Australia rates multilateral aid groups

    Australia has released a review set to inform the country’s future funding and engagement with multilateral organizations and development banks.

    The Australian Multilateral Assessment measures the effectiveness of Australia’s key multilateral partners, through which the country channeled 37 percent of its official development assistance last year. The organizations were measured against a number of components, such as alignment with Australia’s aid priorities and interests, cost and value consciousness, and transparency and accountability.

    How did multilateral groups fared in this review?

    The report identified 13 organizations that Australia can have a “high degree of confidence” in supporting. These include the Asian Development Bank, the Climate Investment Bank, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Program, the World Bank and the International Committee for the Red Cross.

    GAVI, ADB and the World Bank received a similarly favorable assessment in the multilateral review the United Kingdom conducted in 2011.

    Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization, UNESCO, the Commonwealth Secretariat Development Program, the U.N. Settlements Program, or UN-HABITAT, and the U.N. Mine Action Service were rated weak on at least one component. The report says the Australian government will conduct further analysis before deciding on the future of funding it provides to these groups.

    In the U.K. review, UN-HABITAT, UNESCO and FAO also received low ratings. The review, in fact, recommended the United Kingdom withdraw its contributions to UN-HABITAT and urged for reforms in the other two.

    From its assessment of the multilateral group’s performance, the report also offers the following general findings about the global multilateral development system: 

    • Multilateral organizations can still significantly improve coordination in food, security, emergency aid and climate change issues.

    • The United Nations’ Delivering as One approach is working well and should become the norm.

    • Bilateral donors should improve their joint assessments of multilateral effectiveness.

    • Fifteen of 42 multilateral reforms covered by the review have major reform efforts underway.

    • An increasing focus on results management and reporting is welcome but can be improved.

    • There is insufficient attention to value for money.

    • Effectiveness at the country levels differs due to variations in the quality of in-country teams.

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.