Development effectiveness

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda contains a range of commitments to enhance the quality, impact and effectiveness of international development cooperation.

The Addis Agenda specifically:

  • Commits to make development more effective and predictable by providing developing countries with regular and timely indicative information on planned support in the medium term; Encourages the publication of forward-looking plans which increase clarity, predictability and transparency of future development cooperation
  • Welcomes efforts to improve the quality, impact and effectiveness of development cooperation; welcomes adherence to agreed development cooperation effectiveness principle
  • Commits to: align activities with national priorities, including by reducing fragmentation, accelerating the untying of aid, particularly for least developed countries and countries most in need; promote country ownership and results orientation; strengthen country systems; using programme-based approaches where appropriate; reduce transaction costs; increase transparency and mutual accountability
  • Urges countries to track and report resource allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • Consider not requesting tax exemptions on goods and services delivered as government-to government aid, beginning with renouncing repayments of value-added taxes and import levies
  • Work to strengthen national ownership and leadership over the operational activities for development of the United Nations system in programme countries; United Nations coherence, relevance, effectiveness and efficiency, to improve coordination and results, including through achieving further progress on the “Delivering as one” voluntary approach  


Latest developments

Country ownership, which remains central to the impact and effectiveness of development cooperation, begins with the establishment of strong national development plans. Governments have made significant progress in this area since the start of the decade, including the integration of the 2030 Agenda. Since 2011, the proportion of partner countries with national development strategies assessed as high-quality has almost doubled, from 36 to 63 per cent. Nearly all strategies (90 per cent) approved from 2015 onward reference the 2030 Agenda and/or the SDGs, and developing-country Governments are consulting a broad range of national stakeholders in the design of their plans.

Despite considerable strengthening in developing countries’ planning processes, development partners’ alignment to country priorities and country-owned results frameworks is declining. In 2018, while 83 per cent of new projects have objectives aligned to country priorities, only 59 per cent of results indicators are drawn from country-owned results frameworks, and only 50 per cent align with their statistics and monitoring systems.Bilateral aid focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment is increasing, accounting for 46 per cent of total bilateral allocable aid in 2018. 

Read the latest analysis by the Task Force here.