Odén, B., Wohlgemuth, L. 2011. Where is the Paris Agenda heading? Changing relations in Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique (Briefing Note 21). Maastricht: ECDPM.
In the past five decades, development aid has been provided by international donors under the assumption that it can play a major role in promoting economic growth and alleviate poverty. In recent years, many developing countries and their international partners began emphasising the importance of a clear and agreed framework to guide both the recipient countries and development partners on how to improve the cooperation in addressing development challenges. Drawing lessons from almost 50 years of development cooperation, representatives from ninety-one countries, donors as well as recipients, civil society organizations and private sector came together in 2005 and agreed on a new aid architecture with aid effectiveness in focus, the so called Paris Declaration. The problems facing the effectiveness of aid that were identified included the lack of local ownership; increased fragmentation; high transaction costs as well as parallel systems; and solutions that were not well adapted to local needs and conditions.
The measures to be used dealt with improved ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for result and mutual accountability. In some countries this work led to developing Joint Assistance Strategies (JAS) or similar country-led plans for managing the development cooperation process. These strategies were expected to guide the harmonisation of individual donor countries’ strategies and regulate how ownership, alignment and harmonization should be strengthened over time.