Aid Harmonisation and Alignment: Bridging the Gaps between Reality and the Paris Reform Agenda


  • Andrew Rogerson

    1. Research Fellow, Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure, Poverty and Public Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute, 111 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7JD (
    Search for more papers by this author
    • An earlier draft of this article was presented to the OECD Development Centre-ODI Workshop on International Aid Architecture Issues, 4 February 2005, ahead of the Paris Forum itself. The author gratefully acknowledges comments from workshop participants and especially from Tony Killick.


The Paris agenda on aid effectivess emphasises support for recipient-owned development strategies, increased use of national systems and more co-ordinated and predictable donor actions. Monitorable targets for such behaviour have been agreed, but the connections with expected development benefits are as yet unproven. Alternative views of the rationale for aid agencies, transaction costs and conditionality, in which there is rarely complete preference alignment and trust between donors and recipients, introduce further complications. Four additional policy measures are identified which cannot be managed easily within the Paris agenda: better international balancing of aid allocations; new instruments with longer commitment horizons; liquidity arrangements to enable ‘scaling up’ across several countries; and independent aid rating institutions linked to market-like sanctions.