Programme based approaches English (en) Deutsch (de) español (es)français (fr) português (pt)

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The OECD DAC Definition states: “Programme-Based Approaches (PBAs) are a way of engaging in development cooperation based on the principles of co-ordinated support for a locally owned programme of development, such as a national development strategy, a sector programme, a thematic programme or a programme of a specific organisation.

Programme-based approaches share all four of the following features:

  • (a) leadership by the host country or organisation;
  • (b) a single comprehensive programme and budget framework;
  • (c) a formalised process for donor co-ordination and harmonisation of donor procedures for reporting, budgeting, financial management and procurement;
  • (d) efforts to increase the use of local systems for programme design and implementation, financial management, monitoring and evaluation.

Project-based approaches to development have been much criticized due to the burden of Transactions costs that they impose and the dispersal of efforts that they imply. Accordingly, the Paris declaration calls for increased use of programme-based approaches, setting a target of 66% of all ODA to be provided in this form by 2010.

As a way of operating, programme-based approaches incorporate a number of Aid effectiveness principles and can be applied quite flexibly to suit different circumstances and needs. The emphasis tends to be on comprehensive planning, and on the replication of standard models of service delivery at a large scale. Most PBAs are thus government-led in sectors such as education and health, where scaling up of service delivery is feasible.


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