A summary review of trends and the challenges of monitoring progress
A Development Initiatives report commissioned by ONE
This paper assesses trends in volumes, geographical distribution and the different uses of agricultural development assistance. It explores relevant DAC non-agricultural codes and their significance relative to the standard DAC definitions of agricultural aid. Further, it considers donor declarations made at L’Aquila in agriculture and food security and assesses the data challenges in monitor progress against these commitments.
The paper identifies a number of limitations of the DAC definitions, including its inability to capture aid channelled through multi-sectoral programmes, and the reduction of programmes that cover a range of agricultural activities to one code. It also fails to capture how assistance is actually used, information that is vital given that quality of agricultural aid – its efficacy as a tool for poverty reduction – should be considered as important as quantity. The category of irrigation, for example, does not differentiate between large and micro schemes, between new projects and rehabilitation programmes. It does not indicate whether aid is for capital or recurrent costs, or whether it is co-financed by the recipient government – all factors that determine programme efficacy and sustainability. Such detail will well compliment DAC-level data.
An assessment of different donors reveals a wide range of assistance patterns – both regional, and thematic. Some donors, such as the UK, favour multi-sectoral programmes over that of agricultural aid. In such cases, an assessment of DAC agricultural aid alone will not represent the full extent of assistance contributing to agricultural and food security investment. This paper identifies such donors, and recommends that a more detailed donor investigation be conducted.
Given its limitations, the DAC agricultural definitions provide the most comprehensive assessment of the use of agricultural aid. Trends in the types of agricultural assistance are varied. Direct agricultural aid via provision of services (including financial services) is generally in decline, while integrated farm-based projects are increasing in popularity. It is therefore important to maintain a disaggregated analysis of agricultural aid to monitor these trends, while a combination of different aggregations, such as agriculture as a whole, sub-aggregates as proposed by the DAC, rural development and budget support will assist overall aid monitoring. Project level data, either via DAC project descriptions, other databases, or from donors will be necessary, however, to pursue further detailed analysis.
With less than 1,000 days to go until the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ONE’s latest DATA Report: ‘Special Report Tracking Development Assistance’ reveals a mixed outlook for official development assistance (ODA) to the world’s poorest countries.
Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director for ONE, speaking from the Nutrition for Growth Summit, said:
“ This summit marks the biggest milestone in two decades in the fight against child and maternal malnutrition. Robust pledges made by donors, civil society, the private sector and high burden countries are truly historic with a total $4.1 billion promised. This represents a more than doubling in current levels of funding. Vital resources including those from DFID and the EU will go a long way and will enable the international community to achieve our target of 20 million fewer stunted children and 1.7 million child lives saved by 2020.
“The crucial thread running through these commitments is an increased focus on transparency and accountability. As David Cameron said in his opening statement, without the lens of transparency, the 2020 vision of reduced malnutrition will be impossible to achieve if progress cannot be tracked.
"Today's announcements are a tribute to the dedication of campaigners around the world, especially here in Britain working together in the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. ONE is proud to be part of this effort.
"Nutrition for Growth marks the beginning of the next 1,000 days in the fight against malnutrition. The true test of its impact will be to ensure that the final sprint to end extreme poverty sees real accelerated progress against senseless child deaths and needless stunted growth and development. G8 leaders have the perfect opportunity to lift this from rhetoric to action at Lough Erne next week and safeguard the potential of millions of the world’s children. Having finally hauled this issue up from the bottom of the world’s priority list, the greatest scandal of all would be to let it fall back.”
How can it be that 40% of Africa’s children are so chronically malnourished by the age of five that they will never fully thrive, physically recover or mentally develop – and this has improved little in two decades, despite so much other development progress?
New analysis published today from the ONE Campaign shows that 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have accelerated progress in the last three years on reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and 16 are on track to halve extreme poverty by 2015. But further momentum is at risk due to laggard countries where progress has stalled or gone into reverse, as governments across sub-Saharan Africa are set to fall short of their own development commitments by an estimated $243 billion by 2015.