The review found that, while CIDA's experience with program-based approaches (PBAs) is relatively recent and more time is needed to see their full development benefits and results on poverty reduction, early indications are encouraging. CIDA's investments through the different forms of PBAs (general budget support, sector budget support, and pooled funds) have been highly relevant to the needs of partner countries and effective in achieving results. PBAs have enabled CIDA to work in a more coordinated and harmonized way with other donors to dialogue with the partner countries and leverage changes of a systemic nature that traditional projects have not been able to achieve in the past. They also contributed to needed institutional changes in a number of countries in areas such as public financial management, increased resource allocation toward poverty initiatives, and specific public sector reforms.
The review also found that, despite considerable effort and some noticeable achievements by CIDA, it has often proven difficult to integrate cross-cutting issues, such as the environment and equality between women and men, due to the complex policy context surrounding PBA negotiations. CIDA also needs to get a better understanding of transaction costs associated with PBAs. Further, it needs to work with other donors to strengthen the performance management, monitoring, and evaluation capacities of partner country institutions to improve the performance of development investments, including PBAs.
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CIDA's Review of Program-Based Approaches—Synthesis Report (PDF, 1.1 MB, 71 pages)