The Reshaping of Aid Effectiveness Policies in the International, Canadian, and Tanzanian Contexts
den Heyer, Molly
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This dissertation explores the extent to which transnational policies can change the international development bureaucracy. Over the last decade, significant resources were invested to integrate aid effectiveness policies into the global network of donor organizations and recipient governments in an effort to improve aid delivery. These policies adhere to five principles: ownership, alignment, harmonization, managing for results, and mutual accountability. They are organized around the principle of ownership, according to which control over the development process is transferred from donor partners to recipient countries. While seemingly straightforward, underneath the perceived consensus are layers of ambiguous terminology, assorted interpretations and competing discourses that influence the policies—often dissipating the potential for transformation. This case study takes a multi-scalar approach in examining how aid effectiveness principles emerged as a transnational discourse and were embraced in Canada and Tanzania. The methods include a focus group, a policy review, qualitative observations, and interviews with practitioners from government, multilateral and civil society organizations in Canada and Tanzania. The analysis employs a reading of governmentality that focuses on the link between the microphysics of power embedded in day-to-day operations and the emergence of larger societal or discursive regimes. The dissertation found that aid effectiveness policies were repeatedly modified as they moved through the international development bureaucracy, effectively subduing significant changes in the recipient government-donor partner relationship. In Canada, aid effectiveness policies were incorporated into an already weak policy framework, which resulted in a truncated version that emphasizes accountability and managing for results. This restricted how the field staff negotiated with other donor partners and the Government of Tanzania. In Tanzania, the emphasis was on the principles of harmonization, alignment, and ownership, which generated a high level of organizational change with only minimal adjustments in terms of control over the development process. This case study found that policy modifications occurred on a daily basis as bureaucrats negotiated implementation strategies, various interpretations, and underlying discourses. This process amplified the technical aspects and subdued the transformational aspects of aid effectiveness policy. The dissertation concludes with a brief discussion of possible ways to overcome this quandary.