Aid Effectiveness – the Joint Cooperation Strategy: In August 2008, the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and fifteen donors signed a Statement of Intent to Develop a Joint Cooperation Strategy (JCS) in support of the national poverty strategy. The statement was based on the Paris Declaration commitments and prepared as an input into the Accra High Level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness in September 2008. The Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) reinforces the need for all partners to improve aid management.
What will the JCS accomplish? The overall goal of a JCS is to make aid in Bangladesh more effective by creating common platforms for national and sector dialogues and a national owned change process for improving delivery of aid. Here are some examples of areas to improve:
Agreeing on a common expected development outcomes at national and sector levels for the coming years
Reducing project fragmentation and high transaction costs for all partners due to weak lead and coordination, including cumbersome national project approval processes,
Improving national capacity for ownership of cooperation activities through improved human resource management,
Strengthening donor alignment to national systems,
Improving monitoring and accountability on results and of predictability of aid flows
National ownership is essential to make aid more effective. Bangladesh needs to take the lead to make real structural and behavioural changes on aid policies and implementation. Political commitment is essential and national capacity needs to improve. Key aid policy issues are how to implement and monitor the PRS and what role GoB wants the development partners to have.
The International community is committed to support GoB to make aid better. The development partners have signed up to support GoB in their efforts to strengthen aid management capacity and service delivery. International financial resources are available but needs to be managed efficiently to ensure value for money in regards to delivery of real outcomes such as poverty reduction, quality service delivery for all and improvements in people’s wellbeing.
What has happened since Accra 2008? All the Heads of the international development agencies/missions in Bangladesh met in November 2008 and agreed to work proactively to support GoB to make aid more effective. It was agreed that a constructive dialogue at national and sector levels, based on national priorities, are key to make development programmes work better. The new GoB has also expressed a wish to work better with the partners. Over the last few months, GoB has participated in several international aid effectiveness events and has agreed for Bangladesh to be part of the Paris Evaluation 2010, followed by next DAC Survey and the High Level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness in South Korea 2011.
What remains to be done? The GoB (ERD) led JCS Working Group has started various JCS related consultations and recently drafted a JCS paper outline and a detailed JCS Action Plan. The overall success criteria in regards to results would be “regular national dialogues based on a well consulted, realistic and mutually agreed JCS paper with clear aid effectiveness outcomes in support of a prioritised, operational and resourced national poverty strategy. High level agreement from GoB and the donor community is now in place to take the JCS process further, by setting up a clear framework for regular dialogue and approving the suggested process to finalise the strategy by 2010 in consultations with all development partners.
Aid Effectiveness Working Group