Wednesday, December 13, 2006
EDF management and performance
Background papers by James Mackie and Vibeke Rasmussen and Jason Scott for the ECDPM seminar on the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement ask:
How much did the new emphasis on performance and the rationalisation of instruments and management of aid contribute to more effective and efficient development programmes?
The Cotonou Agreement signed in June 2000 streamlined the EDF and introduced a system of rolling programming allowing for greater flexibility and giving the ACP countries greater responsibility.
The key change was of course the end of the aid entitlement system of Lomé and its replacement by allocations linked to performance.
There was also a drastic simplification of instruments so that ACP governments now had to deal with just one instrument the National Indicative Programme.
Linked to these changes in EDF management the CPA also proposed to enhance the role played by National Authorising Officers (NAOs), the senior government minister or official in each ACP country who held responsibility for the use of EDF funds, and the NAO offices that supported them away from an essentially technical and financial managerial role towards a more strategic one.
According to Mackie:
"Clearly the combined effect of these changes has been first to largely restore the credibility and legitimacy of EC aid."
"Moreover, a few ACP countries have been able to move ahead faster than perhaps expected, their good performance in financial management and programme implementation being rewarded with increased allocations."
"On the other hand we do not seem to have progressed as well on the question of ACP ownership of the cooperation nor indeed on the question of mutual accountability. The programming and review processes have not been as ‘joint’ or ‘mutual’ as many would like."
"Reducing the number of instruments in the EDF has simplified things, but EDF procedures are still proving too cumbersome and the new trend of creating EDF funded facilities both introduces new complexities and tends to place more management control in European hands."
"The degree to which it has really been possible to build a more strategic approach to ACP-EU cooperation on the rolling programming and performance based system is also questionable."
"The shift towards a more strategic role for NAOs has been slower than hoped and procedures that remain cumbersome militate against such a change."
"ACP ownership of the development cooperation process is probably the greatest victim and in this respect there is still much work to be done to adjust ACP-EU practice to the precepts of the Paris Declaration."
According to Rasmussen and Scott:
"it appears that the change both in the programming style and in the management has overall been beneficial."
"The many changes in the Cotonou are the prime evidence that, from an academic point of view at least, all the principles such as rolling programming, consultation, ownership, sector analysis, cross cutting themes etc are justified and needed, but they are also very resource thirsty for the partners and that is often a problem."
"As the tools of partnership and cooperation have become more participatory and sophisticated they have become much more resource thirsty in human resource terms, requiring greater levels of competencies which creates challenges for all partners."
"Ideally the financial procedures should also be made more user friendly. This could be done while still ensuring the required levels of control."
Read the background papers by James Mackie and Vibeke Rasmussen and Jason Scott
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