Countries Discuss Effectiveness Action Plans at the 2018 GPEDC Learning and Acceleration Programme

On 12 November, 26 government representatives from several ministries including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs gathered in the Republic of Korea for the annual GPEDC Learning and Accelerating Programme (LAP), organised by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in co-operation with the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre. Other constituencies such as civil society organisations were also invited.

This year’s LAP provided a platform for peer-to-peer learning and skills-training on implementing the four principles of effective development co-operation. Participants shared common challenges and proven solutions to effectiveness hurdles, and discussed their experiences participating in the 2018 round of GPEDC monitoring. Based on key discussions from the trainings, the 26 participating government representatives prepared and presented country-specific effectiveness action plans.

This year’s program included a wide range of insightful training modules led by experts from UNDP, OECD, KOICA, Institute for Global Dialogue, Kyung Hee University, ALIARSE and Reality of Aid, generating conversation around how all stakeholders can work more effectively together.

During one such session, a LAP participant, Lyn Angelica D. Pano, emphasised the role of civic engagement in shaping development co-operation policies, commenting that ‘all knowledge comes from the people and the community, hence all of our work should match the needs of the people…we try to empower the people, so that they can exercise their right in shaping development sectors and policies’.

In another session – a simulation activity where multiple actors held a meeting in a post-conflict scenario – a participant from Pakistan emphasised the importance of trust among stakeholders, concluding that the activity highlighted ‘the difficulty of bringing together the different strands of work between humanitarian assistance, development and peace’.

The LAP was created to meet countries’ demand for training in implementation of effective development co-operation. This year marks the fourth LAP, with other programmes held in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Click here to read the Outcome Report of the 2018 Learning and Acceleration Programme.

Specialised Policy Dialogue on Private Sector Engagement through Development Co-operation

Day 1 Livestream
Available Wednesday, 16 January
1:30pm – 6:30pm (CET)
Day 2 Livestream
Available Thursday, 17 January
9:30am – 12:30pm (CET)

Disclaimer: For best resolution, please view livestream on Google Chrome.

Registration has now closed. For further queries, please contact Rafael Duque Figueira ( and Jonas Deusch (

Using development co-operation resources to engage the private sector in reaching the SDGs, and achieving the 2030 Agenda, is a global priority. To this end, development partners are establishing new financing instruments, and adapting their policies and approaches to create incentives and manage risks for effectively partnering with the private sector in development co-operation. As governments, civil society and the diverse private sector seize new opportunities to work together, there is also a need to ensure that public resources are used effectively to attract inclusive business solutions that generate shared value for business and society, including for those furthest behind.
Specialised Policy Dialogue Brochure

The Specialised Policy Dialogue of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) will identify practical steps to accelerate progress towards more effective private sector engagement (PSE) through development co-operation. It brings businesses and investors together with senior policy makers and practitioners from governments, civil society, trade unions, parliaments and international organisations for a frank and open dialogue. The primary objective is to foster a common understanding of the practical challenges and opportunities faced when implementing PSE projects at the country level. The dialogue builds on emerging issue areas from country case studies covering over 900 PSE projects and from country and global level consultations, including an online survey. With this, the GPEDC aims to complement efforts by others on mobilising private finance for the SDGs by devising principles and guidelines for effective PSE through development co-operation, in line with the existing principles of effective development co-operation.

The Global Partnership will also host a closed meeting of its Business Leaders Caucus and a half-day learning workshop on private sector engagement in South-South and Triangular Co-operation (both in parallel on 16 January). This series of events will take place as part of the OECD Week on Private Finance for Sustainable Development,

More information on individual events:

The Importance of Nuanced, Policy-Relevant Development Research

An open letter written a few months ago by fifteen development experts fell back on asking the same, age-old questions around international development policy. Should we focus on big problems like climate change or micro-projects that have easily measurable results? I pointed out at the time, as did others, that this framing assumes an either/or choice that can often be found in development debates, and ignores important nuance and complementarities.

Unfortunately, development-oriented research often asks questions framed around similar false dichotomies. Should donors give cash transfers, rather than project aid? Are multilateral institutions more efficient than bilateral donors? Should donors focus on building infrastructure or meeting immediate needs? Should we measure results by short-term impact or long-term growth? What works better, private sector finance or public-private partnerships? The real answer, almost always, is it depends.

Despite the continuation of oversimplified rhetoric, an encouraging trend in development research is moving beyond the easy questions and searching for nuance in the answers. In an impressive Afghanistan-based study, Jason Lyall, Yang-Yang Zhou and Kosuke Imai show that the combination of one-time unconditional cash transfers and training programs increases support for the Afghan government in the medium-term more than either program alone. Such results would be missed by a study that simply compared the effectiveness of cash transfers to that of other programs, without looking for combined effects.

Christopher Blattman, Nathan Fiala and Sebastian Martinez find that the impact of small cash grants in one Uganda program look less impressive nine years out than when initially studied four years after it began. Similar declining impacts were found by a team of researchers studying latrine use in India: five years following a program that provided education and subsidies for latrine building, households were more likely than a control group to use latrines; by ten years this difference was not discernible. In each case there were short-term effects which had measurable impacts, suggesting positive value even if it was not sustained over the long-term. Also in both cases, the long-term declines would have been missed had researchers stopped inquiry after the first sets of results.

These studies stand out as examples of the way forward for development research that can have policy impact. They are coming at an important time. Aid is at a crossroads. The patterns of aid allocation from traditional donors have changed significantly in recent years, suggesting that their motivations and desired goals are evolving. Established institutions like the World Bank face the need to reform or become less relevant. Newer institutions – like the Global Fund and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – provide different approaches to assistance and opportunities for private funders to participate, but may also compete with traditional development institutions for funds from bilateral donors. The rise of China as a significant donor, and its different approach to aid giving, has raised questions about the role of conditionality and China’s approach to debt sustainability in recipient countries.

The evolution of foreign aid raises new questions and presents opportunities for development researchers to make important contributions studying aid processes and effectiveness. As scholars working on development look forward, they can be guided by recent studies that do not simply ask what works, but when and why and for how long.

Future research should avoid easy generalizations and artificial either-or framing of questions. To be effective, scholars must look for complementarities as well as tradeoffs. They can examine interlinkages between bilateral and multilateral approaches, short-term needs and long-term goals, official aid and private assistance, public goods and private benefits, unconditional cash and more traditional programmatic approaches. Researchers can study the benefits and drawbacks of new institutional structures that combine state and private funding. They can determine the circumstances under which Chinese aid and investment serves as a complement or substitute for aid from other donors. They can assess the role of non-governmental organisations under various conditions.

The possible intersections in development are numerous and exciting. By looking for nuance, researchers can avoid the tired clichés and produce development research of practical importance.

Sarah Bermeo is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, faculty affiliate of the Duke Center for International Development, and author of ‘Targeted Development: Industrialized Country Strategy in a Globalizing World’ (Oxford, 2018).