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Over the last five years, our newsletter “Cash on Delivery Aid Update” has begun to cover more than just Cash on Delivery Aid(COD Aid). So we’ve decided to rename the newsletter, but what shall we call it?
In July, countries will gather in Addis Ababa to adopt an agreement on Financing for Development (FFD). A recently issued “Zero Draft” for an Addis Ababa Accord lays out a framework that goes beyond looking at funding sources to reaffirm the goals, principles, challenges, and policies that are required to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Is learning the only result worth financing in education?” That was the question posed to me at a recent World Bank debate about results-based financing in education. The question is germane because the World Bank has a large program of results-based financing in health and a new modality of Program for Results lending operations, and it is negotiating a new trust fund for performance programs in education.
Recently, I sent out the final Evaluation Gap Update – a newsletter about impact evaluations and the institutions that fund them, implement them, or are supposed to be influenced by them. After 10 years, it seemed the right time to move on to other projects, particularly since numerous other resources have sprung up over this decade (many listed below!). Yet there is pushback on the growth of impact evaluations that sometimes worries me. I hear people say too many impact evaluations are being conducted (despite the need for the information they provide).
In the world of international aid, performance payments are a hot topic. But when it comes to signing performance payment agreements, most funders have been reticent. One of the reasons is a fear of “Double Counting” – paying once for investments to achieve outcomes and a second time when the outcomes are delivered. This concern ignores the complexity of achieving development goals and the intangible assets invested by recipient countries. When funders do agree to performance agreements, they end up ignoring the burden on recipients of “Double Demanding” – disbursing when outcomes are achieved and then setting restrictions on the use of those funds. All this confusion gets in the way of designing effective aid programs.
Creating an evidence base requires good research, but how can we know if evidence is strong or weak … or even misleading? The process by which researchers conduct, document, and share their work is essential to winnowing out weak studies and to improving, honing and disseminating strong ones. At the risk of taking the metaphor too far – can we make research so transparent that anyone can see right through it?
Recently I wrote an offhand comment about the “stagnation of foreign aid” in a draft introduction. On reflection, that didn’t sound quite right. So after some investigation with my research assistant, Albert Alwang, I came to the conclusion that the answer to the question posed in the title is actually “all of the above!” How can that be?
In recent years, donors have been making greater use of performance-based payment approaches to fund development programs. The UK Department for International Development, using the broader term being used across the UK government, has added “Payment by Results” (PbR) to the development lexicon.