International Research Conference on the Effectiveness of Development Co-operation 


On 17–18 November 2022, the International Research Conference on the Effectiveness of Development Co-operation was organized in Brussels, Belgium, by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and the European Commission.  


The two-day Conference provided a forum to examine and discuss evidence-based research  around the factors driving the effectiveness of development co-operation and aid - in particular the relationship between the implementation of the development effectiveness principles and better development impact, including the factors that constrain and influence effectiveness and performance. 

Key Findings from the Conference


Building Evidence around the Effectiveness Principles (A Policy Brief)

The effectiveness principles remain an important reference point for development practice. Research on diverse development co-operation activities offers solid evidence that country ownership, focus on results, inclusive partnerships, and transparency and mutual accountability are conducive to better outcomes. 

Key recommendations:  

  • Build the evidence base around how the effectiveness principles have been successfully operationalized across diverse contexts. What specifically has worked, and how? What has not worked? How scalable and transferable are these findings across contexts?  
  • Focus on a better understanding of the case-by-case constraints and contextual influences on effective development co-operation, rather than on building the ‘why’ case for the principles. 

Development Effectiveness in Fragile Contexts (A Policy Brief)

A critical challenge the international community faces is how to make development co-operation more effective in fragile and conflict-affected states. This objective is important for several reasons, not least of which is the recent estimate that, by 2030, the vast majority of the world's most poverty-affected people (86%) will live in fragile and conflict-affected states. 

Key findings:  

  • While there is much evidence that aid improves development outcomes, development co-operation in fragile and conflict-affected states has a mixed record, which makes finding ways to improve development effectiveness particularly relevant for these cases. 
  • Operating in a manner consistent with the effectiveness principles is particularly difficult in contexts with weak or illegitimate government institutions, because the government might be unable or unwilling to respect these principles. 
  • Research suggests several ways that development co-operation can be improved on a case-by-case basis to meet the particular challenges of fragile and conflict-affected contexts. 

Watch Conference Sessions


Through plenary sessions, parallel sessions, and poster sessions the conference programme addressed a variety of crucial questions related to the aid-development nexus, aid effectiveness principles, and the factors that influence aid effectiveness and performance. The primary focus of the presented and discussed research was on fragile and conflict-affected contexts and low-income countries. 


More than 80 researchers from all over the world will discuss innovative, theoretical, and empirical research about aid effectiveness, as well as its policy take-aways, together with the EU community. 

Welcome and Opening

Promoting Collective Action in a "Post-aid Effectiveness" World

Aid Effectiveness: Evidence from the Private Sector 

Aid in Fragile and Conflict Affected Contexts: Selected Case Studies 

Ownership of Aid (Session 1)

Aid, Politics, and Political Institutions in Recipient Countries

Transparency and Accountability

Influence of Donor Countries and Organisations on Aid Effectiveness

Ownership of Aid (Session 2)

Measuring and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Aid

Econometric Analyses of the Development Outcomes of Aid

Aid-Institutions Nexus

Aid Effectiveness: Perspectives from the Health Sector

Inclusive Knowledge Production for Effective Development Co-operation

Closing: Past Lessons and Reflections on Aid Effectiveness