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The international division of labour in development aid aims to ensure a better deployment of donors among southern partner countries. This is seen as a positive move for aid effectiveness. But one risk is that it may have a negative impact on leadership capacities and mutual accountability, both pillars of the partnership paradigm agreed in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action. Among donors, the importance of the division of labour has been made clear following its inclusion in the operational documents of many countries and international organisations (such as the EU Code of Conduct, or the recent Operational Framework on Aid Effectiveness)

The efficiency of aid among Spanish actors in development cooperation
The second phase of the project (November 2010), focuses specifically on the actors of Spanish cooperation. Spain has already acknowledged the importance of the aid effectiveness agenda and the division of labour, both included in its policy document Master Plan (2009-2012). At present, the main challenges refer to the elaboration of guidelines to help the successful implementation of these objectives, and to extract conclusions that can be used at the High Level Forum in Korea. Against this background, FRIDE organises a series of workshops, not only with members of AECID, but also with other actors of Spanish cooperation (Regional Governments, local authorities, NGOs and research centres). 

A first session (see event), will focus on the coordination among Spanish actors, and will seek to share experiences and promote a discussion that can assist the elaboration of guidelines and to identify good practices directed at improving the implementation of aid efficiency and coordination among donors. A second and third sessions (2011) will examine progress and challenges with input from partner countries and practitioners on the ground.



The international division of labour and exit strategies
The first phase of FRIDE’s investigation on aid efficiency (already concluded), has focussed on examining some of the aspects of the international division of labour, for example, the criteria used for decision-making. The division of labour is an important step towards greater aid efficiency, but there is a risk is that it may have a negative impact on leadership capacities and mutual accountability, both pillars of the partnership paradigm agreed on the aid efficiency agenda.

Also, one implication of this division of labour agenda is that donors are beginning to phase out aid from one country in order to concentrate in others. FRIDE’s project has looked at the example of Swedish aid, which is being phased out of a large number of countries. Five case studies were carried out (Bolivia, Honduras, Malawi, Mali and Vietnam) to explore the policy implications of such an aid withdrawal and identify good practices on phasing out.

Working breakfast
“Coordination among cooperation actors in Spain: key to the division of labour and aid efficiency". Read more

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Spain and the future of international cooperation. Towards real development effectiveness?

By Manuel Manrique (08/03/2011) Policy Brief
Gobierno de Aragón/Flickr

The IV High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan (Korea) at the end of the year will be key for development cooperation. In the run up to the event, Spain should contribute to a greater association between donor and partner countries, especially those active in South-South cooperation.

Implementation of the aid effectiveness agenda: tasks and coordination in partner countries

Coordination among cooperation actors in Spain: key to the division of labour and aid efficiency

On 11th November took place the Working Breakfast on aid effectiveness and coordination among Spanish cooperation actors

Twice orphaned: Sweden's exit from the private sector in Bolivia

This report by Marcelo Barrón and José Luis Carvajal analyses the process of the Swedish phasing out of development cooperation from Bolivia. It explores how the exit has been influenced by international reform on aid effectiveness and donor concentration, as well as the challenges and opportunities brought about by the exit.

The Swedish exit from Vietnam: Leaving painfully or normalising bilateral relations

Donor concentration has many implications for post-aid cooperation. Using the case of Sweden’s withdrawal of development cooperation from Vietnam, this report suggests that phasing out can be a way of normalising bilateral relations if it is handled sensitively and with concerted effort. Past experience and comparative donor advantages must be used to build new partnerships.

International division of labour: towards a criteria-led process?

Based on the mandate of the Accra Agenda for Action, international division of labour has been elevated to a global issue to be discussed and agreed upon by both donor and partner countries. However, this process encounters several obstacles.

Silently leaving Malawi: Sweden's delegated exit

Sweden’s phasing out from Malawi illustrates sensitive lessons on how to implement a sustainable “delegated exit”.

The champion's orphans: Honduras says goodbye to Sweden

It is a critical time for Honduras’ transition to democracy. In this context, the withdrawal of Swedish cooperation highlights the various lessons learned regarding exit strategies.

Swedish exit from Honduras: devising good practices

In a workshop held in Tegucigalpa, FRIDE gathered representatives from the national government, the Swedish cooperation and other bi- and multi-lateral donors, implementing bodies and civil society members in order to debate the consequences of SIDA's phasing out from the country.

International division of labour: challenging partnership

Kirk Carter, Flickr

International division of labour asks donors to concentrate their activities in fewer countries. However, little attention has been paid thus far to phasing-out processes and their consistency with partnership principles.


Division of labour among European donors: allotting the pie or committing to effectiveness?

European donors have already a Code of Conduct that spans perspectives, but also exposes the weaknesses of the current system.


(Photo by Kim Carter)

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