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Development assistance for good governance is characterised by weak planning, follow-up and goal achievement

The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' grant management system shows that assistance for good governance and anti-corruption is characterised by inadequate planning and follow-up and poor goal achievement. - Clear goals and good reporting are essential for ensuring that goals are achieved, says Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss.​

Published 5/21/2015 1:00 PM

Document 3:9 The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of development assistance for good governance and anti-corruption was submitted to the Storting (Norwegian parliament) on 21 May 2015.

Over the past 10 years, such assistance has totalled NOK 26 billion, approximately 10 per cent of all Norwegian development assistance. The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has assessed the management of 25 projects in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Uganda and Zambia. In 2004–2014, just over NOK 2.7 billion was spent on good governance projects in these countries.

A large majority of the 25 projects that were examined failed to achieve their goals of strengthening key social institutions and organisations and their ability to exercise their functions. This type of assistance is important in promoting sustainable development in many poor countries. Goal achievement (effectiveness) is considerably better for the specific products provided by the projects, such as training programmes, action plans and software. It is nevertheless very uncertain whether the benefits of the projects will continue after funding has ended.

In some countries, the authorities may be more concerned with defending and strengthening their own private interests than with achieving a fairer distribution of resources in society. The key challenges of governance and corruption in the countries concerned are marginally addressed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' management documents.

- Since the purpose of this aid can be to achieve changes that authorities in recipient countries do not necessarily believe they will benefit from, a good understanding of the power structures in the individual countries is needed to succeed, says Foss.

Two-thirds of assistance projects have unclear criteria for goal attainment, and the reporting often says little about whether the goals are achieved. - We recommend that the Ministry take steps to ensure the stipulation of incremental goals, clear criteria to assess whether the goals are achieved, and better reporting of results from aid recipients, says Foss.

In his response, the Minister of Foreign Affairs outlined several measures for strengthening the management of development assistance for good governance and anti-corruption. Among other things, analyses of power structures will now be routinely included in further efforts to concentrate aid on fewer countries.

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