AWEPA’s Development Effectiveness programme has been in operation since 2008, when it led the first parliamentary delegation to the third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Over time, the programme has worked at the global level, mainly through the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and its previous structures, in supporting and monitoring the incorporation of the institution of parliament in development policies, processes and plans at the national and regional levels throughout Africa.
The programme aims to develop critical thinking skills on the part of select local, national and regional parliaments on the nature and limits of the information provided in their local or national budgets and of parliament’s oversight role therein. In the broader accountability framework, the focus has been predominately placed on parliaments’ relationship with their executives, although parliamentary relations with the donor community constitute a natural imperative.
Through tailor-made workshops and peer-to-peer south-south and north-south cooperation, partner parliaments have been supported in developing parliamentary plans of action with regard to the oversight of Official Development Assistance (ODA), positioning them to work towards the inclusion of external revenues in their national budgets.
The general objective of the Development Effectiveness Programme is to strengthen parliamentary oversight of the executive and development policies and processes through peer-to-peer south-south and north-south cooperation.
In 2015, the specific objectives included:
- Assisting in the development of the institutional capacity of the South African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) to function as a regional parliament by building the capacities of parliamentarians on key topics such as domestic resource mobilisation;
- Building a Joint Monitoring Team (JMT) process with parliamentarians from Mozambique, Tanzania and Ireland to engage in international dialogue on salient development issues prioritised by participating members themselves.
Type of activities
Activities implemented by AWEPA in 2015 included:
- Strategic meetings of teams of parliamentarians from Ireland and Mozambique;
- A review meeting of the JMTs in London to explore ways forward;
- Six months of support to the Planning and Budget Committee of the Parliament of Mozambique for technical assistance and training;
- Inaugural meetings of two of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Standing Committees outside of plenary (the Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights and the Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure);
- A Consultative Meeting to Consider the Draft Benchmarks for HIV and AIDS Financial Oversight in SADC;
- A workshop on SADC Domestic Resource Mobilisation through Taxation and Oversight;
- Regular participation in GPEDC Steering Committee meetings as well as the Advisory Group and Annual Meetings of the Effective Institutions Platform (EIP).
As a result of the activities facilitated by AWEPA in 2015:
- The Planning and Budget Committee of the Parliament of Mozambique received direct support with on-the-job training and analytical shadowing of staff on public and financial management;
- The concept of JMTs was revised to prioritise areas of cooperation on food security and international trade;
- Regional benchmarks for the SADC region were adopted for selected domestic resource appropriations;
- Members of the SADC Standing Committees gained confidence in their understanding of parliamentary oversight of the executive throughout the budget cycle in the region, while reinforcing the importance of the use of the national budget as an instrument in national development;
- Regional integration in the management of natural resources was improved through interaction and exchange of best practice and progress at the regional level;
- A Joint SADC Parliamentary Statement was adopted outlining the actions that should be taken in order to ensure that taxation and oversight as a source of domestic resource mobilisation is prioritised among SADC parliaments;
- A template for the collection of HIV/AIDS benchmarks for financial oversight was discussed, refined and validated by SADC MPs and parliamentary staff.