We move on from talking about the impact of aid to the process of how it is delivered.
Over the past decade, some of the major donors have begun changing the way they deliver aid, by, for example:
1. Making their programmes more complementary (Harmonization)
2. Strengthening the ownership and systems of recipient countries (Alignment).
3. Opening up tenders for aid projects to companies outside the donor country (Untying).
Check out the the Paris Declaration for more on this.
These changes are a direct response to some of the criticisms of aid we have been discussing.
Those of you who work in development would hear a lot about mechanisms like Sector-Wide Approaches and Direct Budget Support, which aim to bring donors together to direct aid through countries own systems and according to their priorities.
Interestingly, Australia's Aid Program has been moving in the opposite direction.
Having little to show after years of budget support to Papua New Guinea, Australia abandoned the strategy in the late 90s and moved to project aid. The bad experience in PNG seems to have shaped Australia's approach across the Pacific, where project aid is also the dominant form of assistance, according to the OECD.
This brings us to one of big 'chicken and egg' dilemmas in aid delivery - how can you strengthen countries' own systems when they are so corrupt or inefficient that resources are likely to be wasted?
A related question: is Australia's PNG experience directly applicable to the rest of the Pacific?
Over to you...
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