March 2013 Info Update: towards aid stability

Hello and welcome to the latest from NZADDs. From now on, we’re going to put these Info-Updates on our website so you can also read them at:

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  • New NZADDs Commentary
  • NZ Aid Programme Strategy blog
  • New Handbook on Capacity Development
  • New Oxfam NZ Research on NZ Private Sector and Sustainable Development
  • Not-so-new NZ Aid Programme Humanitarian and Disaster Risk Reduction Policies and Strategies

Steadying the Course: New NZADDs Commentary
First-up, NZADDs has a new Commentary. ‘Steadying the Course’ explores the why, what and how of improving stability of NZ aid policy. In this Commentary, I (Jo) explore the idea of enhancing stability in New Zealand Official Development Assistance (ODA). I outline why stability is important. I discuss two potential areas for inclusion in a stability mechanism: transparency and accountability, and ODA focused solely on development outcomes. I explore the ‘how’ of creating stability, drawing on the experiences of Australia’s bipartisan agreement, and legislation in the United Kingdom and Canada. And finally, I relate lessons from these experiences to New Zealand, posing questions for further thought. Download the pdf here.
The State of New Zealand’s Aid Strategy
After that, if you can handle reading some more from me, check out the Development Policy blog post I wrote about the new International Development Group’s Strategy. The Strategy is a welcome contribution to transparency but there are gaps. Also of concern is that the strategy makes much more explicit the government’s belief that aid should serve double duty — helping New Zealand as we try to help the rest of the world. In one sense it is great that the strategy is open about this. Yet it is sad that this change of purpose is taking place at all.
Just the Resource if Your Work Involves Capacity Building
Hot off the press is the unique and useful Practitioners Handbook for Capacity Development. Ernest Antoine and Deborah Rhodes draw on their extensive experience in Asia and the Pacific to provide a guide for working with the cross-cultural process of capacity development. Antoine and Rhodes recognise the multiple challenges in capacity development, and offer practical tools for managing the different cultural norms and expectations for all of us involved in these sorts of activities. It is to-the-point, short and accessible, and good for the experienced hand or newcomer, alike.
New Research on How the NZ Private Sector can Contribute to Pacific Sustainable Development
Also brand-new is an Oxfam NZ exploration of the characteristics and contributions of New Zealand investment and joint ventures in the Pacific. Based on four case studies, the findings highlight the complexity both of investing in the Pacific and how this might contribute to sustainable development outcomes, particularly for those groups of people who often miss out. Few NZ businesses had long-term investments in the Pacific or were planning any in the future, but the case studies showed that NZ businesses can have an advantage, given that long-term connections and relationships contributed to successful investments. In terms of development outcomes, the research suggests that it is difficult to directly link NZ investment with inclusive sustainable development impact, but integration of development strategies into business models may strengthen development impacts for people with few opportunities. The findings indicate that generalisations about policy are not useful for stimulating NZ investment in the Pacific, although improving rules of origin and assisting countries to meet NZ biosecurity requirements would make a positive impact. Definitely a ‘must-read’, this research is upbeat about the potential for sustainable development and NZ businesses, and offers useful directions toward these ends. Download the pdf here.

Aid Programme’s Humanitarian and Disaster Risk Reduction Policy
In case you missed it (we did), the New Zealand Aid Programme has a set of Policies and Strategies for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Risk Reduction , outlining the Aid Programme’s prioritisation of the Pacific and support for the rest of the world through internationally coordinated responses. The ASEAN Disaster Risk Reduction flagship is also a key component of the Aid Programme’s disaster risk reduction activities. The Policies and Strategies make for easy reading, outline the international humanitarian principles and agreements that NZ’s funding will be based on, and make a solid contribution to understanding how NZ ODA gets spent in these areas.
Have a great week.