Effective development co-operation

Glossary of Development Effectiveness Terms




(Mutual) Accountability

Accountability of governments to domestic constituents for achieving their development objectives is one of the core principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The Accra Agenda for Action broadens the concept to include engagement with parliament, political parties, local authorities, the media, academia, social partners and civil society organisations.

Related webpages

Mutual Accountability: Emerging Good Practice (pdf)
Ownership and Accountability: Summary of recommendations and terrain for debate (pdf)  English (short) English (long)
Tips on Mutual Accountability (pdf)


Accra Agenda for Action

Endorsed by countries and organisations attending the Third High-Level Forum in Accra, Ghana, September 2008. The Accra Agenda for Action was intended to accelerate progress towards meeting the 2011 aid effectiveness targets from the Paris Declaration in 2005.

The Accra Agenda for Action hinges around three main themes: ownership, inclusive partnerships and delivering results. The pillar of inclusive partnerships opened up the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness to a wider group of stakeholders; for the first time CSOs, foundations and non-traditional donors were able to fully participate in discussions. 




Aid effectiveness

In the 1960s development resources surged. However, it became clear that this increase in funds was not resulting in the expected tangible improvements in people's lives. In the early-2000s, the formulation of the Millennium Development Goals gave increasing impetus to the need to make aid more effective more quickly; without effective aid, the Millennium Development Goals would not be achieved.

In 2005, various initiatives to improve the impact of aid - such as encouraging donors to harmonise their funding and efforts and for both donors and recipients to use and strengthen country's own systems - were brought together under the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which sets out five principles for aid effectiveness. In 2008, the Accra Agenda for Action reiterated the Paris principles and set out three further pillars around which to concentrate efforts. The monitoring surveys in 2006, 2008 and 2010 monitor progress towards achieving the commitments laid out in the Paris Declaration.

Related webpages

Accelerating Development with Effective Aid (pdf)
 French Spanish

How Much Does Aid Effectiveness Improve Development Outcomes?: Lessons from recent practice (pdf)

Accelerating Progress in Aid Effectiveness: From here to 2011 (pdf)

Reaching our Development Goals: Why Does Aid Effectiveness Matter?(pdf)
English French

Value for Money (pdf)

Aid orphans

The phenomenon of aid orphans is related to the issue of fragmentation. When too many donors give too little aid to too many countries, these resources are splintered resulting in some countries and sectors being given too many resources that their systems are unable to manage, and others are given too few resources. The areas where aid overlaps are commonly referred to as "aid darlings", while those where it is missing as "aid orphans". 


For donors to align their efforts to the development priorities of countries is one of the five core principles of the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action.

Alignment means that donors base their support on partner countries’ national development strategies, institutions and procedures. For example, donors commit to use country systems as the default option for programmes managed by the public sector. In return, developing countries improve the quality and transparency of their public financial management systems. A lack of alignment leads to unsustainable outcomes, as well as undermining national institutions and processes.

Better aid

A series of publications which ran from 2008-2011. The publications in the series provided evidence, case studies and best practices to support the development community in their efforts to make aid more effective.

Building blocks

The Building Blocks are a set of initiatives launched in Busan in November 2011. Countries and organisations voluntarily aligned to the different Building Blocks through their shared desire to make faster progress in particular substantive areas. The Building Blocks are: Results and Accountability, Transparency, Managing Diversity and Reducing Fragmentation, South-South and Triangular Co-operation, Fragile States, Climate Finance, Effective Institutions and Policies, and the Private Sector.

From the Building Blocks initiative several active platforms and initiatives have been launched. Including:

Effective Institutions platform

The Partnership for Climate Finance and Development

Busan commitments

A set of action points that are part of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation including:

  • Use results frameworks designed with the needs of the partner country in mind as a common tool, and using country-led co-ordination arrangements.
  • Untie aid to the maximum extent possible and review plans to achieve this
  • Use country public financial management systems as the default option for development financing, and support the strengthening of these systems where necessary.
  • Strengthen transparency and approve a common standard for the electronic publication of data on development co-operation, to be fully implemented by 2015
  • In 2012, establish common principles to prevent the proliferation of multilateral organisations and global programmes and funds, also in 2012 establish common principles to tackle the issue of countries that receive insufficient assistance (aid orphans).
  • By 2013, provide recipient countries with regular, timely, indicative three-to-five-year forward expenditure plans.
  • Increase support given to parliaments and local governments in carrying out their functions. Foster an environment for civil society organisations as independent development actors


Busan Partnership agreement / Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation

Endorsed by the countries and organisations that attended the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in November 2011. The Busan Partnership agreement reaffirms the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action’s commitments to improve the quality of aid, and also recognises that international development has changed greatly since 2005, and in order to achieve the overarching goal of poverty eradication, other forms of development assistance need to be considered equally with aid.

The Busan Partnership agreement calls on the widest possible community of development stakeholders: governments, multilateral organisations, non-traditional donors, civil society, the private sector, foundations, global funds and others are all invited to be equal participants.

Busan principles

The four pillars that form the basis for the Busan Partnership agreement:

Ownership of development priorities by developing counties; a focus on results; partnerships for development; transparency and shared responsibility.


Civil society organisations (CSOs)

The role of CSOs as development actors in their own right was recognised under the Accra Agenda for Action in 2008. The Busan Partnership recognises that all actors have a different but complementary role to play in development and it sets out “inclusive partnerships” as one of its core pillars.

Climate finance

Related webpages

Focus on Aid Targeting the Objectives of the Rio Conventions

Partnership for Climate Finance and Development

Country programmable aid

Country programmable aid (CPA) is the portion of aid that donors programme for individual countries, and over which the recipient country has a significant say. Developed in 2007, CPA is much closer to capturing the flows of aid that go to the partner countries than official development assistance (ODA). CPA provides a good approximation of of the overall flows expected to appear in countries' aid management systems. CPA helps aid transparency and predictability as it is a consistent measure of past and future aid flows.

Country systems

Country systems - which include public financial management, procurement, audit and reporting systems  - are vital to ensure that development is sustainable in countries. Countries cannot develop without strong systems.

A core commitment of the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action is for donors to use country systems wherever possible and for countries to strengthen these.  In Busan, providers of development co-operation committed to using countries’ systems as a “default”. Work to improve the quality of country systems and institutions is currently ongoing under the Effective Institutions platform


Since the aid effectiveness agenda began in Monterrey in 2003, a number of declarations have been agreed between stakeholders in order to advance progress towards making aid more effective. These declarations cover a range of topics under the overarching theme of aid effectiveness

2002 Monterrey Consensus

2003 Rome

2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness  

2008 Arusha Statement on Procurement English Spanish French

2008 Accra Agenda for Action

2010 Bogotá Statement: Towards Inclusive and Effective Development Partnership English  French  Spanish

2011 Monrovia Roadmap on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding English  French

2011 Istanbul Principles 

2011 Manila Statement on Effective States

2011 Cuzco Declaration on Strong Procurement Systems for Effective States English French

2011 New Deal for International Engagement Fragile States English  French  Spanish  Arabic

2011 The Busan Joint Action Plan on Gender Equality and Development

2011 The Busan Action Plan for Statistics English French Spanish Arabic

2011 A New Consensus on Effective Institutions and Policies

2011 A joint Statement on public private co-operation for broad based, inclusive and sustainable growth  English  French

2011 Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation English French Spanish Arabic

Development co-operation

Major social, political and financial changes over the last decade means that thinking on development co-operation has evolved. Aid is one type of assistance within a much broader palette of development co-operation approaches and instruments. These include non-concessional finance, South-South and triangular co-operation, climate finance, co-operation among governments on non-aid policies, and co-operation with - and among - non-governmental actors such as businesses and civil society.

Division of labour (for complementarity)

When individual donors decide which countries and programmes to fund based on their own criteria, the pattern of aid distribution across countries becomes fragmented and insufficiently co-ordinated. This can result in gaps and overlaps between countries as well as in different sectors within a country which leads to a duplication of efforts in some cases and a lack of funding in others. Overall this contributes to the ineffective use of aid, a lack of tangible improvements in people’s lives and poor value for money.

The Paris Declaration principle of “harmonisation” urges donors to work together to reduce the amount of duplicated missions and analytic work.

Effective states (and institutions)

Effective states and institutions are essential pre-conditions for development. In order for states and institutions to be effective, support for public sector reforms is needed.

The Busan Partnership agreement includes a number of commitments related to supporting effective states and institutions. From the Building Block on Effective States and Institutions, the Effective Institutions Platform was launched.

Related webpages

Accountable and Effective Institutions

Evaluation of the Paris Declaration

The independent Evaluation of the Implementation of the Paris Declaration was carried out in two rounds in 2008 and 2011. The Evaluation sought to understand if, and to what extent, the Paris Declaration principles contributed to aid effectiveness. The Paris Declaration Evaluation assessed behaviour change and identified better practices for countries and donors in implementing the Paris Declaration commitments.


Fragmentation can occur when too many donors give too little aid to too many countries, or when there are too many or too few donors present in a country or a sector. It is related to the Paris Declaration principle of harmonisation.

Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation was established during the Fourth High level Forum in Busan to ensure that development co-operation has the maximum possible impact on development results.

This inclusive forum brings together a wide range of countries and organisations to foster engagement, communication and knowledge sharing among development actors, it also works to maintain political support for the commitments reached in Busan.

Global Partnership monitoring process


Harmonisation is a core principle of the Rome Declaration on Harmonisation, the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action and the Busan Partnership agreement. Harmonisation reflects concerns that donors’ practices do not fit well with national development priorities and systems such as budget, programme and project planning cycles. The demands on recipient countries to meet with different donors’ reporting processes and procedures, along with uncoordinated country analytic work and missions was creating high transaction costs and reducing the effectiveness of the assistance provided. Donors and recipients recognised that urgent, co-ordinated and sustained action was required.

Substantive work on harmonising donor practices was carried out within the DAC to improve harmonisation and informed the Second High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2005.  Substantive work was carried out prior to the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness on division of labour for complementarity, including the development of the Good Practice Principles.

More recently, the Building Block on Managing Diversity and Reducing Fragmentation has been working on this issue in countries.

Health as a tracer sector

Looking at aid effectiveness through a sector lens provided a significant source of information and lessons for the aid effectiveness agenda between 2008-2011. To understand the real impact of efforts to improve aid effectiveness – as outlined in the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action - looking at the impacts on sectors such as health, was one way to assess and measure progress, understand behavioural change and to see tangible results towards improving lives: the end goal of all development efforts.


Inclusive (development) partnerships

The Busan Partnership agreement recognises that all actors in development have a different but complementary role to play in achieving development goals. Ensuring that all actors -  including government, civil society, foundations and the private sector.

Related webpages

Smarter Partnerships: Realising the true potential of a global partnership for development


Managing for development results

Managing for development results is a core principle of the Accra Agenda for Action (2008). Due to tight budgets and financial pressures, governments increasingly need to show that their expenditures have made the desired impact on development programmes. For example, health programmes are judged, not on how many clinics have been built, but whether there has been an improvement in citizens’ health. Important elements of managing for development results include: setting clear objectives, evidence-based decision making, transparency and accountability of partners to each other for achieving the targets set.

Managing for development results is an approach that has been underway since 2005. A platform has been developed that brings together development actors from all backgrounds to develop tools, guidelines and best practices.

Related webpages

Managing for development results - policy brief
Managing for development results - Information sheet

Monitoring the Busan Partnership agreement

The Global Partnership monitoring process was set up to continue to monitor the areas of “unfinished business” from the Paris agenda, and to begin monitoring progress towards the newer commitments agreed in Busan in 2011 that encompass wider forms of development co-operation.

The Global Partnership monitoring framework is based on ten indicators: five of the indicators are carried over from the Paris Declaration Monitoring Survey, and five of the indicators were developed through a consultative process led by the UK and Rwanda in 2012. A first round of monitoring took place in 2013. The results of this process were released in the report: Making Development Co-operation more Effective: 2014 progress report. Discussions at the High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership were informed by the findings from the report.

Mutual accountability

See Accountability


Official development assistance

The term “aid” usually refers to official development assistance (ODA).

ODA is defined as flows to countries and territories on the DAC List of ODA Recipients and to multilateral institutions which are provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, or by their executive agencies. In addition, each transaction must be administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective; and be concessional in character and conveys a grant element of at least 25% (calculated at a rate of discount of 10%).



A core principle of both the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action and the Busan Partnership agreement. Ownership means that developing countries take the lead over their development policies and strategies; providers align their co-operation programmes to these policies and strategies; developing countries improve their institutions and tackle corruption and; providers focus their efforts on producing results that meet developing countries’priorities.

Related webpages

Inclusive ownership module: 2011 Survey on Monitoring the Paris Declaration pdf




Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action

The Paris Declaration was endorsed in 2005 by donor and recipient governments during the Second High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. It is centred around five core principles: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for development results and mutual accountability. The Paris Declaration contains measurable commitments and targets to be achieved by 2011.

The 2008 Accra Agenda for Action was formulated to accelerate commitments towards achieving these targets, it reaffirms commitment to the five Paris Declaration principles and in addition emphasises the theme of inclusive partnerships in which civil society, non-traditional donors, foundations and other actors participate fully. The Accra Agenda for Action was a first step in developing a broad platform for discussions amongst all development actors.

Related webpages

Improving Aid Quality: The Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action




When donors provide inaccurate or insufficient information to recipient countries on their spending plans, the aid they disburse is known to be less effective. The OECD-DAC works to improve the quality of information between DAC donors and recipient countries in order to increase the impact of these resources on development. The scale and scope of sustainable development challenges and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have led to a significant shift towards engaging with the private sector to provide financing, job creation, service delivery and innovation. The development co-operation community is adapting its policies and practices to further harness and strengthen private sector engagement through development co-operation


Private sector engagement 

The scale and scope of sustainable development challenges and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have led to a significant shift towards engaging with the private sector to provide financing, job creation, service delivery and innovation. The development co-operation community is adapting its policies and practices to further harness and strengthen private sector engagement through development co-operation.

A Joint Statement on Public-Private Co-operation for Broad-based and Inclusive and Sustainable Growth



Public financial management

Strong public financial management (PFM) systems are essential for effective and sustainable economic management and public service delivery. States are effective and accountable when they are supported by good PFM institutions and systems. Good PFM systems are also indispensable in ensuring that aid is being used to achieve development goals.

The Paris Declaration, Accra Agenda for Action and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation commit countries to strengthen their public financial management systems and commit development partners to increase the amount of external assistance that flows through a country’s PFM system in order to strengthen these and  achieve more effective and sustainable development.


See Results in development co-operation



South-South Co-operation

The UN General Assembly describes South-South Co-operation as “… a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, their national and collective self-reliance and the attainment of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.” (UN General Assembly Resolution 64/222).

Between 2009 and 2011, the Task Team on South-South Co-operation of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness carried out work on South-South Co-operation.

Related webpages

110 Case stories on experiences with South-South co-operation (pdf)
English part one  English part two
Spanish part one  Spanish part two



Survey on Monitoring the Paris Declaration

See Monitoring (the Paris Declaration)




Transparency is one of the four pillars of the Busan Partnership agreement. In order to improve accountability between development partners and to the intended beneficiaries of development, the Busan Partnership agreement emphasises the need for transparent practices as the basis for better accountability.

The Busan Partnership agreement includes a specific commitment on transparency: to implement a “common, open standard for electronic publication of timely, comprehensive and forward looking information on resources provided through development co-operation, taking into account the statistical reporting of the OECD-DAC and the complementary efforts of the International Aid Transparency Initiative and others” (BPA §23c).

This common, open standard was endorsed at the final meeting of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness in June 2012. It builds on two existing standards – the DAC Creditor Reporting System and Forward Spending Survey and IATI – through consultations led by representatives of major stakeholder groups,

One of the ten indicators of the Global Partnership monitoring framework, measures the implementation of the common standard. 


Triangular co-operation

Triangular co-operation can bring together the best of different actors - providers of development co-operation, partners in South-South co-operation and international organisations - to share knowledge and implement projects that support the common goal of reducing poverty and promoting development.

The Busan Partnership agreement proposed a number of actions relating to triangular co-operation, including broadening support, scaling-up and strengthening capacity to engage effectively in triangular co-operation. In line with the agreement reached in Busan, the OECD contributes substantially to dialogues and encourages greater analysis of triangular co-operation.

Untied aid

"Tying” aid means that aid is offered on the condition that it be used to procure goods or services from a specific country or region. Tying aid can increase the costs of a development project by as much as 15-30%. In addition, the administration of tied aid requires larger bureaucracies in both the donor and recipient countries. Untied aid avoids these unnecessary costs by giving recipient countries the freedom to use their aid to procure goods and services from virtually any country. Untying aid was one of the targets of the Paris Declaration monitoring exercise. Untying aid and reviewing progress towards this is also one of the Busan commitments.

Related webpages

Recommendation on Untying Aid




Working Party on Aid Effectiveness

Starting in 2000 as the “Task Force for Donor Practices” the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness came into being in 2004/05 following the Second High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness as a forum for donors and recipient countries. After Accra in 2008, the Working Party opened up to include other stakeholders such as civil society organisations.

The Working Party on Aid Effectiveness was the main platform for stakeholders to come together to discuss issues related to making aid the most effective tool possible in reducing poverty and improving lives.

Under the auspices of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness several workstreams and multistakeholder groups carried out substantive work including: Country systems, public financial management, procurement, harmonisation, aid predictability, ownership, accountability, division of labour, managing for development results, health as a tracer sector. In addition, the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness oversaw responsibility for the surveys on monitoring the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action. Evidence from all of these workstreams was used to feed into discussions at the High Level Forum in Busan in 2011. 

The final meeting of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness was held in 2012. 

Related webpages

History of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness (pdf)

Final meeting of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness 





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