Designing the development agency of the future: conference framing paper

Research reports and studies
April 2015

The emerging post-2015 sustainable development framework embodies a broad and complex development agenda. If the Millennium Development Goals prompted a focus on foreign aid as the main international response, the same will not be true for the Sustainable Development Goals. The latter will require a host of other measures – both financial and non-financial – to support future progress.


The sweep of this new policy agenda poses strategic and operational challenges for development cooperation. All agencies, new and old, are exposed to these changes. Agencies will need to ask themselves what the implications are of a changing development agenda on how they deliver development cooperation. As the international landscape grows in complexity, how should governments respond?

The purpose of this paper is to frame the debate on the implications of a changing development landscape for the bilateral governmental agencies that deliver aid. It attempts to set out a normative framework for how agencies could evolve and explores some of the features and institutional arrangements that make them capable of addressing new challenges in development.