The Development Dimension

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A series of OECD books analyzing  the development aspects of policies in other domains, such as economic, financial, environmental, agricultural or trade policies. By systematically taking the development dimension of member country policies into account, OECD analysis and dialogue can help change behaviour in support of development in an ever more integrated, interdependent global economy.

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Strengthening Accountability in Aid for Trade

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31 oct 2011
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9789264123212 (PDF) ;9789264123205(imprimé)

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At a time when aid budgets are under pressure and scrutiny, there is a need to improve accountability. This is especially true in the case of aid for trade, which has become an increasingly important priority in development co-operation.   Strengthening Accountability in Aid for Trade looks at what the trade and development community needs to know about aid-for-trade results, what past evaluations of programmes and projects reveal about trade outcomes and impacts, and how the trade and development community could improve the performance of aid for trade interventions.
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  • Foreword
    The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) orients the aid relationship towards genuine partnerships. Mutual accountability is a concept designed to focus these partnerships on delivering results. Three elements are central in establishing mutual accountability. The first is a shared agenda, with clear objectives and reciprocal commitments. The second involves monitoring and evaluating these commitments and actions. Both of these elements inter-relate with the third: dialogue and review.
  • Acknowledgements
    Strengthening Accountability in Aid for Trade was prepared under the auspices of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the Trade Committee. The report was written by William Hynes and Masato Hayashikawa of the OECD Development Cooperation Directorate, under the guidance of Frans Lammersen.
  • Executive summary
    At a time when aid budgets are under pressure and scrutiny, there is a need to improve accountability. This is especially true in the case of aid for trade, which has become an increasingly important priority in development co-operation. However, the promise and possibilities of improved accountability should be kept in perspective. For instance, evaluation concepts and tools have proliferated in recent years, but in the opinion of some critics this has created a "fixation with measurement" or an "audit culture", accompanied by "bulging toolboxes loaded with frameworks and concepts".
  • How to evaluate aid for trade
    This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of how to evaluate aid-for-trade programmes and projects. It describes a number of conceptual difficulties in measuring the outcomes and impacts of aid for trade and presents a range of existing techniques and guidelines that can be used in evaluating aid for trade. The chapter underscores that careful planning of evaluations is crucial through, inter alia, carrying out ex ante reviews to determine what a programme or project is intended to achieve and ex post assessments to determine what works and what does not.
  • What can be learned from trade-related evaluations?
    This and the next chapter present an overview of the findings from a meta-evaluation of 162 trade-related evaluations, shedding light on how some donors have implemented aid-for-trade programmes and projects and conducted evaluations in terms of both the methods used and topics covered. This chapter in particular describes the outcomes of the quantitative analysis of the meta-evaluation (Chapter 3 focuses on the qualitative analysis). The analysis demonstrates that evaluations of aid-for-trade programmes and projects have not usually had much to say about trade, and have had even less to say about the policy linkages that matter most to policy makers. Some policy recommendations for a way forward are presented in the concluding section.
  • Do aid-for-trade-related evaluations tell us more?
    This chapter presents the outcomes of the qualitative analysis which are largely consistent with the conclusions reached through the quantitative analysis. It finds that the impact of programmes and projects on trade was clearly not the evaluators’ intended focus, although this is partly due to the absence of trade-related objectives in the initial mandate of programmes and projects. Instead they have referred extensively to broad, development-related concepts such as gender or poverty reduction, but without clearly defining these concepts. Evaluations have also often lacked an adequate or realistic timeframe for measuring results, rarely distinguishing between what is achievable in the short and longer terms, thus providing little insight into whether aid for trade works or why.
  • Getting results in aid for trade
    This chapter addresses the challenge of designing effective results chains that connect individual project objectives with more strategic, long-term development outcomes and explores ways to enhance performance management of aid for trade by adopting a system of ‘managing for development results.’ In particular, it suggests potential benefits of harmonising different results measurement systems in aid for trade. The aim is to arrive at a performance management system that would be considered feasible and sustainable. It would ideally be embedded in the results framework of all those programmes which fall under the umbrella of the Aid-for- Trade Initiative. In concluding, the chapter makes a case for establishing a manageable number of aid-for-trade indicators to measure results at the country level.
  • The OECD meta-evaluation: overview of evaluations
    Table A1 (A) provides a broad overview of the evaluations analysed (number of evaluations, number of pages, and average number of pages). While it is possible to compare the data on Ghana and Vietnam, the transport and storage sectors have been treated as one sector (i.e. Transtor). A distinction has been made between the overall (162) and narrow (42) sets of evaluations. In both the overall and narrow sets, the number of evaluations and the number of pages in the evaluations suggest that programmes and projects in Vietnam were evaluated more intensively than those in Ghana. However, the average number of pages ("average length of evaluations") in the overall and narrow sets was greater in the case of Ghana.
  • Examples of existing trade-related indicators
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