The question that lies at the heart of this study is which aid instruments are best suited to promote environmental management that contributes to poverty reduction and development, and under which circumstances?
General Budget Support (GBS) was a response to the dissatisfaction over the effectiveness of earlier aid delivery mechanisms, particularly concern over limited national ownership and resource allocation under project and programme support. Its origins are closely associated with the introduction of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) as a focus for collaboration between donors and partner countries.
There is concern that some cross-cutting issues, such as the environment, have been weakly incorporated into PRSPs that help guide resource allocation under GBS. Capacity building has also been recognised as a weak input under GBS; this poses a challenge for delivery on environmental issues, as environmental ministries and their line agencies tend to be among the least well resourced elements of the state administration. For the donor's part, previous environmental due diligence procedures that were designed for project and programme assistance may now need revision.
Environmental assets are increasingly the cause of conflict, which may worsen with climate change. Whilst not being the whole answer, government action should certainly be part of it.
External support provided through GBS may deliver environmental improvements where (a) such efforts to safeguard the environment need to work predominantly through the state; and (b) where the policies, public finance management systems and service delivery structures of the state are of an adequate standard to permit the effective use of GBS. Both of these assumptions are evaluated as part of this study.