July 12, 2011
  Governance Information Bulletin #28 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Aid and Governance Strategies

Richard Youngs
In this FRIDE Working Paper, Richard Youngs of the University of Warwick offers a rebuttal to the critics of liberal democracy promotion. He argues that traditionally leftist critiques fail to grasp the way in which democracy support policies have evolved to support meeting local demands for reform in nondemocratic states. Rather than function as a means to impose rigid liberal norms of market capitalism or individual political participation, Youngs suggests that democracy promotion must  find ways to defend core liberal norms while remaining consistent with local variations in democratic reform to enable civic empowerment and emancipation. He concludes that current critiques of democracy promotion push the field in the opposite direction. >>>

Stephen Krasner
In the June issue of National Defense University’s PRISM journal, Stephen Krasner of Stanford University argues that the international community’s assumptions about the goals of state building are fundamentally flawed. He argues that the pursuit of Weberian state institutions is an impossible objective because the activities of external actors are often incompatible with the norm of sovereignty. Further, development and security assistance tends to distort incentives for local elites to build their own durable institutions. Instead, Krasner argues that local authorities should agree to "contract out" certain institutional functions of the state to the international community or private contractors. Such third parties can provide services to the host nation while simultaneously developing codes of conduct for the implementation of state policies.

Homi Kharas, Koji Makino, and Woojin Jung
In this introductory book chapter to a collection for Brookings, "Catalyzing Development: A New Vision for Aid," Homi Kharas, Koji Makino, and Woojin Jung describe the importance of the upcoming Busan High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in November 2011 (a successor conference to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness) and propose an agenda to realize the principles of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee.  They begin by reviewing the current perspective of development among professionals and practitioners which emphasizes the importance of local country ownership and the enabling potential of aid assistance. The authors argue that this vision has much in common with the development experiences of Asian nations such as South Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. They then discuss the state of the aid effectiveness agenda and what outcomes must be achieved in the upcoming Busan Forum. Finally, they describe the rest of their edited volume and provide 10 proposals to encourage implementation of the contemporary agenda.

Vanesa Weyrauch and Gala Díaz Langou
In "Sound Expectations," Venesa Weyrauch and Gala Díaz Langou of the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) provide a conceptual framework for use in developing case studies that identify factors which affect and explain the potential influence of impact evaluations on development policy. The authors focus not only on whether an evaluation has had an impact on policy, but also examine why influence was or was not achieved. Finally, the paper concludes that the policy change influenced by evaluation is ultimately determined by the interplay of policy objectives with the supply and demand for research in the policymaking process.


Robert W. Gordon
In this article, Robert W. Gordon of Yale Law School examines how rule of law programs have been conceptualized by development professionals and the role of lawyers in their implementation. Gordon shows how rule of law practitioners have generally assumed that neutral judges and lawyers were needed to govern institutions defending markets and human rights. In this context, lawyers function as agents constructing and applying legal norms that promote legal, political and economic liberalization. However, while lawyers and legalism have served to promote democratic polities, the author notes that they also can act in conservative ways by defending clients and interest groups to ultimately reduce the ability of citizens to engage government. Finally, Gordon concludes by arguing that expectations for rule of law projects have been set too high by practitioners and that any successful legal system can only be based on social agreements about the rules and roles of the social institutions in which lawyers are embedded.


Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

European Commission
In this Reference Document written on behalf of the European Commission, Jonathan Murphy, Greg Power and Jose Macuane provide a comprehensive review and statement of purpose of its various different parliamentary strengthening activities. The report begins by describing the institutional ideal of an effective parliament uses this model as a framework for a three-phase parliamentary assessment. It then examines entry points for parliamentary development activities and different modalities of offering parliamentary assistance in the fields of budget support, parliamentary involvement in national development strategies, and donor accountability. Finally, it reviews the different approaches taken by organizations involved in parliamentary strengthening such as UNDP, global and regional parliamentary associations, official development agencies and democracy support actors.


Governance and Social Development Resource Centre
In this "Helpdesk Research Report" requested by AusAID, the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre provides a literature review on parliamentary strengthening monitoring and evaluation. The first part of the report discusses difficulty of attributing improvements in parliamentary effectiveness to a particular intervention due to the large number of variables. Its second part examines the literature on the evaluation of electoral assistance and party assistance, and summarizes the literature’s recommendations for effective monitoring and evaluation. Lastly, the report provides an annotated bibliography of relevant publications covering parliamentary strengthening, electoral and political party support, and monitoring and evaluation reports in both these fields.


Michael Yard
In this edited volume for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Michael Yard compiles a series of case studies to illustrate the various components of building civil and voter registries. The case studies discuss the execution of voter registration in both countries experiencing political stability as well as emerging from conflict.   On this basis, activities may involve building a registry system and conducting first time registration, strengthening an existing registration system with new technology, or assisting in the development of a continuous or civil register. Finally, the report provides an overview of thematic issues common to all the case studies as well as recommendations for implementing registration activities. >>>

The Parliamentary Centre
In "The Budget Process in Africa," the Parliamentary Centre studies the legal frameworks and budget processes of seven African countries (Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) which receive CIDA-funded support for budget oversight. By identifying the specific institutional relationships involved at each stage in each country’s budget process, it locates the functional role of parliament in the countries of interest.  Further, it highlights best practices in budget oversight across these countries which aim to promote transparency, accountability, and efficient fiscal management by the executive. Lastly, it concludes by noting the importance of a sound relationship between parliament and the executive branch as a prerequisite for optimal budget outcomes. >>>


Martine van Bijlert
In this Afghanistan Analysts Network Briefing Paper, Martine van Bijlert analyzes the results of the 2010 Afghan parliamentary election. The author examines the votes counting and audit process of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as well as the adjudication of complaints by the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC). After describing the background to the election and the activities of the IEC and ECC, van Bijlert illustrates the discrepancies between the preliminary and finals results in each province. Based on her data, she concludes that the election process was significantly flawed and demonstrates the continued vulnerability of Afghan institutions to political pressure and manipulation.  


Anglophone Africa

Sophia Moestrup
In "Semi-presidentialism and Power Sharing," Sophia Moestrup of the National Democratic Institute explores how semi-presidential regimes perform in African countries with a British colonial legacy. In Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania, semi-presidential institutions were consciously chosen given the benefits of a dual executive system. However, semi-presidentialism has not worked out as expected in these countries. Namibia suffers under increasing power concentration by the executive branch, Kenya changed back to a presidential constitution in 2010; and Tanzania has struggled with its transition to democracy. These outcomes suggest that the shift towards semi-presidentialism has not produced the desired outcome. Finally, Moestrup concludes that these shortcomings are the result of the combination of the institutional incentives produced by semi-presidentialism and each country’s political context.


Armenia and Azerbaijan

Melita Kuburas
In "Ethnic Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh," Melita Kuburas of the University of Toronto analyzes the violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  She shows how elites of both ethnic groups have historically used nationalist appeals to make claims to territory in Nagorno-Karabakh to trigger political and social uprisings. These methods of nation building overlap with regional and global political dynamics, such as the competing influences of Western Europe and Soviet Union/Russia. On this basis, Kurburas concludes that hostility within the region is not inherent to the interactions between different ethnic groups but instead is the product of elite political agendas and contextual developments. Ultimately, these elites may impede the development of inclusive and democratic forms of politics in Armenia and Azerbaijan. 



Isabelle Fortin
In this paper, Isabelle Fortin of the Centre for International Governance Innovation examines how the security and justice reform sectors were affected by the January 2010 earthquake as well as the new security challenges faced by the population in the post-earthquake period. Prior to the earthquake, Fortin describes how the country was in the midst of a second round of security and justice system reforms supported by the international community. However, damaged infrastructure and casualties in key justice and security positions hindered the existing security institutions’ ability to respond to the problems caused by the destruction. Nonetheless, the author argues that disaster provides an opportunity to consider security and justice matters through a more participatory lens that includes the public, businesses, the police, judges and civil society organizations to effectively steer Haiti through its recovery.



Ann-Sofie Isaksson and Arne Bigsten

In "Institution building with limited resources," Ann-Sofie Isaksson and Arne Bigsten of the University of Gothenburg perform a case study of the establishment of Rwanda’s supreme audit institution (SAI). The authors illustrate the tensions between institutional first-best benchmarks promoted by the international community and local operational constraints in a developing country’s institution-building process. Drawing on data from document studies and key informant interviews, their empirical results suggest that capacity constraints within the institution as well as among its major stakeholders make it more dependent on information from the audited entity. However, they also conclude by suggesting how the programmatic ideal of SAI independence can be compromised in order to effectively tackle operational constraints to build staff and institutional capacity. >>>

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 European Commission, FRIDE, IFES, the Brookings Institute, and other organizations and researchers.

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

In This Issue

* Misunderstanding the maladies of liberal democracy promotion

* Internal Support for the State Building: Flawed Consensus

* An Agenda for the Busan High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

* Sound expectations: from impact evaluations to policy change

* The Role of Lawyers in Producing the Rule of Law: Some Critical Reflections

* Engaging and Supporting Parliaments Worldwide: Strategies and methodologies for EC action in support to parliaments

* Monitoring and Evaluation of Parliamentary Strengthening and Electoral Support Programmes

* Civil and Voter Registries: Lessons Learned from Global Experiences

* The Budget Process in Africa: A Comparative Study of Seven Countries

* Untangling Afghanistan's 2010 Vote

* Semi-presidentialism and Power Sharing – Does it Work? Examples from Angolophone Africa

* Ethnic Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh

* Security Sector Reform in Haiti One Year After the Earthquake

* Institution building with limited resources: Establishing a supreme audit institution in Rwanda

Development and Governance Blogs

The ODI Blog features the personal views of ODI experts on a range of current events and issues regarding development and aid assistance.

The Open Budgets Blog of the International Budget Partnership promotes budgetary and financial transparency in its global coverage of parliamentary fiscal activities.

The World Bank’s People, Spaces, and Deliberation blog explores the interactions among public opinion, governance and the public sphere.

OECD Insights explores today’s most significant development and governance issues including conflict, climate change and institutional capacity building.

Aid on the Edge of Chaos discusses the relationship between complexity theory and development as an alternative to traditional linear and mechanistic models of aid assistance.

Stephen Walt at ForeignPolicy.com provides a realist take on international relations, political economy and development.

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