A main feature of results-based aid is based on the introduction of an ex-post conditionality concept: a contract between both partners that defines incentives to produce measurable results. Aid disbursements or non-disbursements are directly linked to these independently verified measures of results. If these results have been achieved, the aid disbursement will be released; and if they have not, the aid disbursement will not take place.
The main underlying assumption is that, in the past, aid approaches focussed mainly on inputs or processes, and only in some cases on outputs. Examples of aid interventions that are directly oriented towards results are rather rare. Typical aid interventions, for example in the education sector, focus on providing the necessary inputs for achieving a desired result.
Inputs in this regard might include providing advice to the ministry of education in order to develop a new educational concept or a strategy for increasing school enrolment rates. However, providing inputs does not always lead to the desired results. For example, even with a lot of consulting and investment in school buildings, school enrolment rates and the individual educational achievements of children might not increase. Reasons for this possibly include incentives on a household level to keep children at home or a ministry in charge of education that has had no real political will to implement an effective sector policy that ensures that schools are staffed with adequately trained teachers and equipped with teaching materials.
At least on the conceptual level, the link between the donor intervention and the objective aspired to in terms of measurable results is a close one, since the donor intervention provides strong incentives for results. We can distinguish between different levels of results. Outputs are normally technical results for example, a newly constructed school.
An output might lead to the next level: outcomes for example, increase in enrolment rates because new school facilities are available. The most ambitious level of results is impact.
World Bank HIV AIDS interventions : ex-ante and ex-post evaluation
Impacts are defined as wider developmental effects for example, poverty reduction due to improved educational outcomes. For instance, depending on the point of view adopted, an increase of a sector budget share might be defined as an input e. On a technical level, aid agencies have developed a number of tools for focussing on results see, e. Examples include results-focus in strategies, results-oriented planning and operations tools, and monitoring and evaluation systems focussing on results. However, there is a distinction between results-based management that is a cross-cutting tool for aid agencies to organize their work and results-based aid that refers to a specific financing modality.
The first phase of results-based aid is the preparation and finalisation of a contract between a development partner and the partner government. This step is crucial in several respects. Both contract partners have to identify an area, sector, or a specific objective that is important for the development process of the country and suitable for results-based aid at the same time. The selection process presents several challenges. For example, social sectors such as education and health quite often receive more support from donors than do other sectors.
In addition, an results-based aid programme could compete against other interventions in certain cases. For instance, a partner country that does not achieve the results agreed with one donor could try to substitute this financing gap with funding from another donor. Here the incentives set by results-based aid would be diluted.
Other important considerations in the preparation phase are related to the duration of the contract and the sustainability prospects of the supported area e. Also, contract partners have to agree on a measurable result and an appropriate indicator or set of indicators. A key task is to ensure that baseline data is available or can be collected. Further, the process for data collection and data analysis has to be discussed. Is the level achieved last year an appropriate starting point, or should we use an average of the last few years? The nature of the activities could vary.
One major bottleneck might be inadequate funding for a task, and the government might now be willing to provide more resources. Perhaps insufficient capacity is a major obstacle and the government would now agree to take specific remedial action additional staff, training for staff, implementation of a retention strategy, etc.
World Bank HIV/AIDS Interventions. Ex-Ante and Ex-Post Evaluation
Other possible obstacles for achieving results might be related to an overall power game within the government. However, as aid disbursement now depends on results, this could impact on internal decision-making processes. Most importantly, the partner country is in charge of the whole implementation process. This should normally be carried out by a third party in order to ensure high-quality and incontestable data. The data will serve as the basis for the calculation price per unit of progress of the aid disbursement, since incremental progress is to be rewarded.
The progress assessment is to be carried out on a regular basis e. In the area of budget support, the European Union has been using an results-based aid-type instrument in the form of variable tranches, which are based on performance agreements. The result indicators used in this context relate in particular to the health, education, and water sectors. Experience with performance-based tranches in major budget support approaches has been positive, since an incremental payment procedure makes development aid inflows predictable to some extent and acts as a performance incentive.
In , the World Bank added the Program for Results, a results-based approach, to its set of instruments. There are direct links between the aid interventions and incentives which might lead to results ; the benefits might be more immediate and quantifiable. This performance orientation can have a spillover effect into other sectors of the partner country. The donors have no responsibility for implementation. At the same time, the approach might be supportive of more mutual accountability. This can help donor countries to demonstrate the concrete benefits of aid visibility of the development partner.
However, the literature provides examples — especially regarding low-income and highly aid-dependent countries — where those favourable conditions are non-existent or only partly assured. Particularly, research on political systems in a number of sub-Saharan African countries shows evidence for systemic non-performance in core areas of service delivery see, e.
The pressure to achieve certain goals can thus lead to the neglect of other priorities in the same sector. Indicators that might not be entirely suitable to this approach jeopardise the implementation of policies that are too heavily focussed on quantitative goals. If their capacities and their public financial management system are deficient, this does not seem realistic.
Social sectors, such as education and health, as well as sectors dealing with infrastructure services that can more easily be measured transport, public water supply, etc. In other sectors it may be harder to measure these results or to come to an agreement on them with the partner countries such as complicated agreements on good governance , and the direct effects cannot always be clearly shown as wider outcomes. This applies, for example, to various areas of public financial management.
List of abbreviations
Results-based aid is not an instrument for expanding opportunities for policy dialogue. Because of tight budgets in a number of low-income countries, this could be a major obstacle. Since aid disbursements are not tied to specific activities or procurement procedures, fiduciary risks might be a relevant challenge.
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Results that can only be achieved in the medium or long term might clash with short-term political rationales desire for re-election, etc. For example, if a partner government faces the strong need to cut a budget because of the overall economic situation due to an international crisis or unfavourable terms of trade , there might also be the need to reduce the budget line for achieving results.
World Bank Hiv Aids Interventions: Ex Ante And Ex Post Evaluation (World Bank Discussion Paper)
Since partner countries and donor agencies have an interest in disbursing the rewards, there might be an implicit tendency to identify less ambitious results. For example, in those cases where insufficient pre-funding capacity would not allow the use of results-based aid, an adjustment of the approach is reasonable.
In such a case several options might be considered. However, this course of action might contribute to a significant reduction in the intended incentive and pose a challenge if results are not achieved How to organise reimbursement in case of non-performance? Is this procedure really enforceable? An upfront investment earmarked for building the capacities of the institutions concerned could be integrated into results-based aid. This amount could be provided in advance and spent in line with an agreed approach such as tendering of capacity-building activities in the specific area.
A similar approach might be used in order to improve the quality of data needed; for example requiring an agreed amount or share of aid to be used to ensure the regular provision of reliable data. On the one hand, the possibility of partial or non-disbursement is an important feature of results-based aid. It is the intention of the approach to establish a strong link between performance and the provision of aid. If the aid amount is finally made available to the partner country in some way, even in a case of non-performance, there might be an adverse impact on the incentive structure from the beginning.
On the other hand, partial or non-disbursement is a crucial challenge for the partner country in terms of the predictability of aid. For example, if the government of the partner country is not able to perform i. These intervention areas have some specific features:.
It is easy to identify development results.