October 09, 2012
  Governance Information Bulletin #36 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Governance and Aid Strategies

World Bank

In this chapter from the World Development Report 2011, the World Bank examines the achievements and shortfalls of international support for violence prevention and recovery. Multilateral, bilateral, and nongovernmental agencies have helped committed national leaders deliver great accomplishments in reducing violent conflict. But the international system has not kept pace with the adaptation of violent actors themselves, and it is ill-equipped to navigate repeated cycles of violence or the blurred boundaries between political conflict and criminal violence. International agencies are geared to minimizing domestic reputational and fiduciary risk rather than supporting ‘best-fit’ institutional solutions that match political realities on the ground. Overall, this chapter successfully highlights the shortcomings which remain in international conflict resolution. >>>

Matt Andrews,Lant Pritchett,Michael Woolcock

In this Center for Global Development working paper, the authors argue that many reform initiatives in developing countries fail to achieve sustained improvements in performance because they are merely isomorphic mimicry – that is, governments and organizations pretend to reform by changing what policies or organizations look like rather than what they actually do. This dynamic facilitates ‘capability traps’ in which state capability stagnates, or even deteriorates, over long periods of time even though governments remain engaged in developmental rhetoric and continue to receive development resources. To escape capability traps, the authors propose Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) to focus on locally defined problems and authorize positive deviance from established procedures for experimentation. PDIA can thereby facilitate rapid learning across broad sets of agents. >>>

Adrian Leftwich

In this paper written for AusAID, Adrian Leftwich argues that aid for the law and justice sector is not well conceived of as being part of the ‘security’ sector or as technical or administrative support. Instead, he states that we need to understand law and justice as central to governance and, in particular, to the processes of institutional development and the consolidation of the ‘rules of the game’ that shape stable human interactions within and between political, economic and social domains. Leftwich claims that these are unavoidably political processes and that shaping institutions needs to be endogenously driven so as to ensure locally embedded legitimacy needed to make rule of law institutions work. Australian government agencies must facilitate and support the emergence of developmental leaders and coalitions who can negotiate the formation and shape of these institutions.  >>>

Maja Cott and Gregor Young

In “The Role of Crowdsourcing”, Maja Bott and Gregor Young outline the theoretical justifications, key features, and governance structures of crowdsourcing systems as an informational resource for development, crisis response, and post-conflict recovery. Crowdsourcing assumes that broader, unencumbered participation in governance is an objectively positive and democratic aim, and that governments’ accountability can be increased and poor performance corrected through openness and empowerment of citizens. Whether used for tracking flows of aid, reporting on poor government performance, or helping to organize grassroots movements, crowdsourcing has potential to change the reality of civic participation in many developing countries. >>>

Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

Andrew G. Mandelbaum

In this report written for NDI and the World Bank, Andre G. Mandelbaum reviews the impact of Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations (PMOs). These organizations are citizen-led endeavors to demand accountability of parliaments to the electorate, facilitate citizen engagement in the legislative process, and promote access to information about parliaments and their work. Mandelbaum shows that the overall quality of PMO methodologies and interventions remains mixed, and sharing good practices among PMOs is limited. Further, major challenges facing PMOs include limited access to information, insufficient financial support from local and international sources, and parliamentary resistance to their activities. While the use of ICT in parliaments has made the work of PMOs easier, the impact of some PMOs has been limited by a lack of capacity to translate monitoring into greater public awareness or advocacy. The report concludes with recommendations for the international community to encourage effective parliamentary monitoring. >>>

Martin van Vliet, Winluck Wahiu, Augustine Magolowondo

In “Constitutional Reform Processes and Political Parties”, Martin van Vliety, Winluck Wahiu, Augustine Magolowondo provide a set of guiding principles for constitutional reform based on practical experiences of constitutional reform processes in a number of countries. While the primary focus is on the role of political parties in constitution-building processes, the report also provides an overview of common phases, characteristics, challenges, and guiding principles that may be customized to country specific contexts. It further argues that dialogue between political parties can help overcome the temptation in politics to focus on short-term gain in order to allow constitutional reform to be durable across generations.. >>>

Susan Markham
In "The Challenges of Political Programming," Greg Power and Oliver Coleman of Global Partners and Associates examine how different donor agencies and implementing organizations are addressing the challenges of assisting political parties and legislatures. By "political programming," the authors refer to recent attempts by donor agencies to apply more political forms of analysis (such as "drivers of change") in the design, delivery and implementation of projects. Rather than solely relying on technical assistance, these approaches engage with political incentives and existing structures to achieve desired outcomes. The authors draw on interviews with staff from agencies and implementing partners as well as a number of independent consultants working on party and legislative strengthening projects. It also includes an analysis of strategy papers and planning documents from a variety of organizations and an in-depth examination of political programs with parties and parliaments in four countries. >>>

John Gastil and Robert Richards

In this working paper, John Gastil and Robert Richards seek to improve the deliberative nature of direct democratic procedures. They argue that modern direct-democratic elections are flawed because they provide inadequate or unusable information about ballot measures to voters and include campaigns and media organizations that distort policy information. In contrast, Gastil and Richards show how random citizen assemblies can facilitate true deliberation within processes of direct democracy. They argue that highly structured procedures guided by professional moderators and featuring expert testimony on policy and legal matters would ensure deliberative quality and adherence to democratic standards of participant interaction.>>>


Robert D. Lamb and Brooke Shawn

In this report for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Robert D. Lamb and Brooke Shawn argue that the Obama Administration must develop and publish a strategy for supporting governance and politics in Afghanistan along with guidance directing U.S. agencies and military units not to exceed the scope of those objectives without reason. Objectives for governance must be modest due to the emphasis on the economy in US domestic politics, distortions in the Afghan economy caused by large amounts of international aid, and the incremental progress inherent to political and institutional development. Anything beyond what is absolutely essential to improving sustainable governance should be deprioritized. >>>

Côte d’Ivoire

Karel Arnaut

In “Social Mobility in Times of Crisis”, Karel Arnaut explores patriotic youth militias during recent civil conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. The author focuses on how young people within the militias sought to be included into the armed forces through impersonation and the wider processes of networking that provided young people with social mobility. The militarization of youth is seen as a mechanism for young people to engage in politics and have their own impact on public life. This paper provides added insights into how the structure of fragile societies facilitates the mobility of young people into violent conflict and suggests considerations for demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration (DDR).. >>>


Elizabeth Ferris and Sara Ferro-Ribeiro

In this article forthcoming in the journal Disasters, Elizabeth Ferris and Sara Ferro-Ribeiro examine the causes of the international community’s failure to protect civilians in refugee camps and settlements in Haiti. They argue that the definition of protection used by the international community was far too broad. By seeking ‘full respect for all human rights’, donors and humanitarian professionals were unable to set priorities in urban settings characterized by immense needs. Consequently, the clusters working on protection issues defined their tasks and priorities different and ultimately were not effective in protecting the majority of Haitians. The authors also found that the standard international protection tools developed over the past five to ten years simply did not work in Haiti. >>>


Okello Oculi

In this article published in Africa Development, Okello Oculi of Africa Vision 525 analyzes the 2007 post-election violence as part of the legacy of social engineering initiated by colonial officials after the Mau Mau conflict. Oculi argues that the British colonial state ensured the dominance of the white settler class at the expense of Kenyan population, and that post-independence Kenyan state elites continued this strategy to manage challenges by socialist and pro-democracy forces to hold onto their power. Kenyan presidents such as Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi used tribalism as an organizing tool to channel economic anxieties rooted in land, widespread unemployment, and elite struggles for control of political influence. Oculi concludes by arguing that stability in Kenya requires bold initiatives to block efforts using tribalism to prevent re-distribution of large landed estates in several parts of the country, particularly Coast and Central Provinces. >>>

Middle East and North Africa

Abdou Filali-Ansary

In this article, the Journal of Democracy reprints Aga Khan University Professor Abdou Filali-Ansary’s remarks on the discourse of activists used throughout the Arab Spring. Filali-Ansary illustrates how existing Arab discourses about politics have been have been modified to produce a new political language with the inclusion of terms such as ‘democracy’, human rights’, ‘civil society’, and ‘rule of law’. While previously used political and religious terms have not fallen out of practice, their meanings have been augmented and even justified through the medium of modern democratic norms. For example, the author shows how use of the term shari’a has been used to call for a return to basic decency and not merely as a demand for a strict religious order. Finally, Filali-Ansary concludes that the most effective leaders of the Arab Spring will blend political terms in ways seen as most legitimate by Arab citizens. . >>>

Message from the Editor

SUNY/CID welcomes new and continuing readers to its Governance Information Bulletin (GIB) 35 which 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.

IIn this issue, please find recent reports, summaries, and publications on development by development professionals from the World Bank, the Center for Global Development, AusAID, and other organizations and universities. In addition, all previous issues can be found at the SUNY/CID website here

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

In This Issue

* International support to building confidence and transforming institutions

* Escaping Capability Traps through Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA)

* The political approach to the law and justice sector

* The Role of Crowdsourcing for Better Governance in International Development

* Strengthening Parliamentary Accountability, Citizen Engagement and Access to Information: A Global Survey of Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations

* Constitutional Reform Processes and Political Parties: Principles for Practice

* Strengthening Women’s Roles in Parliaments

* Making Direct Democracy Deliberative through Random Assemblies

*Afghanistan: Political Governance and Strategy in Afghanistan

* Côte d’Ivoire :Social Mobility in Times of Crisis: Militant Youth and the Politics of Impersonation in Côte d’Ivoire

* Haiti :Protecting people in cities: the disturbing case of Haiti

* Kenya :The Role of Economic Aspiration in Elections in Kenya

* Middle East and North Africa :The Languages of the Arab Revolutions

Development and Governance Blogs

The Center for Global Development’s Rethinking Foreign Assistance Blog discusses the Foreign Assistance Transparency and Accountability Act and the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Act, two pieces of aid reform legislation currently moving through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Foreign Policy’s The Multilateralist blog examines the World Bank’s efforts to build infrastructure in Bangladesh amid concerns about government corruption.

The Overseas Development Institute blog reviews ongoing debates in the United Kingdom about increases to that country’s development assistance budget and the overall effectiveness of foreign aid.

According to the World Bank’s Governance for Development blog, the Bank is unveiling a new strategy for justice reform that establishes new priorities based on the needs of aid recipients and fosters learning and innovation among local justice institutions.

The International Monetary Fund’s Public Financial Management Blog discusses the role of the French Court of Accounts as a Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) in providing independent oversight and accountability.

The Democracy Digest blog highlights the needed reforms to fulfill Burma’s democratic transition and the role of the National Endowment for Democracy in supporting that country’s pro-democracy movement.

Center for International Development
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