Home > Projects > The division of labour and the aid efficiency agenda
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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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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

FRIDE ceased its think tank activities on 31st December 2015 for economic reasons. The Board of Trustees had to take this difficult decision since, despite many efforts to diversify its funding sources, FRIDE cannot sustain its think tank operations with a view to 2016 and beyond.

Established in 1999, FRIDE has made a major contribution to shape debate on Europe’s external activities in an increasingly challenging international environment. It has covered issues ranging from democracy and human rights to sustainable development, new approaches to multilateral cooperation and security affairs. FRIDE’s long-standing focus on the extended neighbourhood of the European Union proves today all the more relevant given widespread turbulence in the region. FRIDE’s emphasis on the importance of the values framing Europe’s external activities is central to current political debates in Europe and beyond. This shows the need for continued engagement in the pursuit of a common European foreign policy that is both effective and informed by the core values of European integration.

The Board wishes to thank Diego Hidalgo, FRIDE’s founder, for his tireless commitment and very generous support for many years. The Board also wishes to thank FRIDE’s dedicated staff, the members of the Board and the Advisory Committee for their contribution in making FRIDE one of the top foreign policy think tanks in Europe. We are very grateful to all those who have supported FRIDE’s work and projects over the years and we thank the many partners from all parts of the world who have worked with FRIDE on joint initiatives. We hope that FRIDE’s extensive input to the debate on Europe in the world will continue to inform thinking and action at a very critical time for Europe’s future.

The President of the Board

FRIDE cesó sus actividades como think tank el 31 de diciembre de 2015 por razones económicas. El Patronato tuvo que adoptar esta difícil decisión dado que, a pesar de los intensos esfuerzos realizados para diversificar sus fuentes de financiación, FRIDE no puede sostener sus operaciones como think tank a partir de 2016.

Establecido en 1999, FRIDE ha realizado una gran contribución al debate sobre las actividades exteriores de Europa en un ambiente internacional cada vez más complejo. Ha trabajado en temas que van desde la democracia y los derechos humanos al desarrollo sostenible, los nuevos enfoques en la cooperación multilateral y las cuestiones de seguridad. La atención prestada por FRIDE a la vecindad extendida de la Unión Europea durante mucho tiempo prueba ser hoy aún más relevante debido a la turbulencia que azota a la región. El énfasis de FRIDE en la importancia de los valores que enmarcan las actividades exteriores europeas es central en los debates en Europa y más allá. Esto muestra la necesidad de un compromiso continuo con la búsqueda de una política exterior europea común que sea eficaz y esté basada en los principios fundamentales de la integración europea.

El Patronato desea agradecer a Diego Hidalgo, fundador de FRIDE, por su incansable compromiso y muy generoso apoyo a lo largo de tantos años. También quiere expresar su gratitud a la dedicada plantilla, a los propios miembros del Patronato y del Comité Asesor por sus contribuciones para hacer de FRIDE uno de los principales think tanks de Europa en cuestiones de política exterior. Estamos muy agradecidos con todos aquellos que han apoyado el trabajo y los proyectos de FRIDE a través de los años y también damos las gracias a los numerosos socios de todas partes del mundo que han colaborado con FRIDE en iniciativas conjuntas. Esperamos que las extensas aportaciones de FRIDE al debate sobre Europa en el mundo continuará informando el pensamiento y la acción en un momento muy crítico para el futuro de Europa.

El Presidente del Patronato

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