linearity, emergence, and unpredictability. Given these aspects, the participants question the reliance solely on quasi-experimental evaluation methods that fail to capture the complexity of development processes.  Maintaining rigor in complex evaluation requires attention to the values guiding evaluator choices and those of relevant stakeholders, making sense of observations through local perspectives, and an inclusive evaluative process that maximizes the learning needs of stakeholders.

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Miguel Székely
In “Toward Results-Based Social Policy Design and Implemention,” Miguel Székely, director of the Institute for Innovation in Education at Tecnológico de Monterrey, uses Mexico as an example to show how data and evidence can be used to evaluate public policy in a number of ways. In the last decade, efforts to systematically study the effectiveness of programs in developing countries have expanded dramatically. In this paper, Székely explains the difficulties of conducting good impact evaluations and assesses the interests of key stakeholders in promoting or opposing the creation and use of evidence. He draws out lessons from the government’s effort to evaluate a major antipoverty program (PROGRESA-Oportunidades), publish politically sensitive poverty data, introduce performance measurement in education, and institutionalize learning. He concludes with a proposal for how developing countries could systematically incorporate evidence in policymaking. >>>
Francis Fukuyama
In this article published in the Journal of Democracy, Francis Fukuyama of Johns Hopkins University discusses the evolution of the rule of law and its role in political development. He begins by describing alternative economic and juridical definitions of rule of law emphasizing either property rights or binding rules on members of a community. Fukuyama then notes that the origins of the rule of law lie in pre-modern societies governed by divine authority and thus were applicable to all members of the community. However, he argues that the emergence of the rule of law in Western Europe was contingent on several factors, including codification in authoritative scriptures, legal specialization, institutional autonomy, and the correspondence between law and social norms. Fukuyama concludes by noting that democracy promotion must take into account of the sequencing of rule of law reforms and the need for reforms to be consistent with the values and customs of society.

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USAID
In this report written for USAID, scholars and practitioners consider how state building is affected by contextual factors such as state fragility and internal conflict. They begin by noting how the concept of state building has evolved from merely supporting capacity building to fostering broad and inclusive political processes that increase state resilience and result in political settlements acceptable to local stakeholders. They further highlight the relationships between state building, diplomacy, and development by noting the lack of USAID capacity to engage NGOs and implement development policy. Finally, the report performs a case study of USAID’s efforts in South Sudan that reviews the weakness of the Government of South Sudan and sets strategic and operational priorities for USAID state building efforts.

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Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

Albert van Zyl, Vivek Ramkumar, and Paolo de Renzio
In this Anti-Corruption Resource Center Report, Albert van Zyl, Vivek Ramkumar, and Paolo de Renzio discuss how supreme audit institutions (SAIs) can forge links with legislatures and civil society to ensure accountability.  Although SAIs face challenges in evaluating expenditures and governmental performance, alliances with parliamentary bodies and citizen activists can strengthen their capacity, even when these partner organizations may be weak or lack their own organizational capacity. Further, the authors argue that donor countries can support SAIs by ensuring greater coordination among capacity building activities while taking account of underlying political dimensions.

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Kourtney Pompi and Lacey Kohlmoos
In this National Democratic Institute Manual, Kourtney Pompi and Lacey Kohlmoos discusses support for a variety of forms of political-process monitoring. It provides an explanation of NDI’s approach toward partnering with local civil society groups, the opportunities and challenges of political-process monitoring initiatives, and a review of NDI’s monitoring programs. In addition, it offers several tools used by NDI to implement and deliver assistance, as well as case studies of NDI programs in each dimension of political-process monitoring. These include legislative monitoring, shadow reporting, monitoring government follow-through, and campaign-related monitoring. Finally, performs a global overview of monitoring initiatives to highlight their similarities and differences.

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International Bar Association, Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
Compiled by IBAHRI on behalf of UKAID, this extensive handbook is the result of several conferences regarding the role of parliamentarians in upholding and protecting human rights. It begins by describing the international human rights legal framework and reviews its international monitoring and implementation. Then, it provides a comprehensive overview of the concept of human rights and its subsequent provisions, including the right to life, liberty, expression, and association. Finally, it concludes by reviewing the important role of parliamentarians and the legal tools available to legislatures in defending human rights, noting that countries whose parliaments fail to protect human rights will suffer from a lack of citizen representation.

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Judith Kelley
In “The Supply and Demand for International Election Monitoring,” Judith Kelley of Duke University explores the conditions under which states invite election monitors to observe electoral contests as well as monitors’ choices about whether or not to observe a specific electoral process. The article argues that election monitoring is like a market where supply is driven by a desire of monitoring agencies to provide information and improve election quality. Rather than shun external "meddling." governments demand monitoring to obtain domestic and international legitimacy. Kelley’s data shows strong support for this model, but also highlights a "shadow market" in which less critical monitors offer pseudo-legitimacy to shield states from criticism.

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Afghanistan

Gretchen Birkle, Michael O’Hanlon, Hassina Sherjan
In this Bookings Institute Foreign Policy Paper, Gretchen Birkle, Michael O’Hanlon, and Hassina Sherjan articulate a political strategy for the international community in its engagement with Afghanistan. While a clear military strategy is in place, the authors argue that no political counterpart exists that can unite the efforts of civilian diplomatic and development agencies working within the country.  Their strategy touches on all significant elements of the Afghan polity, including its parliament, political parties, and the issues of constitutional reform and corruption. Finally, the authors argue that their strategy should be understood in institutional terms and promotes the best opportunity to establish a lasting relationship with the Government of Afghanistan and strengthen its capacity to rule on behalf of the Afghan people. 

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Bangladesh

Mushtaq H. Khan
In this working paper, Mushtaq Khan of the University of London examines the emergence of Bangladeshi nationalism through the country’s two violent partitions in 1947 and 1971. Further, it highlights the role of clientielist politics and economic opportunities in affecting the emergence of nationalism and the development of political parties. In the contemporary context, Khan shows how clientielist politics fosters a competitive approach to politics that is incompatible with reform efforts promoting good governance. At the same time, the inability to improve governmental performance has direct effects on economic growth, which can be sustained only by improving the enforcement capabilities of state agencies.

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Kenya

Jacob Butler
In “Evolving Political Accountability in Kenya,” Jacob Butler of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, explores how citizen expectations of political leaders have changed due to recent political developments in Kenya. According to Butler, the multiparty elections 1992 introduced accountability into the calculus of Kenyan politics. He illustrates the highly contested nature of the move to accountability and the conflicts between entrenched politicians and pro-reform civil society groups. Further, Butler discusses the role of the judiciary and international actors in influencing Kenya’s move towards accountability and concludes by reflecting on the current state of good governance in the country.

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Rwanda

Maria Sebastian
In “Justice Sector Reform in Rwanda,” Maria Sebastian of SIT World Learning examines how different actors compete to introduce new ideas about justice reform into Rwandan civil society and government. Sebastian discusses how international donors and Rwandan government officials perceive and act upon alternative concepts of justice through the implementation of justice reform initiatives.  Through semi-structured interviews and an analysis of justice sector projects, the author examines the roles taken by donor actors in promoting concepts of justice and their receptivity within the Rwandan judicial sector. While their values may not differ per se, donors and local stakeholders have alternative prioritizations of the same values. Finally, she reports that tensions persist within the sector regarding maintaining institutional independence and harmonizing sector-wide strategies.

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Uganda

William Muhumuza

In “Pitfalls of Decentralization Reforms in Transitional Societies,” William Muhumuza of Uganda’s Makerere University discusses the complications of efforts toward governmental decentralization. He uses the Ugandan case to show how donor-driven decentralization reforms have not performed according to expectations because of the converging external and domestic interests. According to the author, the central government has not ceded adequate sources of revenue to local governments, thereby hampering the decentralization process. On this basis, Muhumuza argues that successful support for decentralization requires that donors accurately appraise the political will of national and local stakeholders to sincerely devolve power and transform national politics. >>>

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 Journal of Democracy, USAID, Brookings Institute and other organizations and researchers.

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

In This Issue

* Capacities for Institutional Innovation: A Complexity Perspective

* Evaluation Revisited – Improving the Quality of Evaluative Practice by Embracing Complexity

* Toward Results-Based Social Policy Design and Implementation

* Toward a Plurality of Methods in Project Evaluation

* Statebuilding in Situations of Fragility and Conflict

* Responding to the Challenges of Supreme Audit Institutions: Can Legislatures and Civil Society Help?

* Political-Process Monitoring: Activist Tools and Techniques

* Human Rights and Parliaments: Handbook for Members and Staff

* The Supply and Demand for International Election Monitoring

* Toward a Political Strategy for Afghanistan

* Bangladesh: Partitions, Nationalisms and Legacies for State-Building

* Evolving Political Accountability in Kenya

* Justice Sector Reform in Rwanda: A Space of Contention or Consensus?

* Pitfalls of Decentralization Reforms in Transitional Societies

Development and Governance Blogs

Turtle Bay at ForeignPolicy.com covers ongoing developments at the United Nations and across all major international organizations.

Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance at the Center for Global Development explores the reform and transformation of U.S. development policy.

The Guardian’s Poverty Matters Blog discusses efforts to eradicate poverty and spur development across the global South.

The Open Budgets Blog at the International Budget Partnership shows how a transparent and accountable budget process increases opportunities for citizen engagement with governments.


Aid at the Edge of Chaos explores how chaos and complexity theory can be used to inform our understanding of development and governance. 


Owen Abroad is the personal blog of CGD fellow Owen Barder and reviews innovative development initiatives and policies. 

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