293 Works

Development cooperation with conflict-affected MENA countries: refocussing on the social contract

Mark Furness & Annabelle Houdret
State–society relations are in flux across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), nearly a decade after the Arab uprisings. The protests and revolts that swept the region in 2011 arose from widespread rejection of the post-independence Arab social contracts. These were based on redistribution of rents from natural resources and other forms of transfers and subsidies, as “compensation” for acquiescence to political and economic authoritarianism. In several MENA countries, including Iraq, Libya, Syria and...

Protecting democracy: the relevance of international democracy promotion for term limits

Julia Leininger & Daniel Nowack
The question of whether and how democracy can be promoted and protected through international support has recently gained relevance. On the one hand, the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan has reignited a public debate on the limits of democracy promotion. On the other hand, the need for international democracy protection is growing due to an increase in autocratisation trends worldwide. DIE research shows that it is possible to effectively support and protect democracy. In...

Successfully promoting decentralisation: the potential of the multi-stakeholder approach

Lisa Groß
Sustainable Development Goal 17 assigns an important role to multi-stakeholder approaches in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). What are the advantages and impacts of a multi-stakeholder approach in decentralisation programmes?
The multi-stakeholder approach aims to involve all stakeholders from politics, civil society and the private sector that are relevant for a reform process. In the context of decentralisation programmes, this approach usually allows for simultaneous cooperation with political actors (supply side) and civil...

Towards more policy advice: maximizing the UN’s assets to build back better

John Hendra & Max-Otto Baumann
In order to effectively assist countries in “building back better” following the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to a path towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations (UN) and its development entities, organised within the United Nations Development System (UNDS), will need to adjust their approach. They need to respond not just through selected interventions of limited scope, which aim to achieve quick and tangible results, but by providing more and higher quality policy...

Unfinished business: an appraisal of the latest UNDS reform resolution

Max-Otto Baumann & Silke Weinlich
Can the United Nations Development System (UNDS) become a resourceful, well-organised partner for member states in implementing the 2030 Agenda? The UNDS is the biggest multilateral development actor, accounting for $18.4 billion, or 33 per cent, of multilateral aid in 2015. Its functions range from providing a forum for dialogue, decision-making and norm-setting, to research, advocacy, technical assistance and humanitarian aid. Numerous governments, including those of high-income countries, are counting on the UN’s assistance for...

Bridging the gaps: An integrated approach to assessing aid effectiveness

Heiner Janus, Paul Marschall & Hannes Öhler
Does aid contribute to development? If so, under what conditions and to what extent? These questions are as old as the field of development policy itself and they have been controversially discussed among researchers and policymakers ever since. Yet, two main trends put questions related to aid effectiveness high on the political agenda again. First, development actors want to understand and improve their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Second, populist parties on the...

The COVID-19 pandemic and structural transformation in Africa: evidence for action

Julia Leininger, Christoph Strupat, Yonas Adeto, Abebe Shimeles & Wilson Wasike
This study analyses how strengths and weaknesses of economic, societal, political and environmental structures played out during the Covid-19 crisis in Africa since March 2020. Its main aim is to improve evidence on the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic on African countries and, based on that evidence, identify policy implications and formulate recommendations. It comprises the analysis of (a) direct impacts of the pandemic as well as of policy responses such as lockdowns...

Pathways for integrating socially responsible public procurement in municipalities

Maximilian Müngersdorff & Tim Stoffel
Public procurement expenditures of European Union (EU) member states are enormous, accounting for approximately 14 per cent of value creation in the EU. In many European countries, municipalities are responsible for a large share of these expenditures, as is the case in Germany. By integrating sustainability criteria in tenders for goods, works and services, municipalities can significantly contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is to ensure...

Comparing global trends in multidimensional and income poverty and assessing horizontal inequalities

Francesco Burchi, Daniele Malerba, Nicole Rippin & Claudio E. Montenegro
The 2030 Agenda has provided new impetus to two facets of the struggle for poverty alleviation, which is a central goal of the international development community. First, poverty is no longer viewed strictly in monetary terms, but rather as a multidimensional phenomenon. Second, the need to reduce poverty for different social groups and not just at the aggregate, national level is explicitly recognised. Against this background, this paper has three objectives: (1) to analyse the...

Incentivising and regulating multi-actor partnerships and private-sector engagement in development cooperation

Dorothea Wehrmann
The inclusion of actors from the private sector is a central challenge for multi-actor partnerships (MAPs) and multi-stakeholder platforms in development cooperation. On the one side, the heterogeneity of approaches that shape development cooperation and rather abstract, long-term agendas (such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) make it difficult to incentivise the engagement of private-sector actors that typically prefer concrete and short-term activities with predictable outcomes. On the other side, the effectiveness of past...

How sustainable is recycling? Reconciling the social, ecological, and economic dimensions in Argentina

Anna Pegels, Stefanie Heyer, David Ohlig, Felix Kurz, Lena Laux & Prescott Morley
Due to the prevailing economic crisis, Argentina has been facing a growing number of informal workers, many of them urban recyclers. Following the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated decline in formal employment, this number can be expected to rise even further. Increased recycling activity is, in principle, a positive development. However, the working conditions of urban recyclers often do not correspond to the ILO definition of “decent work”.
It is therefore important to ask...

Local governments and the sustainable integration of refugees in Ethiopia

Eva Binkert, Merlin Flaig, Frucht Lukas, Jörn Grävingholt, Jannis König, Kuhnt Jana, Philipp Lendle, Abdirahman A. Muhumad & Katharina Potinius
Discussion Paper

Social protection as a tool to address slow onset climate events: emerging issues for research and policy

Mariya Aleksandrova
This discussion paper aims to further awareness of opportunities to address loss and damage caused by climate change-related slow onset events (SOEs) through social protection. The analysis is based on a review of interdisciplinary theoretical and empirical literature. The findings suggest that designing comprehensive, climate-responsive social protection strategies can strongly support proactive measures to avoid, minimise and address the complex, long-term impacts of SOEs on human health, livelihoods, poverty and inequality. This entails improving the...

Cultural values, attitudes, and democracy promotion in Malawi: how values mediate the effectiveness of donor support for the reform of presidential term limits and family law

Daniel Nowack
Democratisation as a historical process began in the 19th century and is continuing in the 21st. As one aspect of this, donor countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are promoting democratic standards around the globe. Democracy promotion now constitutes a central part of development cooperation between donor and partner countries. A number of scholars, however, argue that the current practice of democracy promotion is inherently flawed. By promoting democracy as a...

Cultural values, popular attitudes and democracy promotion: how values mediate the effectiveness of donor support for term limits and LGBT+ rights in Uganda

Merran Hulse
Democracy is frequently thought of as a “universal value”. Donors for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) accept this assumption and take measures in recipient countries that aim to promote or uphold values they consider central to democracy, including political competition and individual equality, among others. However, some scholars have questioned whether such values are actually universally applicable, and whether donors need to disavow themselves of the notion that “one size fits all”...

Unbundling the impacts of economic empowerment programmes: evidence from Malawi

Francesco Burchi & Christoph Strupat
Social protection schemes, such as cash transfers are effective in improving the ability of beneficiaries to meet their basic needs: however, the evidence available shows that they are unlikely to move beneficiaries sustainably out of extreme poverty. While alternative anti-poverty programmes, such as the BRAC graduation scheme in Bangladesh, seem to contribute to this outcome, they are costly and it is unclear which component of these multi-sectorial interventions really makes the difference. The present study...

(Re)negotiating refugee protection in Malaysia: implications for future policy in refugee management

Katrina Munir-Asen
Malaysia provides an interesting case study of the challenges of refugee integration, and the considerable implications of a country continuing to host refugees outside a refugee law framework and without a consistent refugee policy. The Malaysian government has not signed the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, nor its 1967 Protocol, and is therefore under no obligation to comply with the substantive provisions of it. It has neither implemented relevant legislation...

Institutional change through development assistance: the comparative advantages of political and adaptive approaches

Michael Roll
Development assistance often fails to achieve institutional change because of a limited consideration of the political nature of these reforms and the local context. In response, political and adaptive development assistance (PADA) approaches, such as “Thinking and Working Politically” (TWP) and “Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation” (PDIA), have been developed in recent years. Politicians, practitioners and researchers increasingly want to know if these approaches are more effective than mainstream approaches to development assistance. To answer this question,...

Strategies to strengthen socially responsible public procurement practices in German municipalities A mapping exercise

Maximilian Müngersdorff & Tim Stoffel
Socially Responsible Public Procurement (SRPP) is a tool to use the market power of the public sector to trigger private companies to provide socially responsible products and services. In this sense, SRPP contributes to achieving SDG 12 of the Agenda 2030 (“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”). However, while regulations at EU level and within the member states encourage SRPP, German municipalities lack effective implementation of social criteria in their tenders. This gap seriously decreases...

Repositioning but where: Is the UNDS fit for middle-income countries?

Nils-Sjard Schulz
After intense negotiations, the United Nations General Assembly has endorsed the reform of the United Nations Development System (UNDS). Most players in New York, including Secretary-General António Guterres and ambassadors to the United Nations, are optimistic that the UNDS will now take the multi-adjective route requested by the General Assembly (“more strategic, accountable, effective, transparent, collaborative, efficient, effective and result-oriented”). However, the reform’s actual litmus test will take place at the country level. Governments are...

Der Gesellschaftsvertrag: ein Analyseinstrument nicht nur für Länder im Nahen Osten und in Nordafrika (MENA)

Markus Loewe, Bernhard Trautner & Tina Zintl
Der Gesellschaftsvertrag ist ein Schlüsselbegriff in der sozialwissenschaftlichen Literatur, der auf die Beziehungen zwischen Staat und Gesellschaft fokussiert. Er bezeichnet die Gesamtheit expliziter oder impliziter Vereinbarungen zwischen allen relevanten gesellschaftlichen Gruppen und dem Souverän (d.h. der Regierung oder einem anderen Machthaber) über wechselseitige Rechte und Pflichten (Loewe & Zintl, forthcoming).
Die Analyse von Gesellschaftsverträgen verdeutlicht u.a. (i) warum einige Gesellschaftsgruppen sozial, politisch oder wirtschaftlich besser gestellt sind als andere, (ii) warum es Revolten und...

The devil is in the detail: administrative and fiscal challenges in implementing River Basin Management in Mongolia

Ines Dombrowsky, Jean Carlo Rodríguez De Francisco, Mirja Schoderer & Ariunaa Lkhagvadorj
The concept of river basin management calls for managing water resources at the river basin level in order to promote the sustainable use of water resources. Often this goes along with the introduction of river basin organisations (RBOs) as special purpose organisations. However, particularly in developing countries, RBOs often suffer from insufficient funds. Fiscal decentralisation involves shifting certain fiscal responsibilities to lower levels of government. Decentralisation could thus provide a source of funding for RBOs,...

Boosting non-state climate action in the European Union

Sander Chan & Jacopo Bencini
The 2015 Paris Agreement and the accompanying Paris Decision recognise the importance of climate actions by non-state actors, such as businesses, civil society organisations, cities, regions and cooperative initiatives, to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) and to adapt to climate change as necessary complements to governmental commitments. Prominent international platforms, such as the Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Climate...

Coordination beyond the state to solve complex water problems: insights from South Africa

Sabine Stuart-Hill, Evelyn Lukat, Catherine Pringle & Claudia Pahl-Wostl
This Briefing Paper presents one of six analyses of cross-sectoral coordination challenges that were conducted as part of the STEER research project and on which separate Briefing Papers are available.
South Africa’s water legislation is internationally recognised for its ambitious implementation of integrated water resource management (IWRM). IWRM is a concept that was developed to address complex water challenges by considering the connections between land and water, and widening the knowledge space to other...

River basin management and fiscal decentralisation: mutually supportive or counterproductive? A case study of Mongolia

Ines Dombrowsky, Ariunaa Lkhagvadorj & Mirja Schoderer
The concept of “river basin management” calls for managing water resources at the river basin level in order to promote the sustainable use of water resources. Often the concept of river basin management is associated with the introduction of “river basin organisations” (RBOs) as special purpose organisations. However, in many developing countries, RBOs remain underfunded. Fiscal decentralisation involves shifting certain responsibilities for expenditures or revenues to lower levels of government. It usually involves a reallocation...

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