Localising Aid: Can using local actors strengthen them?
This paper sets out a research programme to address whether the "Paris-style" approach to using systems to strengthen them (i.e., transferring aid to and through those systems) is working, and whether an analogous approach also might be appropriate for non-state sectors (i.e., the private sector and civil society). The paper tentatively proposes a new formulation: "localising aid."
- "Localising aid" means channelling aid to recipient-country entities. These entities might be public (ministries, parliament, accountability bodies, and local government) or private (civil society organisations, media, non-governmental organisations, and the for-profit sector).
- There are two ways aid agencies give aid to local entities: as core support to the work of those entities, usually with some kind of conditions or by channelling money through them to complete an agreed task according to a specific contract. We recognise that there are many ways in which country partners, state, and non-state may be strengthened; "using" them is only one way of doing so.
However, that is the intentionally limited focus of this research programme. Other ways of achieving similar objectives may be analysed as comparators (p. vii). This preliminary framing paper does not seek to present evidence, but rather to frame the enquiry. The output of the research will be an improved evidence base to support the development of aid-delivery options that credibly balance results with sustainability and the political economy factors of both donor and recipient countries.
- In Part 1 of this paper, we look at the history of aid effectiveness to date, with a special focus on the motivating factors behind, and critiques of, the Paris Agenda.
- In Part 2, we set out a research programme to investigate whether localising aid may lead to better aid impacts, particularly with regard to sustainability of development results, through the strengthening of the state sector, private sector, and civil society (p. viii).
In our conclusion, we argue that if the first challenge for effective aid in the second decade of the 21st century is to learn the lessons of the past, the second is to apply them in a changed and rapidly evolving context (p. xiii).