Aid and Domestic Accountability

Working and discussion papers
March 2009
Alan Hudson and the GOVNET Secretariat

This Background Paper provides a conceptual framework for a two-year programme of work on aid and domestic accountability, to be led by the Governance Network (GOVNET) of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. The aim of the programme of work is to support improvements in domestic accountability that enhance governance, lead to faster progress on poverty reduction and make aid more effective. The programme of work will achieve this by generating a better understanding and evidence base about the realities of governance and domestic accountability in order to inform the policy and practice of donors and other relevant stakeholders.

The Background Paper explains what domestic accountability is, outlines the relationship between aid and domestic accountability, and explores donors’ efforts to contribute to building the capacity for domestic accountability in developing countries. It then  provides a conceptual framework and approach for the programme of work that will enable donors and other stakeholders: to explore the complexities of governance in particular countries; to consider the impact of aid both in terms of shaping the scope and contributing to strengthening the capacity for domestic accountability; and, to analyse the role that politics and incentives play in shaping domestic accountability. A key feature of the approach proposed is that of exploring the emergence and operation of accountability systems around a number of key issues in state-citizen relations such as budget processes, electoral processes, taxation and service-delivery. A final section of the paper considers the next steps for GOVNET’s planned work-stream on aid and domestic accountability, reiterating the importance of strong involvement from developing countries.

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