The Auditor General of Canada tabled in Parliament the Fall 2009 Report to Parliament on November 3, 2009. The subject of Chapter 8 is the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
CIDA acknowledges and accepts the recommendations made by the Auditor General, as they reinforce the approach the government is taking to increase the effectiveness of its development assistance through the Aid Effectiveness Agenda. CIDA is committed to ensuring that Canada's development assistance is more focused, more effective, and more accountable.
Key steps taken to date in implementing Canada's Aid Effectiveness Agenda include:
The report assessed past management practices and systems to guide implementation of the recommendations made in the 2002 Policy Statement on Strengthening Aid Effectiveness, namely:
The report makes recommendations in seven areas, listed below. A summary of CIDA's response follows each recommendation.
To support the use of Program-Based Approaches (PBAs), CIDA should set clear performance targets on how much of its aid should be delivered through these approaches.
Agreed. The Agency has an action plan that identifies measurable actions with accompanying targets to achieve its aid effectiveness commitments, including PBAs. CIDA will strive to implement PBAs when appropriate conditions are met, as defined in the PBA policy.
The Canadian International Development Agency should undertake a comprehensive evaluation of its use of program-based approaches with a view to determining whether they are achieving the Agency's goals.
Agreed. As mandated by Treasury Board, CIDA will provide a review of PBAs by March 31, 2010, that assesses the effectiveness of these approaches. In preparation for this review, it is completing evaluations of those country programs that have a significant PBA component.
To ensure transparent and predictable long-term planning, CIDA should:
Agreed. A new planning process for CIDA's Geographic Programs is finalized. Country Strategies, which provide the strategic direction for programs for each of CIDA's identified 20 countries of focus, have been completed, and summaries of the strategies will be posted on CIDA's website by the end of 2009.
To achieve greater sectoral focus, CIDA should:
Agreed. To achieve greater sectoral focus, the Minister of International Cooperation announced new thematic priorities in May 2009. These thematic priorities are: increasing food security; stimulating sustainable economic growth; and securing the future of children and youth.
The 2009 Country Strategies reflect greater programming focus drawing on these thematic priorities. Following consultations in Canada, and in the Countries of Focus, CIDA will complete Agency-wide strategies for each of these thematic priorities by early 2010.
Measurable expectations and performance benchmarks will be set in comprehensive development programming frameworks, as appropriate. CIDA will monitor and report on these expected results. Annual program performance reports will examine the extent to which key expected results have been achieved. These results will contribute to the formulation of corporate plans and reports such as the Report on Plans and Priorities and the Departmental Performance Report.
To support achieving its goals in its priority sectors and build on its relative strengths, CIDA should:
Agreed. CIDA is in the process of defining the necessary skills and expertise required to support programming and delivery of initiatives within these thematic priorities. CIDA will ensure that a cadre of specialists is in place through recruitment, training, and ongoing professional development.
To support the use of program-based approaches, the Canadian International Development Agency should:
CIDA implemented a Policy on Program-Based Approaches (PBAs) in July 2009. The policy articulates the circumstances under which it is appropriate to use PBAs. It is supported by CIDA's Policy on Fiduciary Risk Assessment and CIDA's Operational Guide on PBAs.
These documents provide guidance to assess the capacity of national systems and identify assessment tools, such as Public Expenditures and Financial Accountability diagnostic assessment. These tools enable CIDA to better identify and manage project related risks.
The Canadian International Development Agency should establish and implement a comprehensive strategy for achieving its aid effectiveness commitments. To ensure that such a strategy can withstand changes in personnel and the passage of time, CIDA should clearly document action plans, targets and performance indicators; assign clear accountability for their implementation; evaluate and monitor progress against targets and performance indicators on an annual basis; and communicate its strategy publicly and report on its implementation externally, as appropriate.
Agreed. CIDA has launched an action plan that consolidates guidance for meeting CIDA's commitments to aid effectiveness. The Agency has also finalized Accountability and Monitoring Guidelines that clarify accountabilities and tracking methodology for each action and target of the plan.
Monitoring will be performed annually, as a component of CIDA's regular program monitoring process. CIDA's annual performance reports and the Agency's website will report on progress.