Sustained Political Dialogue and Implementation of the Paris Declaration in Mozambique

Context

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) and the Accra Agenda for Action (signed in 2008 to support the implementation of the first document) are two key documents aiming to provide guidelines for Aid Effectiveness. They set out a practical, action-orientated roadmap to improve the quality of aid and its impact on development. The documents consist in action-focused guidelines organized around five principles (Ownership, Alignment, Harmonisation, Managing for Results, Mutual Accountability), and require both partner countries and donors to mutually assess their commitment to Aid Effectiveness.

Mozambique provides the international community with a good case study to assess the effectiveness of political dialogue throughout the delivery of International Aid. The country has been emerging from very high levels of poverty. It is one of the country’s most dependent on international support, as 40 to 55% of the national budget is financed through aid. This follows the 1992 peace agreement, which occurred after 16 years of violent armed conflict. Mozambique has also been internationally recognized as a good example since it actively participated in monitoring surveys from the donors in 2006 and 2008. International donors and the government signed a second Memorandum of Understanding in 2009, highlighting the necessity of aid under the form of Budget Support.

Entry point 

A framework for mutual accountability existed in the country since 2005, establishing the main coordination principles for international cooperation. In 2010 the government adopted the International Cooperation Security Strategy. Mutual accountability can be seen as a constant process of bringing together heterogeneous bodies, from the civil society, the international community, and state bodies. The collaboration is based on the follow-up of an agenda of shared interests, aiming to consolidate the behaviour change required to see significant results. The donors’ and recipient country’s strategies have shifted from a project-oriented approach to international aid, to a sector-specific and general budget support. Budget support activities, such as sectorial support and budget overview, have been instrumental in maintaining continued dialogue between the parties. It has contributed to the implementation of a solid dialogue structure, built on the definition of policy goals and a framework for annual monitoring. A Performance Assessment Framework, defined by a Memorandum of Understanding, acted as the main instrument for monitoring and evaluation between the national government and the 19 donors.

Lessons identified

Country-level evaluation as an incentive for good practice – Mozambique  and donors agreed to robust, data driven, country level assessment of progress, which was the basis for political level discussions on what had been achieved and what further should be done. The existence of an agreed strategy between both parties, as well as of aid effectiveness targets and assessments undertaken by both sides, were prerequisites for success.  Evaluation reports showed that participants from the state of Mozambique considered the programme as serious and of high value. This positive appreciation represented a major step towards mutual trust.

Political Dialogue is more efficient on a sector-based approach – In sectors where the partner’s priority matches the donor’s agenda, and where dialogue is strong enough to allow a mutually-defined strategy, funding is more likely to flow according to the Paris Declaration principles. In Mozambique this trend can be clearly observed by comparing aid to the Health sector, which has been informed by strong ownership and a clear vision, to the agriculture sector (where the support funds have reduced significantly over time).

Impact

Political discussion and dialogue enshrined in the Paris Declaration have become an integral component of the interaction between the donors and the government in Mozambique, and have been assimilated by the civil society to a certain extent.  Thanks to several initiatives aiming to raise awareness on the aid effectiveness agenda, a number of civil society bodies took part in the dialogue process revolving around the role of civil society in promoting aid effectiveness. Specific support was provided to civil society by the UN and donors, with the government of Mozambique committed to engage with it more closely.  

A well organised dialogue on policies and results achieved through donor harmonisation has been established through the lessons of the Budget Support. Alignment of the government of Mozambique and Budget Support partners was consequently improved. This has given rise to a very well organized base of international donors. The annual review on governance and fight against corruption through the Budget Support dialogue generated progress in those areas. The mutual accountability framework in Mozambique has been highlighted as an international reference, and is presented as one of the main examples of improved relations between donors and partners.

Selected Resources

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