February 10, 2016
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Development Strategy

Thomas Carothers (OECD 2015)

The world of international development assistance is brimming with broad concepts that sound widely appealing and essentially uncontroversial. Yet when one looks hard at the specific meaning of any of these concepts and principles, one quickly finds very different – and sometimes conflicting – ideas at work underneath the surface of apparent consensus. Ownership is one more of these broad concepts that have become pervasive in the aid world during the past two decades – widely appealing, hard to disagree with, relevant to providers and recipients of aid alike, and constantly invoked. Yet, as with others in this category of broad concepts, the apparent consensus on ownership masks deep divisions. The debates in recent years at the Third and Fourth High-Level Forums on aid, at Accra and Busan, over whether ownership is best conceived of as “governmental ownership”, “country ownership” or “democratic ownership” are a manifestation of this fact. But the divisions go much deeper than such linguistic skirmishes might indicate. The concept of ownership is in fact at the heart of a deep-reaching struggle between two conflicting imperatives shaping the contemporary domain of international assistance: the push to make ownership the basic feature of international aid, and movement toward viewing developing country societies rather than just developing country governments as the true partners of international assistance.


Thomas Carothers (Carnegie Endowment, 2015)

As restrictions on foreign funding for civil society continue to multiply around the world, Western public and private funders committed to supporting civil society development are diversifying and deepening their responses. Yet, as a result of continued internal divisions in outlook and approach, the international aid community is still struggling to define broader, collective approaches that match the depth and breadth of the problem.


Tam O'Neil and Pilar Domingo (ODI September 2015)

Around the world, women now have more influence over the decisions that affect their lives. Even in the most conservative societies, feminists and gender advocates have been able to forward more equitable policies and outcomes. This briefing explores women’s decision-making power in this context. It looks at the reasons for women’s increased presence in public life around the world, and why women in some socioeconomic groups, sectors and countries have less political power than others. It examines when and how women have power and influence in practice, and what they seek to achieve. In addition, the authors outline how the international community can better support women’s political leadership by investing in women’s education and economic assets, their organisations and political apprenticeships; focusing on political systems and not just elections; and supporting locally-led and problem-driven responses.

Human Rights/Rule of Law

Crichton, Haider, Chowns and Browne. (Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK 2015)

This revised topic guide provides an introduction to the interactions and links between human rights and international development. Human rights are increasingly visible in international development language, policies and programmes. Human rights, and the principles they are based on, are argued to improve the effectiveness of development programmes. But beyond that, a human rights framework is seen as essential for poverty reduction because it seeks to address the multiple rights denials that cause and shape poverty. This guide introduces the international human rights framework, ‘rights-based approaches to development’, and the policies of various donors and NGOs. It explores how human rights can enhance policy and practice in various development sectors, and examines the relationship between rights, social exclusion and discrimination. The guide uses parallel vocabulary. For the legal aspects of human rights, it employs the controlled vocabulary used in international law. For rights-based approaches and development policy, it uses the language of development agencies.

Leanne McKay and edited by Adewale Ajadi and Vivienne O’Connor (USIP December 29, 2015)

This guide is the product of a two-year partnership between USIP and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Counterterrorism, during which USIP designed, developed and piloted a foundation rule of law course for the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law. The target audience for this guide is mid- and senior-level justice sector stakeholders. These include government officials (such as lawmakers, prosecutors, judges, police and corrections officials) and nongovernmental representatives (including defense lawyers, representatives of national human rights institutions and other oversight bodies, and members of civil society organizations).

Lisa Denney and Pilar Domingo (ODI January, 2016)

Security and justice programming remains a critical part of international aid efforts. However, there are a number of challenges regarding how it can deployed best. A number of recent reviews and evaluations have noted deficiencies in current modes of support, including over-ambition, lack of clear objectives, a fallback on established but often ineffective approaches, a focus on quantity rather than quality of results and limited learning or sustainability. The security and justice is also becoming increasingly concerned – for better or worse – with transnational concerns related to people flows, organised crime and terrorism. This report sets out three trends that are changing the security and justice space internationally, and examines what this might mean for programme implementation. The trends that this report identifies are: (i) An increasing recourse to political economy analysis (ii) A heightened focus on problem-driven iterative adaptation approaches to inform programming and (iii) The broadening of S&J agendas to include transnational problems associated with organised crime, people trafficking and even terrorism as development issues.

Public Private Partnerships

Jeffrey Delmon (World Bank, 2015)

Public private partnerships (PPP) represent an approach to procuring infrastructure services that is radically different from traditional public procurement. It moves beyond the client-supplier relationship when government hires private companies to supply assets or a service. PPP is a partnership between public and private to achieve a solution, to deliver an infrastructure service over the long term. It combines the strength of the public sector’s mandate to deliver services and its role as regulator and coordinator of public functions with the private sector’s focus on profitability and therefore commercial efficiency. There is a tendency to approach reform of the PPP framework as a single action, generally delivered by external consultants in one massive report, with a few workshops and training sessions (in an effort to deliver the guidance in a more digestible form). Achieving a viable PPP framework involves a complex series of parallel, iterative initiatives, and efforts. It involves updating the different elements of the PPP framework discussed in this text as each new lesson is learned from PPP transactions as they are implemented and national best practice as it develops. Section one introduces the framework required to support PPP and provides a summary of the text. Sections two to six describes five key elements of the PPP framework and what the government can do to improve them.


Executive: Public Administration – Regulatory Agencies

Daniel De Kadt and Evan S. Lieberman (SSRN, 2015)

Theories of democratic governance posit that citizens should reward politicians for good service and punish them for bad. But does electoral accountability work as theorized, especially in developing country contexts? We contribute a new empirical answer to this question. We study Southern African democracies, where infrastructural investment in basic services has expanded widely, but not universally. We first analyze whether increases in local service provision predict increases in voting returns at various levels of geographic aggregation. We then analyze geo-coded, individual-level survey data that allow us to consider the relationship between service delivery, political attitudes and voting intentions. Together, these analyses demonstrate, quite unequivocally, that citizens do not reward good service. We explore the mechanisms that may account for this surprising finding.

Daniel Armah-Attoh (Afrobarometer, 2015)
The provision of public goods and services is an important aspect of socioeconomic development. In spite of the importance of public services to individuals and nations, the World Bank’s World Development Report (2004) found large variations in the quality and quantity of public goods and services across developing countries and within countries. In most African countries, including Ghana, providing public services is a huge challenge for the state, which is traditionally seen as solely responsible for the production and distribution of these services. In practice, given scarce resources and management challenges, the state alone often cannot provide these services at levels that match rapid population growth, development, and urbanization. Recent Afrobarometer survey data from Ghana shows widespread public dissatisfaction with public services. This paper examines the hypothesis that the quality of public services is an intrinsic factor – and therefore an important indicator to monitor – in Ghanaians’ assessment of government service-delivery performance.


(Democracy Reporting International, 2015)

Over the past fifteen years, there has been a proliferation in the number and types of players that support parliamentary reform, among them international, governmental, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), national governments, parliaments, and academic institutions. This Study provides an overview of the players, methods, themes, strategies, reference frameworks, main activities and implementation modalities applied in the area of parliamentary strengthening.

Davor Jancic (SSRN 2015)

This article seeks to place international parliamentarism on the radar of legal scholarship, reassess the value that representative democracy has in the globalized world, and demonstrate that understanding parliaments as purely domestic institutions immune from international integrative forces is no longer tenable. This article argues that international interparliamentary relations do not occur merely within isolated forums but can and do de facto evolve in layers of overlapping forums whenever circumstances allow it. To capture this phenomenon, the article conceptualizes multilayered international parliamentarism as developing in webs of linkages between the same parliamentary institutions in various bilateral and multilateral frameworks regarding the same region. To demonstrate this, the article conducts an in-depth case study of relations between the parliaments of the EU and Brazil and examines the reaction of the Brazilian and supranational regional Latin American parliaments to the EU Returns Directive. Increased international contacts among parliaments accentuate their deliberative functions and create new avenues for parliamentary input in international affairs.


Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Clément Imbert, Santhosh Mathew, and Rohini Pande (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation 2015)

Low administrative capacity and pervasive corruption constrain the performance of social insurance programs in many low-income settings. The increasing availability of e-governance, i.e., the application of information and communication technology for delivering public services, makes it possible to design mechanisms with fewer agents intermediating the delivery process. Do such redesigns reduce leakages by reducing the number of potential bribe-takers, or worsen performance by reducing oversight on local implementing agencies?

(World Bank, 2015)

Digital technologies have spread rapidly in much of the world. Digital dividends—the broader development benefits from using these technologies—have lagged behind. In many instances digital technologies have boosted growth, expanded opportunities, and improved service delivery. Yet their aggregate impact has fallen short and is unevenly distributed. For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access. But greater digital adoption will not be enough. To get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements”—by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy, and by ensuring that institutions are accountable. The report represents a broad survey of the state level and international issues associated with ICT. Chapter 3 Delivering Services is of particular interest in its focus on the place of digital technologies in relation to government services delivery.

This paper reviews evidence on the use of 23 information and communication technology (ICT) platforms to project citizen voice to improve public service delivery. This meta-analysis focuses on empirical studies of initiatives in the global South, highlighting both citizen uptake (‘yelp’) and the degree to which public service providers respond to expressions of citizen voice (‘teeth’). The conceptual framework further distinguishes between two trajectories for ICT-enabled citizen voice: Upwards accountability occurs when users provide feedback directly to decision-makers in real time, allowing policy-makers and program managers to identify and address service delivery problems – but at their discretion. Downwards accountability, in contrast, occurs either through real time user feedback or less immediate forms of collective civic action that publicly call on service providers to become more accountable and depends less exclusively on decision- makers’ discretion about whether or not to act on the information provided. This distinction between the ways in which ICT platforms mediate the relationship between citizens and service providers allows for a precise analytical focus on how different dimensions of such platforms contribute to public sector responsiveness. These cases suggest that while ICT platforms have been relevant in increasing policymakers’ and senior managers’ capacity to respond, most of them have yet to influence their willingness to do so.

Victoria L. Lemieux (World Bank, 2016)

Many countries are in the process of transitioning from primarily paper-¬‐based administrative systems to digital systems through the application of information and communication technology (ICTs) as part of e-Government initiatives. Though much has been written about the positive power of technology and information to support greater transparency and accountability and, by extension, development, this paper discusses literature relating to the unintended consequences and downside risks for transparency and accountability associated with the way recorded information is produced and managed in digitally enabled developing country public sector contexts. The implications of these risks for implementation of right to information laws is discussed, and a call is made for further research and greater attention to the effects of ICT use in the public sector, especially in regard to effects upon the operation of transparency and accountability mechanisms.

Elections and Political Parties

Seema Shah (IDEA 2015)

In the past several years, social media has taken elections around the world by storm. Indeed, electoral management bodies (EMBs) have noted stakeholders’ increasing reliance on social media throughout the electoral cycle, but they have also voiced concern about the potential for social media to be used to spread hate speech, misinformation and rumours. As a first step towards addressing these concerns International IDEA has developed a model code of conduct for the use of social media during elections. This publication provides general guidelines for EMBs and other stakeholders who wish to agree on a code of etiquette for the publication and dissemination of election-related news and information on social media.


Program Design

Helen Tilley; Sierd Hadley; Cathal Long; Jeremy Clarke (ODI, December 2015)

There have been notable shifts in the understanding of capacity development. This paper attempts to go beyond the question of how organisational capability develops, to ask what might be the path to sustained growth in capability. We find that sustained improvements in capability are most likely to happen where there is high drive for reform from both the political leadership and the bureaucracy, within an institutional environment that provides supporting incentives. While political and bureaucratic drivers can interact, political support is often needed for capabilities to develop and be sustained over time. The way capabilities develop is iterative in nature and often non-linear. Interventions tend to be more successful in areas where task specificity is high, and in cases where outputs are measurable and where there are low levels of staff turnover.

Political Economy Analysis

David Booth, Daniel Harris and Leni Wild (ODI January 2016)

Under what conditions does an understanding of political economy strengthen aid-supported development efforts? This paper sheds light on this question by reflecting on the experience and engagements of a small team of policy researchers in the Politics and Governance Programme of the Overseas Development Institute, using adaptive approaches to development. Three particular areas of work are considered in the paper: problem-focused political economy studies; training in applied political economy analysis for development agency staff; and direct engagement with donor operations. The paper assesses the gains to be had from moving from broad-brush country analysis to more problem-driven approaches and recounts lessons learned from development agencies trying to embed political economy analysis into their work.

Results Based Programming

David Booth (ODI November 2015)

Organisations affiliated with the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) are under increasing pressure to justify their budgets by showing results of a demonstrable and preferably measurable kind. Not infrequently, this is understood as an obligation to support programmes that produce predefined outputs on a predictable basis within planning cycles that are as short as three to five years. However, for those responsible for designing and delivering programmes to influence governance, the rigidity of the standard performance pressures poses a problem. Governance programmes are expected to contribute to changes in institutions, which are recognised to be the result of long-term processes, subject to considerable uncertainty and are not easy to measure. On current assumptions, therefore, governance advisers and planners in development agencies face a serious dilemma. But does the above description accurately capture the current state of play, and are these assumptions valid? This paper suggestions not, whilst also providing a way out of this dilemma for governance practitioners.

Results Based Programming

Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network

This report is offered as a contribution to the multi-stakeholder debate in support of the SDGs. It outlines how a comprehensive indicator framework might be established to support the goals and targets proposed by the Open Working Group on the SDGs (OWG). The report is the result of 18 months of intensive global discussions involving thousands of experts from UN organizations, academia, civil society, business, and a large number of national statistical offices (NSOs).

Message from the Editor

SUNY/CID welcomes new and continuing readers to its Governance Information Bulletin (GIB) which highlights recent articles of interest for development practitioners and scholars in the area of democracy and governance. Areas of attention include: (1) development and international foreign aid, including strategies of democracy and governance assistance; (2) development and political institutions including legislative development; local governance and devolution; and public sector performance improvement and (3) program design, measurement and evaluation.

In addition, all previous issues can be found at the SUNY/CID website here.

We welcome all questions, comments and suggestions at cidgib@albany.edu.

In This Issue

* The Deeper Struggle Over Country Ownership

* The Closing Space Challenge: How Are Funders Responding

* The Power to Decide: Women, Decision-Making and Gender Equality

* Human Rights: Topic Guide

* Toward a Rule of Law Culture: Exploring Effective Responses to Justice and Security Challenges

* Future Directions of Security and Justice: Context-Relevant, Flexible and Transnational Programming?

* Creating a Framework for Public-Private Partnership Programs: A Practical Guide for Decision-Makers

* Do Citizens Reward Good Service? Voter Responses to Basic Service Provision in Southern Africa

* The Quality of Public Services: An Intrinsic Factor in Ghanaian Evaluations of Government Performance

* Global Mapping and Analysis of Parliamentary Strengthening Programs: A Study for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC

* Globalizing Representative Democracy: The Emergence of Multilayered International Parliamentarism

* Can E-Governance Reduce Capture of Public Programmes? Experimental Evidence from India’s Employment Guarantee Scheme in Bihar

* 2016 World Bank World Development Report: Digital Dividends

* When Does ICT-Enabled Citizen Voice Lead to Government Responsiveness?

* One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward? Does E-Government Make Governments in Developing Countries More Transparent and Accountable?

* Guidelines for the Development of a Social Media Code of Conduct for Elections

* Sustaining Public Sector Capability in Developing Countries

* From Political Economy Analysis to doing Development Differently: A Learning Experience

* Achieving Governance Reforms Under Pressure to Demonstrate Results: Dilemma or New Beginning?

* Indicators and a Monitoring Framework for the Sustainable Development Goals Launching a Data Revolution for the SDGs A Report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

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