“Aid Policy and Performance” Working Group
What are the core topics of the Working Group?
Aid and development policy are the broad encompassing core subjects of the working group. Sub-subjects have ranged from evaluation of development assistance to private aid.
What are our aims? What do we want to achieve as a Working Group?
1. Bringing researchers together who are working on the same subjects; 2. To allow and instigate discussions on new subjects; 3. To publish together on those subjects.
About this Working Group
The main purpose of the Group is jointly to pursue research on overall policies as well as on more specific topics within the field as defined, with the intention of reporting results at the end of the road. The themes and priorities are usually to be decided when the Group meets at the General Conferences of EADI, but new themes can be brought up also between these conferences.
Usually a design is drawn up by one or more of the Convenors of the Group and outstanding researchers in the field are asked to comment on this position paper. These consultations are followed up by invitations to provide the individual component studies of the project within a defined time schedule. Authors are invited on the basis of merit in the specific field selected, not on the basis of their EADI or Group membership. To the extent possible, researchers from the South are integrated - again on the basis of merit in the specific field only.
The draft studies are presented at a workshop to which, in addition to the authors, a selected group of experts is invited, representing the immediate environment of the chosen theme (researchers, top administrators of bilateral and international aid agencies, development finance organisations, ministries of foreign affairs and major NGOs/INGOs), who act as discussants to the draft papers. It follows that the Group actively seeks to extract the benefits of the cross-fertilisation resulting from a dialogue between researchers and those responsible for initiating and implementing the policy in the areas chosen for the project.
After this scrutiny, the authors prepare their final manuscripts, and these are going through a new editorial process that includes language revision and copyediting. The book manuscript is then offered for publication in the EADI Book Series. This, in turn, involves a new evaluation process organised by the EADI Publishing Committee.
The composition of the Group is multidisciplinary, with particular reference to the social sciences. Its main approach is that of comparative studies; however, the approach selected will be adapted to the theme chosen.
The "normal" projects described above are running more or less independently of the EADI General Conferences, although some contributions resulting from such major projects may be presented at these conferences or the first studies of an emerging project may be first presented there. Normally, the sessions organised by the Group at the EADI General Conferences do not provide sufficient space for such comprehensive projects. Such workshops may, however, be organised in conjunction with these conferences, normally ahead of them.
The sessions of the Group at the EADI General Conference offer an opportunity for researchers associated with member institutes of EADI and individual members of EADI who are active researchers in the general field covered by the Group with an opportunity to present papers and to take initiatives with regard to future activities of the Group.
A Walled Garden: The Working Group is in the process of setting up an interactive web-site in the form of a so-called "walled garden", which allows members to exchange working papers. Junior researchers can thus invite comments from the other members who assist them in making papers fit for publication.
- Analyse the policy and performance of European governments and the European Union with regard to their policy and performance vis-à-vis developing countries, with particular reference to their development co-operation and North-South policies more generally. The Group also aims at exploring the various forms and instruments involved in such relationships, with particular reference to development co-operation. Evaluation of development assistance - and various approaches in this regard - is also part of the task.
- Disseminate the results of such research to a wider audience, involving the development research community as well as the general public interested in the topic.
- Constitute a forum for the discussion of the issues involved based on the research that has been undertaken.
- The Group aims at playing a leading role, in Europe and globally, in the academic discourse on development, development co-operation in particular, and will, accordingly, seek to be ahead of the curve in the selection of themes to be considered.
The Group is inclusive with regard to membership. There are different kinds of members, according to their level of activity.
There is a core group of members that, over the years, have taken active part in several of the projects organised by the Group in the capacity of authors of book chapters and participants and discussants at workshops organised between the EADI General Conferences and in the sessions of the Group organised during these conferences.
There is an additional group of members who have participated actively in one of these projects and afterwards occasionally taken part in sessions organised at EADI General Conferences by presenting papers or as participants in the debates, etc. This group is extensive: over the years, many have taken part in the more specialised projects of the Group, both researchers associated with EADI member institutes, individual members of EADI and non-members of EADI - associated with universities and research institutes in the South, bilateral and international aid agencies and NGOs. During EADI General Conferences, participants have the right to participate in the Group if they so wish.
There is an extensive group of invited guests - specialists in specific areas selected for a project, who have contributed extensively to the work of the Group. They have been invited to present papers in workshops. organised by the Group or to act as discussants to such papers, and also produced chapters in several of the volumes that have been published. Later they have been kept informed on the work of the Group and - although not being members of EADI -occasionally also participated in various ways in some of the activities.