The institutional architecture for international development assistance and poverty alleviation is neither structured nor funded adequately to achieve the objectives the international community has set in recent years. As for structure, there is a consensus that the starting point for development assistance efforts should be national needs assessments and strategies that are written and fully embraced by developing countries. But there is no scalable, well-funded and coherent architecture to assist countries to develop plans in the key areas of health systems, basic education, clean water and sanitation, and hunger and malnutrition.
With respect to funding, there is an international consensus, as embodied in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, the longstanding commitment of developed countries to devote 0.7 percent of GDP to official development assistance, and the promise by G-8 countries in their 2005 Gleneagles communiqué to double foreign aid to least developed countries, that large, sustained increases in funding for poverty alleviation must be mobilized. But it has become painfully evident in recent years that governments will not be able to mobilize sums of this magnitude absent the creation of innovative, new sources of financing.
The OECD Development Assistance Committee should be restructured and fully authorized to implement a coherent system by which donors coordinate their funding response to the national needs assessments and plans of developing countries in an integrated fashion, rather than on a piecemeal donor-by-donor basis. The United Nations Development Program should be authorized and equipped to coordinate the presentation of such country’s health, basic education, water and sanitation, and food security plans in this process in cooperation with the country in question and the technical agencies assisting in their development—for example, WHO, UNESCO, World Bank, and FAO, respectively.
This restructuring of these organizations’ roles, capabilities, and working relationships would provide the international community with a scalable, coherent framework for developing and executing a major push toward achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the five years that remain before their target achievement date.
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