GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE

Aid

Aid flows to developing countries stood at $128.5 billion in 2010, with new aid donors continuing to emerge, particularly across the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and with the growth of private philanthropists. Many supporters of aid argue it must be scaled up, particularly across Africa, if the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be achieved.

UN peacekeeping soldiers collect supplies from Tebnine hospital to deliver to people in Lebanon. Credit: Jenny Matthews / Panos

However the role of aid (or development cooperation) in international development is hotly contested. Current concerns include whether recipient governments have the capacity to absorb aid, and its potential to have negative effects on achieving long term fiscal, institutional and political reforms. There are also ongoing debates about whether traditional donors can deliver on their commitments to increase aid, with concerns about public support for aid in donor countries.

In an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world, questions have been raised about whether international aid bureaucracies are able to adapt and remain fit for purpose.

IDS research on aid is aiming to understand and inform these debates. For example:

Brazil and International Development Cooperation

Brazil is a founding member of the BRICS group, Latin America's largest economy and the world's sixth-largest economy. The Rising Powers in International Development (RPID) programme is looking at Brazil's growing role in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Changing Livelihoods in Darfur Since 2005

Assessing current livelihood strategies and options available to vulnerable communities living in Darfur. More details

China and International Development Cooperation

China is now the African continent's biggest trading partner, and also involved in a wide range of development cooperation projects including in agriculture, health and social policy. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of China in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Critical Research Social Justice and International Aid

Seminar series for inter-disciplinary discussions on the relationship between research, aid and social justice More details

India and International Development Cooperation

Trade and investment linkages between India and the African continent have been growing rapidly, and recently, its role providing foreign assistance has become more prominent. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of India in the field of international development cooperation. More details

International Public Opinion Monitor

The International Public Opinion Monitor aims to understand how everyday citizens see the world in which live, and how their attitudes change (or not) over time. More details

Making All Voices Count

Making All Voices Count: A Grand Challenge for Development (MAVC) is a four-year $45 million fund to support innovation, scaling-up, and research that will deepen existing innovations and help harness new technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness. More details

Participation and Development Relations

Promoting a rights perspective to the challenges of poverty, inequality and insecurity. More details

Political Commitment to Hunger Reduction Index

The HRCI aims to make the extent of political commitment to hunger reduction, among both developing and developed countries, more transparent to all. More details

Public Perceptions of International Development in the UK

With the world economy in a major downturn, the stakes for developing countries could not be higher. Public support for international development and aid will play a key role. But is there a domestic consensus on the UK's role in international development and what are its contours? More details

Russia and International Development Cooperation

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was redefined as an aid recipient, but in 2007, it officially signalled its intention to reverse this role. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of Russia in the field of international development cooperation More details

South Africa and International Development Cooperation

The most recent BRICS member, officially joining in 2011, South Africa has since become a core component of the grouping and keen to establish itself as a rising power. The Rising Powers in International Development Programme is looking at the growing role of South Africa in the field of international development cooperation. More details

Strengthening the Capacity of the International Poverty Reduction Center in China for South-South Cooperation

This project, funded by the Chinese Government's Ministry Of Commerce, is aimed at addressing how IDA is given to developing countries (particularly Africa) and if there are ways of improving China's development assistance to create opportunities for independent development. More details

The Big Push Forward

The Big Push Forward is an informal network of practitioners, creating the space for discussion, debate and the exploration of appropriate approaches for assessing transformative development processes. More details

The New Bottom Billion

New IDS research shows that the global poverty 'problem' is changing. There is a new 'bottom billion' of 960m poor people or 72 per cent of the world's poor who live not in poor countries but in middle-income countries (MICs). More details

UK Public Opinion Monitor

The UK Public Opinion Monitor is a unique initiative aimed at understanding the UK public’s attitudes to development and what drives changes in their attitudes over time. More details

What is the Evidence of the Impact of Tariff Reductions on Employment and Fiscal Revenue in Developing Countries?

The team intends to address the question 'What is the evidence of the impacts of new trade deals on fiscal revenues and job creation in low-income countries? More details

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ER99 Front Cover

The HANCI Donor Index 2013: Measuring Donors’ Political Commitment to Reduce Hunger and Undernutrition in Developing Countries

This report presents the Hunger And Nutrition Commitment Index (HANCI) 2013 for donor countries. More details

PB75 Front Cover

Understanding China’s Approaches to International Development

China’s impressive economic growth and increasing development activities overseas, particularly in the African continent, have spurred intense debate and criticism over its role as a rising power in international development. More details

ER95 Front Cover

Indian Development Cooperation: the State of the Debate

In this changing landscape, India is becoming an important player . India’s increased volume of development cooperation or DC (particularly to African countries), its clearer articulation of a rejection of ‘traditional’ aid principles, and its growing role as a representative of emerging economies that aim to act as a bridge between the North and South have led to it becoming a key figure in shaping the future of international DC. How is this new role being perceived domestically? More details

ER91 Front Cover

Rising Powers in International Development: the State of the Debate in South Africa

South Africa occupies an interesting position in the international development debate. On the one hand, as Africa’s most developed, diversified and, until recently, largest economy representing close to one-third of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), it is an active player in numerous global governance and development fora. More details

ER88 Front Cover

The Russian Federation’s International Development Assistance Programme: A State of the Debate Report

Russia is unique among emerging donors for being a ‘re-emerging’ donor: the Soviet Union was one of the largest donor countries in the world, and Russia’s period as an aid recipient was relatively brief. Russian development cooperation is driven by key security and economic priorities, as well as resulting from commitments made to multilateral organisations. More details

PB70 Front Cover

Learning from India's Development Cooperation

In recent years, India has substantially increased the levels of its development cooperation. It has streamlined its development cooperation activities and put the principles of South-South Cooperation, including respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, non-conditionality and mutual benefit, into action. More details

PB69 Front Cover

Five Fingers or One Hand? The BRICS in Development Cooperation

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) are increasingly prominent in development cooperation activities in low-income countries in Africa and worldwide, presenting a potential alternative to the development aid model of traditional donors. More details

PB64 Front Cover

Understanding South Africa’s Role in Achieving Regional and Global Development Progress

As Africa’s most diversified, developed and (until recently) largest economy, South Africa occupies a unique position in the international development debate. It is an active player in global governance and development fora, maintains an extensive development partnership with its region, and is a member of the BRICS Forum of emerging powers (along with Brazil, Russia, India and China). More details

PB59 Front Cover

Beyond the New Deal: Global Collaboration and Peacebuilding with BRICS Countries

Development in fragile and conflict-affected contexts is both complex and contested. The New Deal for Engagement with Fragile States, endorsed by 35 countries and six organisations, is the current focus of efforts to harmonise aid approaches. More details

PB56 Front Cover

Brazil’s International Development Cooperation at a Crossroads

The IDS Rising Powers in International Development programme has launched a series of studies of key issues and debates on international development cooperation in BRICS countries, working with leading specialists from each country. This brief outlines the key findings of the ‘State of the Debate’ report on Brazil’s development cooperation policy. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Evaluation Methodologies for Aid in Conflict

Knowledge and rigorous evidence around the role of external development partners in situations of conflict and fragility is still lacking. There is little accountability for the billions in aid being spent in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo. More details

The Economic Engagement Footprint of Rising Powers in Sub-Saharan Africa

The Economic Engagement Footprint of Rising Powers in sub-Saharan Africa: Trade, FDI and Aid Flows

Estimates suggest that over the last decade both trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) from emerging economies to Africa ballooned. More details

Non-IDS publication

Aid Transparency and Accountability: “Build it and they’ll Come”?

Concerns about the transparency of aid have become more prominent against a recent backdrop of donor commitments to increase aid effectiveness. Innovative approaches to providing more and better information about aid have been developed. This article explores the contemporary focus on aid transparency in the context of longer-standing concerns over accountable aid. More details

Non-IDS publication

The Impact and Effectiveness of Transparency and Accountability Initiatives

This issue of Development Policy Review arises from a study of the impact and effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs) in different development sectors. It analyses existing evidence, discusses how approaches to learning about TAIs might be improved, and recommends how impact and effectiveness could be enhanced. More details

Non-IDS publication

The Impact of Transparency and Accountability Initiatives

This issue of Development Policy Review arises from a study of the impact and effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs) in different development sectors. It analyses existing evidence, discusses how approaches to learning about TAIs might be improved, and recommends how impact and effectiveness could be enhanced. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Uncovering the Politics of 'Evidence' and 'Results'. A Framing Paper for Development Practitioners

Hard evidence, rigorous data, tangible results, value for money – all are tantalising terms promising clarity for the international development sector. Yet, behind these terms lie definitional tussles, vested interests and contested world views that this background paper to the Politics of Evidence Conference aims to make explicit and question. The aim is to encourage development practitioners to strategize in expanding the politico-bureaucratic space to make room for flexible and creative support of locally-generated and transformative change. More details

IDS publications on international development research

'A Mile Wide and an Inch Deep?' Understanding Public Support for Aid: The Case of the United Kingdom

Despite interest in public support for aid to developing countries, there has been limited academic research. This paper reports analysis of survey data for the United Kingdom that explores the factors driving support for cuts in aid spending as a case example. More details

Non-IDS publication

Emerging and Submerging Powers: Imagined Geographies in the New Development Partnership at the Busan Fourth High Level Forum

The geopolitics of development is in a state of uncertainty and transition that the Busan High Level Forum both mirrored and contributed to. Busan established a new discourse of international development cooperation in which the old donor-recipient relationship is replaced by an equator-less landscape of a multi-stakeholder global partnership. More details

Non-IDS publication

Struggles in Paris: The DAC and the Purposes of Development Aid

This article historicises the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as a site where the meanings of development and the purposes of aid were contested and where gradually a more diverse set of actors were invited to engage in the argument. More details

Non-IDS publication

Fellow Travellers in Development

Although what has been called 'the people-centred development decade' of international aid in the 1990s can be explained at the systemic level by the end of the Cold War, such an account does not tell us how it actually came about. This article argues that a contributory factor can be identified through the life-histories of a generation of development semi- professionals, women now in their sixties who were caught up and part of two great emancipatory moments in the second half of the 20 century: freedom from colonialism and women's liberation. More details

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