Defragmentation: What Can Donors Do?

GPEDC • 6 June 2019

This is a follow-up note to the ISE Development Practice Note on the consequences of donor-induced fragmentation, which argued that the way development partners have managed their ODA spending and development programs has resulted in what ISE termed “donor-induced fragmentation” of government accountability systems. The paper presented three levels of disintegration: i) budgets and resource allocation systems; ii) accounting and classification systems; and iii) systems for scrutiny, oversight and accountability. It also maintained that these three levels result in significantly reduced accountability, which increases fiduciary and development risks1.

This outcome is in direct conflict with the one of the main reasons development agencies often cite for needing to bypass country systems in the first place – to avoid exposures to fiduciary and reputation risks. The purpose of this note is to present options on what these actors can practically do to lead the way to improve the status quo by making changes in systems, processes, standards, and / or behaviors. The note is structured around the three levels of fragmentation categorized in the original ISE note: budgeting, accounting, and scrutiny, and concludes with future directions.