The adoption of results-based aid should simplify management, not add more reporting requirements to existing bureaucratic processes. The proposed shift to an audit culture in the aid industry could be counterproductive, Owen Barder says.
“If we can measure results better, and if we can use this to simplify the management of aid (and not simply bolt additional reporting on to existing bureaucratic processes),” Barder writes in a recent blog entry, “this will enable more decentralized decision-making, respect country ownership, make the jobs of aid workers and government officials more rewarding, improve the effectiveness of aid, and so reduce poverty faster.”
Barder, a visiting fellow of the Center for Global Development and director of aidinfo, an organization that pushes for aid transparency, explains that development professionals, especially frontline aid workers, have reasons and a right to worry that the advent of more results-based aid could lead to more complexity and bureaucracy.
The shift requires “some imagination on the part of aid agencies to think about how they can simplify their existing systems for managing aid when they link aid more robustly to results,” the development expert writes.
Duncan Green, head of research at Oxfam GB, has noted that the growing trend to focus more funding on projects that deliver easily measurable results, especially within the European development community, puts “aid flow at risk.”