Foreign Aid: International Donor Coordination of Development Assistance

Many experts believe that improved coordination among donor governments and multilateral aid organizations could make global development assistance more efficient and effective. Proliferation of donors in recent decades, and fragmentation of aid among an increasing number of countries and projects, has increased calls for coordination. More than 45 countries and 21 multilateral organizations reported providing official development assistance (ODA) in 2010. An estimated 150 countries received this assistance in 2010, with the United States alone providing aid to 139 countries. Many developing countries host officials from dozens of bilateral and multilateral aid agencies each year. This diffuse aid structure, reformer advocates argue, leads to redundancy, policy incoherence, inefficient use of resources, and unnecessary administrative burdens on host countries. While some observers argue that there are benefits to pluralism in foreign assistance, donors and recipients alike have expressed support for improved donor coordination and consolidation of aid activities. A series of high-level forums sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, between 2002 and 2011, established widely accepted goals for key aspects of coordination, or harmonization, as well as mechanisms for evaluating progress toward those goals.

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