Draft Discussion Note on the Results Agenda - For Your Comments!

As part of the lead-up to the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Busan, South Korea, in November 2011, development partners and countries are working on identifying the next steps for the results agenda. The Asia Pacific Community of Practice shares with you their draft note on the results agenda going forward and seek your comments. Kindly provide your thoughts on this by responding in the comments sections at the bottom of the page.

1.       What Drives Development Effectiveness

1.         Delivering results is the common overarching objective of the development community.[1] To deliver and sustain high quality results within given resources, donors and partner countries are committed to increasing the development effectiveness of their resources.

2.         Development effectiveness requires a public sector that delivers reliable public goods and services, mobilizes resources, and produces and implements quality regulation and policies.[2] An effective public sector promotes an enabling environment for other players—private sector, traditional and emerging donors, foundations, and civil society—to contribute to common development goals. It also reinforces country ownership in driving development processes and strengthens accountability for results.

3.         Aid effectiveness, which is integral to development effectiveness, is strengthened when aid programs are delivered through an effective public sector, and donor agencies themselves are managed with a strong focus on results (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Reinforcing development effectiveness

2.       An effective public sector

4.         The public sector is more effective and efficient when it embodies robust public sector management (PSM) systems that are results focused and allow the administration to systematically use performance information to improve decisions.

5.         Results-based PSM recognizes that to deliver and sustain high quality results, the public sector must integrate a results focus across the components of the whole management cycle—planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation[3]—focusing particularly on their interdependencies.[4]

6.         Strong results-based PSM brings significant benefits for overall governance. It enables governments to

(i)            continuously improve decisions throughout the management cycle by learning from performance information and analysis,

(ii)           drive development processes with stronger ownership,

(iii)          account for results to citizens, donors and other stakeholders through transparent and regular reporting on progress against clear targets, and

(iv)         leverage financial and non-financial resources from private sector, donors, foundations, and civil society to achieve common development goals.


3.       aid effectiveness

7.         In addition to improving development effectiveness directly, robust results-based PSM also underpins aid effectiveness and reliable aid flows.  It supports donors in their efforts to


     (i)   align their assistance more closely with the partner country’s own needs and national priorities;[5]

    (ii)  implement aid efficiently by using country systems (as opposed to parallel systems);

    (iii) make informed decisions using reliable data generated by partner countries’ own monitoring and evaluation systems; and

    (iv) solidify constituency support by demonstrating objectively the donor contribution to achieved results.

    (v)  harmonize with other donors on their requirements from partner country systems.


8.         At the same time, an increasing number of multilateral and bilateral donors have adopted a Managing for Development Results (MfDR) approach to increase aid effectiveness and strengthen accountability to citizens, client countries, and other stakeholders. This MfDR approach embraces the Paris Declaration principles as integral to increasing aid effectiveness.

9.         At a project level, many donors use logical frameworks to ensure results orientation in the whole project cycle: design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

10.       At a country assistance level, donors typically use results frameworks to (i) align targets in their assistance strategy with partner country’s development priorities, (ii) commit assistance to deliver mutually agreed results, (iii) monitor progress of their interventions and evaluate results, and (iv) use lessons to improve their assistance strategy and future interventions.

11.       To strengthen agency-level accountability for results to their constituencies and better manage corporate performance, some donors adopted agency-wide results frameworks. The results framework is used to measure the donor contribution to results, as well as to assess its results-orientation in managing its entire operations. For example, AfDB, AsDB, and the World Bank report annually their performance through publically available development effectiveness reports.

12.       The MfDR agenda adopted by some donors, particularly MDBs, recognizes strong results-based PSM in partner countries as integral to boosting development effectiveness. The agenda incorporates support for country-specific initiatives to strengthen results-based PSM as its core element. 


4.       Suggested building Block to Development Effectiveness[6].

13.       The Working Party on Aid Effectiveness reached a consensus to give priority to the results-ownership-accountability “nexus”[7] with an emphasis on country-level implementation and take developing capacities for results-based PSM as a point of departure in future discussions.[8]


14.       Implementation of concrete Busan commitments to deliver results and develop capacities for integrated results-based PSM requires a comprehensive “building block”, consisting of mutually reinforcing components.

a.                  Support country PSM systems

15.       Results-based PSM drives development effectiveness: it underpins effective public sector and reinforces country ownership and accountability for results. Governments and donors both must recognize this and commit to strengthening results-based PSM further. These mutual commitments should be solidified at the highest political level.


16.       To implement these commitments, bilateral and multilateral donors will expand support to partner countries’ owned initiatives to mainstream results-based approaches to their PSM. In designing and targeting specific assistance, donors should recognize the eventual need for integrating results orientation into all functions in the management cycle. This represents a key breakthrough from the past approaches which often focused on specific functions in isolation.


17.       A recent position paper incorporating views from 34 partner countries confirmed that development assistance requires a common but differentiated approach.[9] It is important to tailor to specific country needs and avoid “one size fits all” models. Key elements of this assistance should also include:

    (i)            building on existing country systems with a solid understanding of the interrelated systems and sub-systems of PSM (including human resources management, statistical, and auditing[10] systems);

     (ii)           incorporating internationally recognized good practice;

    (iii)          taking long-term approaches;

    (iv)         using existing cooperation mechanisms;

    (v)          focusing on incentives;

    (vi)         ensuring a catalytic role;

    (vii)        strengthening processes to define results and assign responsibilities for delivering specific results to relevant authorities;

    (viii)       institutionalizing the training process;

    (ix)         increasingly using country systems to strengthen institutions; and

    (x)          involving closely the regional Communities of Practice on Managing for Development Results (CoPs-MfDR) and MfDR experts identified by the CoPs, where appropriate.

b. Nurture change agents through CoPs-MfDR

18.       To strengthen the capacity for demand driven initiatives, partner countries and development partners will continue to support CoPs-MfDR to nurture change agents in partner countries. The CoPs-MfDR will be made more robust at the regional level to boost opportunities for sharing expertise, networking, training, disseminating knowledge products and developing specific approaches for capacity development.

19.       Upon request of the partner country, CoPs-MfDR would be closely involved in the preparation of partner country initiatives (see A). They will selectively support initiatives to establish national or thematic CoPs to support results-based PSM. National CoPs will strengthen institutional capacity at the national level by engaging with public sector institutions and advocating and sharing good practices on more results-oriented national processes. Thematic CoPs will bring together practitioners in key areas (e.g. budgeting, planning, monitoring and evaluation) to reinforce their results orientation and results-based linkages with other PSM components.

c.  Reinforce results-based aid management in donor agencies

20.       The group of bilateral and multilateral donors committed to mainstreaming results orientation in PSM will introduce or improve their own results-based aid management by integrating results focus across the whole management cycle.


21.       The multilateral development banks (MDBs), through the MDB Working Group on MfDR, will continue to learn from each other’s experiences and good practices to strengthen their results orientation. Lessons will also be shared with the wider development community through the Common Performance Assessment System (COMPAS) publications, principles for donor reporting, and other forums.


22.       Specific initiatives of bilateral donors and joint bilateral-multilateral initiatives will be developed through the results forums in Seoul and Berlin in September 2011.



[1]   Results are defined by partner countries and may include poverty reduced, MDGs achieved, and economic development sustained. Donors can provide assistance in support of an agreed set of results. Using participatory processes with relevant stakeholders to build a broad consensus is required for strong ownership, accountability, legitimacy and sustainability of these results.

[2]   A recent World Bank publication broadly defined the role of the public sector as follows: “Public sector systems influence how public agents act and whether government is able to provide quality services, make productive infrastructure or other capital investments or produce quality regulation and policies. The public sector is also responsible for some less tangible but equally critical outcomes. It must encourage fiscal stability, reducing the prospects of year to year volatility in expenditures, and institutional stability, through supporting and responding to oversight bodies such as external audit and the judiciary that can deter unconstitutional or ill-considered changes in the structure of the public sector.” (World Bank Approach to Public Sector Management 2011-2020, Better Results from Public Sector Institutions, 6 April, 2011).

[3]   As integral parts of the PSM cycle, monitoring and evaluation systems are important in generating the reliable performance information and analysis needed to make evidence based decisions. Similar to the other main components of the PSM cycle and depending on the specific country context, these components or their results-based linkages with other components may need to be further reinforced in support of results-based public sector management.

[4]   Such interdependencies can be reinforced by e.g. aligning the national budget fully with the national development strategy or using integrated results frameworks throughout the PSM cycle. It is also essential that results-oriented PSM efforts at the national level are sufficiently linked with results-oriented efforts of agencies (horizontal integration) and subnational levels of government (vertical integration).

[5]   There are several sub-sets of alignment, e.g., between national budget and external assistance, between program and funding, and between budget and M&E. It is important to identify and ensure necessary alignments as a break at any level becomes a reason for the whole system to slow down.

[6]   Initiatives showcasing actionable and high-level outcomes at Busan and beyond.

[7]   Sound results-based public sector management systems reinforce country ownership in driving development processes. Transparent reporting of relevant results supported by reliable statistical and performance information systems strengthens governments’ accountability to key stakeholders. While key stakeholders are first of all citizens, they could also include donors that want to report performance information using partner countries’ monitoring and evaluation systems, both to inform decisions and to secure support from their constituencies by demonstrating objectively their contribution to results.

[8]   Working Party on Aid Effectiveness - Main points of consensus from initial discussions on the draft Busan Outcome Document, Paris, 7-8 July 2011, Co-Chairs’ Summary.

[9]   Position paper – Partner Countries’ Vision and Priority Issues for HLF 4 (Final – 12 June 2011).

[10]             For example, apart from providing structured information to carry out management and performance audits, the audit department can play a critical role in verifying information sources when reporting performance.

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Comment by raj chawla on September 21, 2011 at 3:02pm

A few aspects to add:

Point of view is important:  There are overall population level results that all strategies, programs etc. align to  and then there are the performance results of entire organizations or programs that need to contribute and ask the questions: How much, How often and is anyone better off?  This is not just aid affectiveness or donor programs but the country's own organizations and programs


Adding the aspect of joint learning and continuous action for results is instrumental.  How often have we planned and measured and either not acted or found a new reality when implementation finally started or acted out of alignment for the result.

Comment by Sithole Humbe on September 21, 2011 at 5:10am

The draft sound ok but more clarification must be added that donors are not willing to provide financial and technical support through receiving countries' traditional structures thereby causing disharmony in the reporting for results between the government and the donors. It should be pointed out that the development plans and needy areas should be identified by the receiving country not by the donors/ patners in development hence there is frequent mistrust rampant in implementing agencies. In a nutshell, this is a good idealistic discussing document.


Comment by Bilel ABOUDI on September 16, 2011 at 9:24am
At first glance of the diagram , I see two steering wheels with different paces and scope ( PBIME of Aid and PBIME of public sector). These differences will slow the proposed mechanism as a whole. In fact, the first easily expected result after the adoption of such mechanism will be to easily blame the public sector of not having the PBMIE system (RBM) as this would become a reason for not having successful project implementation. Moreover, Donors would consider the existence of  an RBM system in a public sector as a pre-condition to give development Aid. In my opinion, the effectiveness of an aid is not necessarily to predefine frameworks for success but its ability to implement a project within its specific environmental characteristicsf ( RBM or other model) and to give a reliable solution of the issue in the demanding sector. A pre-analysis of each public sector and its organizational culture and mechanisms has to be a pre-condition before any development Aid project. There is a cultural difference related to each work approach used  in each public sector around the world and the project manager has to find appropriate mechanisms to reach its project results. I resemble this mechanism as asking a poor man to be neat and clean before he would have the right to live properly. good luck for Development Aid.

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