You are on page 1of 20

Operational guidelines for the Global Donor Platform for Rural Developments facilitation service

Operational guidelines for the Global Donor Platform for Rural Developments facilitation service
Annex 1: Characteristics of the facilitator and scope of visits Annex 2: Phases of facilitation Annex 3: Template of Country Information Matrix What is the Platform? Background Why does the Platform offer in-country facilitation? What is in-country facilitation? Principles and definitions How does in-country facilitation work in practice? Services and procedures What are lessons learned so far?

This note is intended to clarify the Platforms role as an external facilitator of in-country harmonisation and alignment processes in agriculture and rural development. It answers the following questions:

The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (the Platform) is a strategic alliance of 26 donor nations and international agencies that share the goal of fighting rural poverty. All support the harmonisation and alignment of policies and the implementation of strategies designed to improve agriculture and rural development in partner countries. The Platform members represent about 80% of the total official development assistance (ODA) provided in the field of rural development. They are committed to fighting rural poverty by increasing the impact of development assistance and by ensuring that investment in rural development and agriculture is more effective. There is consensus among the Platform members that national and global poverty-reduction targets can only be met if their policies and strategic instruments are aligned and harmonised, in line with enhanced country-driven strategies and procedures. The Platform has three main objectives and pillars. Through these, it aims to reduce poverty, ensure food security, and enhance sustainable economic growth in rural areas in developing countries. The last decade has witnessed a transformation in the architecture of international development assistance. Besides the commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and the introduction of country-led Poverty Reduction Strategies, the international community is committed to bring about increased harmonisation and alignment of development assistance and has signed to this effect the Paris Declaration in March 2005. In order to achieve the goals set in the Paris Declaration, a variety of new aid modalities (e.g. budget support, SWAps/PBAs etc) has been introduced. Shared learning In-country facilitation > to foster harmonisation and alignment (H&A) efforts in rural development and agriculture at the country level Pillar Advocacy

What is the Platform? Background


Why does the Platform offer in-country facilitation?

> to communicate and cross-fertilise research and thought-leadership in rural development

> to give the rural poor a voice and bring more and better-quality private and public investment to rural areas



The Platform constitutes a link between donor headquarters (HQ) and its incountry staff, mainstreaming individual HQ global policies with sectoral and operational strategies and requirements at country-level, and encouraging greater responsiveness of HQ procedures to country-driven processes. Being an independent and external body (honest broker) and not a stakeholder in the process, the Platform can effectively assist partner countries to find a consensus-based solution when the PBA or SWAp formulation process is being hindered by the particular interests of one or several donor(s) or by partner country institution(s). The Platform is able to give appropriate advice to its members, based on the challenges to PBA formulation that have already been identified and on the experience its members have gained when supporting the formulation of coherent policies in the rural development sector. The Platform provides an international network with expertise in rural PBAs/SWAps and shared learning. Any country involved therefore becomes part of a broader learning circle of other countries, benefiting from and sharing good practice and expertise on the design of PBAs. Such giving and taking will generate a global community of practice concerned with PBAs in A&RD which is moderated by the Platform. The Platform helps to create an atmosphere of trust and transparency which encourages constructive and efficient planning and implementation processes.

The members of the Platform have realised that this new development environment requires a new way of doing business as well as a different kind of thinking, both within the donor organisations and in the field and within the partner institutions. The Platform acknowledges that the institutional changes involved in developing this new way of thinking will be a difficult process. It also acknowledges that it will take time to change habits and work programmes. Therefore, the Platform members have agreed to provide an independent facilitation service to support donors and partners alike in this transformation process and to assist in efficiently translating the principles of the Paris Declaration into practical reality in the area of agriculture & rural development (A&RD).

The Platforms goal under its third pillar in-country facilitaton is to contribute to the harmonisation and alignment of development assistance in A&RD which will result in decreased transaction costs and enhanced impacts. The Platform is an independent player in the field of development, yet it can count on the commitment of 26 donor organisations. In this regard, the Platform offers the following advantages for fostering collaborative efforts in rural development among donors and partners alike at country level:

In 2005, the Platform started to offer its facilitation service in four pilot countries: Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and Cambodia. Nicaragua, Tanzania and Cambodia had already begun working towards a sectorwide approach before the Platform became involved. Burkina Faso, on the other hand, worked with the Platform to take its first steps towards the formulation of a PBA in agriculture.

The Platforms in-country facilitation service is demand-driven, and the approach taken in each country is formulated in close cooperation with the respective development partners. The services are available on request and will be adapted (1) to each countrys needs and priorities and; (2) to the harmonisation and alignment agenda already being enacted in the country. The counterpart of the Platform is the Head of the Executive Committee of the respective Sector Round Table, or the equivalent for each country. The Platform expects its partner countries and local donors to draw upon and share relevant experiences, treating such knowledge as a global public good which will benefit different countries. The processing of the lessons learned, however, as well as their dissemination among other countries, is done by the Platform. Admittedly, this innovative concept of the Platforms facilitation services has not been well communicated in the past and has created confusion among donors and partners alike, as the Platform has been viewed simply as an additional donor. This has resulted in initial resistance to what was seen as additional support to on-going processes with an unclear goal and objective. The Platform has taken these reactions into account and hopes to clarify doubts about its intentions with this note.

The Platform has taken an innovative approach to translating the principles of the Paris Declaration into reality at the country level. In essence, the Platform works through an facilitator who acts as an independent broker without an institutional stake to support the process of H&A at country level. In most cases, the facilitator joins the formulation or implementation process of a PBA in A&RD.

What are in-country facilitation services? Definitions and principles



3. Designing a road map to support a PBA: the Platform approach The facilitator supports the design of a road map towards the formulation and/or implementation of a PBA. The design process is participatory and driven by the client country. The viewpoints and experiences of various stakeholders are taken into account in an equal and balanced manner. The process itself should strengthen leadership/ownership, alignment and harmonisation. The road map must be realistic, and should consider existing constraints, such as the institutional capacity of the

2. The Platform understanding of PBA formulation: A PBA is a way of engaging in development co-operation based on the principle of coordinated support for a locally owned programme of development, such as a national poverty reduction strategy, a sector programme, a thematic programme or a programme of a specific organisation. These principles are based on those set out by the Learning Network for Program Based Approaches (LENPA). A single comprehensive programme and budget framework. A formalised process for donor co-ordination and harmonisation of donor procedures for reporting, budgeting, financial management and procurement. Increased use of local systems for programme design and implementation, financial management, monitoring and evaluation. The pre-requirements of a successful PBA formulation comprise: National and sector leadership (Government and Ministry). Willingness, trust and transparency. Consensus development. Definition of a road map. Successes and difficulties belong to all partners. A PBA aims to establish:

1. The Platform definition of a facilitator Facilitators assist individuals and teams to find solutions through consensus-building processes, based on sound principles of H&A, without imposing or dictating answers. They encourage and empower others and support them in developing and accomplishing more by promoting optimal conditions for transparent dialogue and learning. They do so by listening and questioning, by addressing problems and posing constructive options, and by reflecting in a supportive way.

Platform principles and definitions of in-country facilitation services

Support from an international facilitator The Platform facilitators have international experience in PBAs. Their work is based (1) on their own experience; and (2) upon lessons learned from other pilot countries. Facilitators are also able to benefit from a database of all rural development PBAs worldwide, as well as from insights into bottlenecks gained in past studies. For more details see Annex 1: Characteristics of the facilitators and the scope of visits. Support from a national facilitator Contracted by the Platform to support the local government-donor group, the national facilitators help to put in place logistical/administrative procedures for enhanced H&A. In this role, they work closely with the external facilitators, and for the country counterparts. National facilitators are meant to support the coordination processes of the partner and the local donors on a full-time basis. On behalf of the Platform, they keep an active database on all projects supported by donors in the country and, together with the external facilitator, act as a liaison with the country. Sharing of lessons learned In order to improve H&A at country level, the Platform shares the lessons already learned with the other pilot countries involved. To this end, the Platform distributes monthly reports, distils lessons learned, and informs interested parties about the advances made in different countries via its website and conferences. Building of links with regional networks The Platform uses its links with regional networks to disseminate knowledge, share learning and gather local experience. Such links also help the Platform to scale-up local experiences so that they can be applied in other countries.

Clearly, it takes time and extra resources to ensure more intensive coordination among different actors, as well as knowledge about the new methods of aid delivery involved in order to achieve increased harmonisation and alignment. Furthermore, the design and implementation of a PBA and H&A Action Plan is a process which occurs over a period of time, and is not a one-time planning event. The Platforms facilitation service offers to lessen the burden of the actors by providing the following support:

How does in-country facilitation work in practice? Services and procedures

specific sector ministry or the sectoral agencies involved. It must also consider existing donor arrangements. In addition, it must allow new financiers and donors to join as and when they are ready. As leadership and ownership by the host country is a key element of a PBA, responsibility for the process and its final outcome belongs to the government and its development partners. Once a road map has been developed, it has to be respected.



It is important to note that the Platform does not finance the core operational expenses of country programmes. Such expenses are funded through the financial and human resources of government institutions and donors in the country in question. However, the Platform does cover the direct costs it incurs as a result of becoming involved (e.g. the costs of facilitators, travel, workshops, training, and of obtaining feedback for its global learning network). These costs are agreed individually on a case-bycase basis and depend on the scope of work and the availability of resources. In its facilitation service, the Platform adheres to the basic principles laid out in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of March 2005 (see www.aidharmonization. org). Through its support, the Platform aims to make a significant contribution to translate the Paris Declaration into operational reality.

Ensuring headquarters to align with and support the local donor representatives Still, information/communication gaps exist between headquarters and field staff as well as between staff from different organisations in regard to the new H&A policies and their appropriate translation into practical reality. The Platform can act as a broker between the different actors through its appointed member Focal Points and help to adequately disseminate information. Ensuring expert input Upon request from the respective government-donor round tables, the Platform finances and coordinates input from appropriate experts (resource persons) on thematic issues which help to move forward the H&A processes in A&RD. Commissioning studies The Platform commissions studies to distil and share lessons that demonstrate good practice in H&A in A&RD and that provide solutions to identified bottlenecks.

Insufficient communication and coordination among the donors. Lack of institutional capacity within the relevant sector ministry (or ministries) and weak sector leadership. The complexity of the sector. Lack of human resources in public institutions. Deficiencies in management and reporting and monitoring and evaluation systems. Unclear institutional mandates and difficulties in asserting authority over institutions related to other sectors. Organisational structure within sector ministries does not match strategy and functions. Weak links between ministries. Absence of a coherent multi-year and sectoral expenditure programme. Absence of a coherent annual work plan. Vested interests of stakeholders in the sector. Presence of corruption. Growing tension between the incipient use of local systems and corruption.
*Klaus Talvela, 2006: Facilitating the process of developing an enhanced program-based approach for support to the land agenda in Cambodia, Mission Report 1, GDPRD

1. General lessons learned for harmonisation and alignment processes Although local realities differ, the Platform has found that the challenges to ownership, harmonisation, and alignment processes in A&RD are quite similar in most countries. These are as follows (not necessarily in order of importance):

Lessons learned so far

Most of the mentioned challenges can be regarded as reasons for advancing with a PBA, not merely as obstacles to it. In fact, the problem analysis is quite similar to other sectors in which successful sector programmes have been prepared (Klaus Talvela, 2006*).



2. Lessons learned for the Platform facilitation service Over the past two years, the Platform has delivered its facilitation service through the learning by doing approach and has learned its own lessons, namely: The entry point for the Platform must be the Sector Round Table. The Head of the Sector Round Table is the Platforms contact person/counterpart for all matters regarding the facilitation service in the respective country. The main actors in A&RD in the respective country and their roles must be clearly identified. Clear communication channels have to be established with the help of the respective Sector Round Table right from the beginning. The mandate and the role of the facilitator must be clearly agreed upon and communicated. Explicit care must be taken that the facilitator is not acting as the representative of an additional donor, but as someone who is facilitating dialogue between actors in order to render the H&A processes more efficient and transparent. Local donor representatives must be clearly briefed. Donor headquarters must inform their local representatives about their organisations commitment to the Platform efforts to increase aid effectiveness in the rural development sector.

Ideally, the in-country facilitation service is jointly provided by an International Facilitator (IF) and a National Facilitator (NF). National Facilitator (NF): Contracted by the Platform in consultation with the local sectoral government-donor group, the NF helps to put in place logistical/administrative procedures for enhanced H&A. In this role, the NF works for the country counterparts and closely with the IF. National facilitators are meant to support the coordination processes of the partner and the local donors on a full-time basis. On behalf of the Platform, they keep an active database on all projects supported by donors in the country and, together with the IF, act as a liaison with the country.

International Facilitator (IF): Each IF is chosen by the Platform in consultation with the in-country development partners and national government. The IF is paid by the Platform. The international facilitator is an independent, external advisor with practical experience in the preparation and implementation of Programme-Based Approaches (PBAs). Each IF is skilled in moderation and organisational development. Facilitators are familiar with the culture of the relevant partner countries or region, and understand the instruments, comparative advantages, and perspectives of different donors. He or she must also have a good understanding of agriculture and rural development issues, as well as long-term, in-country experience in development assistance. The international facilitator will not be attached to any of the on-going projects/programmes in the respective country. Scope of visits by the IF: All visits can be accompanied by the Platform Secretariat and Steering Committee/Focal Points in order to ensure a global learning network. All visits will involve an initial meeting when appropriate. This will be used to explain the objective of the visit to the actors involved and to establish a timetable. Bilateral interviews should also be undertaken. As each IF is not a staff member of any of the donor organisations, and is not being paid by them, he/she should not be influenced by the opinions or interests of any donor. This guarantees a high level of credibility with partners. The IF will hand in a mission report to the Platform after each mission to help with the process of synthesising the lessons learned about PBA/SWAp formulation. Working with the NF, the IF will establish a database of PBA characteristics. This will allow those involved to compare the progress being made in the different pilot countries (see Annex 3).

Annex 1: Characteristics of the facilitators and the scope of visits of the international facilitator



Phase III: Deepening donor harmonisation and alignment and cross-fertilisation During the third phase which usually includes several visits over a period of one to two years, the IF continues to advise the local development partners in all aspects which move forward the implementation of the agreed action plan and which ultimately lead to improved donor harmonisation and alignment. Key areas to advise on differ from country to country and may include e.g. improving ownership, leadership, participation of stakeholders and practical harmonisation

Phase I: Communicating the purpose of the Platform facilitation service and assessing the state-of-the-play in harmonisation and alignment in A&RD in the individual countries In the first phase, the international facilitator (IF) visits the country and clearly communicates the objectives of the Platform and the scope of the facilitation services to the respective Sector Round Table. In an initial workshop, the IF will give a general presentation about the Platform, the design of the facilitation service, and the expected results of the first visit. The facilitator will also clarify the future communication channels between Platform, Sector Round Table and the relevant actors in H&A in A&RD. The first mission usually lasts 10 days and consists of the initial introductory workshop, followed by individual interviews, and a concluding workshop in which the IF presents its findings and agrees upon the scope of further involvement of the Platform as well as next mission dates. The Terms of Reference for the IF, and all following contracts, are agreed upon between the Sector Round Table and the Platform Secretariat. The final product of the first phase consists of an analysis of the current harmonisation and alignment efforts in the A&RD sector. It will analyse issues such as institutional aspects, ownership and leadership, stakeholder participation and donor coordination and will draw conclusions and provide first recommendations. The study will be made available to the Sector Round Table and all members of the Platform.

Annex 2 The phases of facilitation

Phase II: Developing a road map for improved harmonisation and alignment in A&RD During the second visit the IF will work closely with government and donor counterparts to develop a road map towards improved H&A. This road map will provide an agreed, complete, realistic and implementable action plan with expected strategic results, priority actions, progress indicators, responsible bodies, dates of execution and required resources. Consensus-building for this process should be achieved through workshops, followed by the careful discussion and the joint drafting of an action plan/road map. Ideally, by this time, a national facilitator (NF) has been identified by the respective Sector Round Table and contracted by the Platform to provide support during the development as well as the implementation of the action plan.

arrangements. Also, the IF makes sure that opportunities for cross-fertilisation between the pilot countries are seized. Exchanges either through field trips, participation in Platform-organised conferences or via phone/videoconferences are meant to promote peer learning and to broaden the knowledge on PBA implementation. The NF continues to provide full-time administrative support for enhanced H&A and to ensure the smooth implementation of the action plan. Both facilitators work in close coordination (via phone and email) and constitute a facilitation service team. Phase IV: Providing a global public good Jointly, IF and NF continuously prepare progress reports and analyse the lessons learned during the facilitation service. The Platform ensures that the experiences and lessons learned from all pilot countries are monitored and evaluated periodically. All products and other pilotcountry-related information is presented on the Platform website (, providing a global public good for all interested stakeholders.


Annex 3: Information matrix

3. PBA/SWAp information
Mid-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Public Finance Mgmt Agriculture and rural development policy/programme Ownership, leadership & alignment Policies and strategies Institutional aspects Monitoring & evaluation Contract modalities (MOU, code of conduct)? Is it official zed and signed by partner?

1. Contact information
International facilitator National facilitator Donor speaker C: Private sector A: Donor organisation B: Government/Ministries


Name of PBA/SWAp:

Name of Sector Round Table: Chair, Sector Round Table D: Local network institutions

2. Identification of local actors 5. Analysis of thematic issues



Stakeholder participation

4. Donor harmonisation of procedures and aid coordination mechanisms

Aid coordination mechanism (working groups, annual reviews)?

Contact person/email Contact person/email Contact person/email Year/time frame Contact person/email

Degree of alignment of procurement procedures Strengths

Type of program and scope (budget/basket/ common pool; multi-/sub-sector)

Organisation/Institution Money endorsement Position Money endorsement Main activity

Email address Project Project Project Other details


PRS alignment

Degree of harmonisation of monitoring & evaluation Weaknesses

Involvement in SWAp/PBA Involvement in SWAp/PBA Programme stage (planning, ongoing, etc.)

Involvement in SWAp/PBA

Other details Other details Other details

Special focus (investment, institutional reform?)


About the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development

For more information, see

In December 2003, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (the Platform) was created from a growing consensus among donors that collective action is needed in rural development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Platform seeks to increase the overall effectiveness of aid in rural development. This is in line with the recommendations on harmonisation and alignment put forward by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as the Rome Declaration on Harmonisation and the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectivenes.


Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Department for International Development (DFID), Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), European Union Directorate General for Development (EU-DGD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), French Development Agency (AFD), German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), KfW Entwicklungs bank (KfW), Ministry for Foreign Affairs Austria (MFA), Ministry for Foreign Affairs Finland (MFAF), Ministry of Finance and Economy Italy (MFE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark (MFAD), Ministry of Foreign Affairs France (MAE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Luxemburg (MAE Lu), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Norway (MFAN), Ministry of Foreign Affairs The Netherlands (NMFA), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), The World Bank (WB), United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Members of thE GDPRD


Prepared by Platform Secretariat November 2006

Published by Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, c/o Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Adenauerallee 139-141, 53113 Bonn, Germany Printed by W.B. Druckerei, Hochheim, Germany Photos fairtrade media, Bonn, Germany

Layout Iris Christmann, Wiesbaden, Germany

Paper Printed on special 9Lives photo paper (PaperLinx), certified according to FSC

Contact: Secretariat of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, c/o Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Adenauerallee 139-141, 53113 Bonn, Germany Phone: +49 228 535 3276 and 3699 Fax: +49 228 535 103276 Email: Website: Publication date: November 2006