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Platform Progress Report 2005

prepared by the Platform Secretariat

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Platform at a Glance 2. Platform Chronicles 2003-2005 3. Platform Priorities in 2005 3.1. Advocacy 3.2. Shared learning 3.3. Fostering in-country harmonization and alignment 3.4. Sharpening our organizational profile 4. Platform Plans & Projects in the Pipeline 5. List of publications Appendix A: Background on the in-country facilitation service Appendix B: Budget 1

3 3 5 6 6 7 7 8 9 11 12 15

This first Platform Progress Report aims to provide a compact overview of activities and achievements by the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development in 2005. The report provides the members of the Platform the opportunity to evaluate the work and progress of the Platform and as such provides the basis for further dynamic shaping of this innovative joint initiative. At the same time, the report provides newcomers and prospective members an insight into the Platforms history (see Platform Chronicles, p.5).


The Platform at a Glance

In late 2003, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (the Platform) was created in Bonn, Germany, from the emerging consensus among donors that more coordinated and collective action is required in rural development to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially MDG 1, which is to halve hunger and poverty by 2015. Given that three-quarters of the worlds poor live in the rural areas of developing countries, rural development holds the key to poverty reduction. The Platform is a strategic alliance, composed of 26 donor nations and organizations, development agencies and banks aiming at improving communication and facilitation between donors and partner countries. In essence, it serves as a global learning network between countries as well as between donor head-offices and their field staff. The Platform supports joint donor action with the following three pillars: Pillar 1: Platform members advocate and speak with one voice of the needs and opportunities of the rural poor at international, regional and national events;

Pillar 2: Platform members raise the quality and impact of rural development investments through joint and shared learning, innovation and better practice; Pillar 3: Platform members provide joint in-country support to the harmonisation of procedures and practices in rural development programs as proposed by the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness and Donor Practices (WP-EFF) hosted by the OECD/DAC. Combining these three pillars, the Platform contributes to Achieving the MDGs by bringing rural development back onto the development agenda, and Turning the Paris Declaration on Aid Harmonization into reality by actively improving donor cooperation and coordinated dialogue with partner countries in rural development programs worldwide. The Platforms decision-making body is the Steering Committee, composed by the representatives (called Focal Points) of six of its member organizations. The Platform is presently co-chaired by the Focal Points representing the Federal German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the FAO Investment Centre. The Secretariat of the Platform is located in Bonn, hosted by the BMZ and managed by German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). The Platform promotes its messages through the Focal Points of its member organisations at conferences, through its website (, through publications, pamphlets, brochures and the broad media. The Platforms activities are supported through either financial or in-kind contributions by its members.


Platform Chronicles 2003-2005

2003 December: Establishment of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development at 1st Meeting, Bonn, Germany. Theme: Setting the agenda and objectives of the Platform 2004 March : Rural Week 2004, World Bank, Washington. Theme: Introducing the Platform June: 2nd Platform Meeting, Paris, France. Theme: Establishing a Work Plan December: 3rd Platform Meeting, Bonn, Germany. Theme: Selection of the four Platform pilot countries (Cambodia, Tanzania, Nicaragua and Burkina Faso) 2005 February: Implementation of four assessment studies: Harmonisation and Alignment in Rural Development in Four Pilot Countries March: Rural Week 2005, World Bank, Washington DC. Presentation: The State of Play in Donor Harmonisation and Alignment in Rural Development. Platform invitation to government representatives of the four pilot countries to discuss harmonisation & alignment with donor representatives. April: 4th Platform Meeting, Washington DC. Theme: An action plan for Platform support to in-country harmonization & alignment efforts in the four pilot countries June: 5th Platform Meeting, Paris, France. Theme: Endorsement of the Platform governance charter and creation of the Steering Committee (SC) Platform workshop, Managua, Nicaragua: Harmonisation and Alignment in the Rural Sector in Nicaragua; Drafting of three-year action plan July: Facilitating coordinated dialogue in Burkina Faso towards the formulation of a Program-Based Approach in Agriculture September: 1st Meeting of the Platform Steering Committee, Ottawa, Canada: Action plan for upcoming Platform publications: The Rural Focus of PRSPs, Current Modes of Delivery in the rural sector; Outline for a Joint Donor Rural Concept New publications: -- The Role of Agriculture and Rural Development in Achieving the MDGs: a Joint Donor Narrative, on the occasion of the UN MDG +5 Major Event -- Targeting rural poverty to achieve Millennium Development Goal 1, pamphlet November: 2nd Meeting of the Platform Steering Committee (SC) via videoconference; SC endorses contracting a specialist adviser on Platform communication strategy


Platform Priorities in 2005

Advocacy, shared-learning and in-country harmonization & alignment, publishing Targeting Rural Poverty to Achieve MDG 1 (advocacy pamphlet), The Role of Agriculture and Rural Development in Achieving the MDGs: a joint donor narrative (a 50-page report) and assessment studies on the state-of-play in harmonization & alignment (H&A) in rural development in the four Platform pilot countries; Sharpening its organizational profile, by endorsing a Governance charter, establishing a budget plan (see Annex B) and contracting a communication adviser; Defining and developing its in-country facilitation service by drafting a manual for in-country facilitation and distilling lessons learned (on-going).

In 2005, the Platform focused its attention on:

3.1. Advocacy Publication: Targeting Rural Poverty to Achieve MDG 1 In support of the joint donor narrative, The Role of Agriculture and Rural Development in Achieving the MDGs (see next point), the Platform published an advocacy pamphlet in which it emphasized that achieving MDG 1 means above all investing in rural areas to spearhead dynamic poverty reduction. The Platforms further arguments: Poverty is mainly rural Rural areas are driven by agriculture Investing in rural areas pays off Many more resources are needed The rural poor need a fair chance to help themselves, and a say in what is done.

3.2. Shared learning Publication: The Role of Agriculture and Rural Development in Achieving the MDGs -- a joint donor narrative The Platform commissioned a review of various documents prepared individually by its members for the UN MDG +5 Major Event in September, 2005, on the role of agriculture and rural development in achieving the MDGs. The result was a condensed narrative providing a joint donor statement highlighting and critically discussing the role of agriculture, an integral part of rural development, for achieving the MDGs.

3.3. Fostering in-country harmonization & alignment Publication: Assessment Study on Harmonization & Alignment in Rural Development in four pilot countries The Platform selected four pilot countries, Cambodia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Nicaragua, in order to assess the current state of H&A in rural development with four individual country studies. These studies took stock of current achievements, opportunities and constraints to H&A in rural development, and identified possible approaches and actions for the Platform to help improve H&A, both in the rural sector worldwide and specifically in the pilot countries. The first assessment showed it is difficult to move from dialogue about H&A principles to actually putting them into practice. In order to actually achieve tangible progress, old habits still have to be replaced with authentic H&A actions by both government and donor agencies. The Paris Declaration of February, 2005, on aid effectiveness has brought definite improvement and awareness in all four countries, among government and donors alike, of the challenges and importance (and in some cases, urgency) of promoting and achieving greater H&A at the operational level. However, the extent of adherence to the necessary practices of H&A, such as improved information-sharing and knowledge management, joint country-strategy planning and implementation, varies from country to country. 7

The complex arrangement of government structures involved in rural development in all four countries also results in dilution of capacity and sector leadership, increased transaction costs, as well as inadequate coordination among concerned bodies (government, partners, private sector etc.). There is a need to simplify the government institutional framework in rural development in order to improve capacity, ownership, coordination and leadership. This streamlining is essential to provide an enabling environment for development partners H&A. In the short-term, there will be a transitional period to a new way of doing business in government-donor interactions. There needs to be enough flexibility, transparency and dialogue in the system to enable donors to foster trust and to converge toward a common framework of H&A and operational actions in rural development. Based on these first assessment studies, the Platform started developing its external facilitation service to support to the transformation process (see Annex A for more background details).


Sharpening our organizational profile:

On the request of some members, the Platform Secretariat proposed a Governance Charter to its members, which was finalised in coordination with all member organizations Focal Points at the Platforms first Annual Meeting in Paris, June 17, 2005. The Charter lays out the role of Chair, Steering Committee and Secretariat as well as the membership principles, eligible expenditures, reporting and auditing arrangements and funding procedures. The Steering Committee (SC) is the decision-making body of the Platform. The SC is composed by the Focal Points from six Platform members who pay a minimum annual contribution of 50,000 Euros. The members are CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency), DFID (Department for International Development), BMZ (Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), EU (European Union) and the World Bank. The Steering Committee met twice in 2005, once in Ottawa, Canada, on the invitation of the Focal Point of CIDA, and once by 8

videoconference. The Steering Committee meets now at regular intervals of six weeks, mainly by videoconference. Until 2007, the Platform will be co-chaired by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and FAO Investment Centre (FAO-TCI). From then on, the chairperson(s) will be elected by the Steering Committee every two years on a rotational basis. The Platform Secretariat, while hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Bonn, is managed by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). The Secretariat consists of one full-time Coordinator, one part-time Senior Coordinator and a part-time financial adviser. The Platform Secretariat published a budget plan for the first time for activities in 2006, detailing contributions, expenditures and budgeted activities of the Platform (see Annex B). A communication adviser was hired on a short-term basis at the end of 2005 to further sharpen the Platforms mission and to develop a professional communication strategy for the Platform (see more under Plans& Projects in the Pipeline, below).


Plans & Projects in the Pipeline for 2006

For 2006, the Platform will maintain its progress towards establishing itself as an efficient, well-coordinated multi-donor initiative in rural development, while sticking to its original founding motto: Keep it lean and simple. Given the increased visibility and recognition of the Platforms work as well as the increased demand on the Platform Secretariat to coordinate activities and ensure quality is maintained, the Steering Committee has decided to contract a rural development specialist to support the Secretariat in 2006. The hiring process will start in early 2006.

The Platform has also put the following products and projects in the pipeline: The new modes of delivery in rural development under the new aid architecture (working title); Platform study to be led by FAO The Rural Focus of Poverty Reduction Strategies; Platform study to be led by IFAD, in cooperation with NORAD, GTZ and FAO A Joint Donor Rural Concept, a collaborative effort by members to draw up a set of concordant as well as contentious issues in rural development; to be led by the Platform Secretariat. Development of a communication strategy to sharpen the Platforms advocacy work and to present professionally its outputs as a global public good. Further shaping and a start to monitoring our facilitation work in pilot countries and to promote lessons learned and best practices. Strengthening the role of its Focal Points as advocates for rural development in their member institutions. Intensifying cooperation with other like-minded initiatives such as LENPA (Learning Network for Program Based Approaches), TerrAfrica, NEPAD etc. The Platform Secretariat is looking forward to continuing the excellent cooperation its has enjoyed so far with Platform members and to work further towards to the common goal of improved donor cooperation and coordinated dialogue with partner countries in rural development. ___________________________________



List of publications

Targeting Rural Poverty to Achieve Millennium Development Goal 1 Advocacy pamphlet; September, 2005

The Role of Agriculture and Rural Development in Achieving the MDGs -- a joint donor narrative 50-page report; September, 2005

Assessment Study on Harmonization & Alignment in Rural Development in four pilot countries 88-page working paper; March, 2005

Improving donor collaboration for rural development Background note; March, 2004 Please see our website for full documents



Annex A
Background on in-country facilitation services In 2004, the two Focal Points of BMZ and DFID presented the objectives of the Global Donor Platforms work during World Banks Rural Week 2004 in Washington DC. They said the Platforms most ambitious aim is to foster collaborative efforts in rural development among donors and partners alike at country level. These efforts include joint donor support to national rural strategies, harmonization of procedures and donor alignment practices in the context of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness and Donor Practices (WP-EFF) hosted by the OECD/DAC (Paris Declaration), joint monitoring of impact and coordinated programming and implementation. The Platform has taken an innovative approach to translating the principles of the Paris Declaration into reality. This requires a careful and sensitive entry into a conscious process of change. In 2005, the Platform defined its facilitation service through a learning-by-doing approach in four pilot countries (Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Cambodia). This defining process is on-going. The facilitation service by the Platform is delivered at the request of partners and donors in rural development in the individual countries and adapted to each countrys needs and priorities and to the harmonization & alignment agenda already being enacted there. The Platform finances and coordinates inputs from appropriate experts. As a service to participating countries and donors, the Platform will commission a set of related studies to distil lessons of good practice and to provide a global public good for other countries (see Projects in the pipeline, p. 9 of this Progress Report). For Nicaragua, where the Platform facilitation service for the implementation of a rural SWAp has been going on since September, 2005, monthly progress reports have been prepared by the two facilitators (national and international). Throughout 2005, the Platform followed closely the emerging harmonization & alignment efforts by donors and partners in the land 12

sector in Cambodia as well as the agricultural sector in Burkina Faso. The Platform will embark on its facilitation services in early 2006 to these two pilot countries, after careful preparation and in close collaboration with the respective coordination bodies. Tanzania, as the fourth pilot country selected by the Platform members, saw a change of government at the end of 2005. The Platform has been advised by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture to hold back its engagement until the new government has settled in. The Platform is monitoring the situation closely and will resume its activities as soon as advised by Tanzanias development partners in agriculture Characteristics The Platforms facilitation service is 100 % demand-driven, and the approach taken in each country is elaborated in close cooperation with the respective development partners. The processing of the lessons learned, however, as well as their dissemination among other countries, is done by the Platform. The definition of facilitation is to make something easy or easier to do or achieve. A facilitator helps find solutions without imposing or dictating answers. Facilitators encourage others and help them develop and accomplish more by listening, questioning, framing problems and reflecting in a supportive way. The facilitator provided is hired by the Platform in consultation with the in-country development partners, and paid by the Platform. The facilitator is an independent, external advisor with practical experience in the preparation and implementation of Programme-Based Approaches (PBAs). As he/she is not a staff member of one donor organisation, nor is paid by one, he/she is not influenced by the opinion or interest of one individual donor, which guarantees a high level of credibility with partners.


The service of the Platform therefore provides back-up and security for individual donor and government representatives when getting involved in PBA design. The involvement of the Platform constitutes a link between donor headquarters and its incountry staff, mainstreaming individual HQ global policies with sectoral and operational strategies and requirements at countrylevel. The Platform is not a stakeholder in the process. The Platform is neither responsible for the quality and contents of the PBA nor for the modalities and procedures agreed upon by development partners. Hence the Platform is not another actor. The Platform facilitator is not a consultant on the implementation of PBAs or SWAps and therefore does not offer any concrete advice on how to implement the Programme. The impact of the Platform is measured by the quality of the process, which is to be evaluated by all development partners in the country. It is important to note that the Platform does not finance core operational expenses of country programmes. Such expenses are to be funded through the financial and human resources of government institutions and donors in the country. However, the Platform covers its direct costs of getting involved (e.g. facilitator, travel, workshops, training, and feedback into its global learning network). These costs are agreed individually on a case-by-case basis and depend on the scope of work and the availability of resources. In its facilitation service, the Platform adheres to the basic principles as laid out in the Paris Declaration, the overarching document for the Platforms in-country work. While an intensified coordination process among actors clearly takes time and extra resources, as well as knowledge of the new methods of aid delivery, the added value of the Platform facilitation services lies in the reduction of its members transaction costs. ___________________________________ 14

Annex B Annual Financial Report for the Platform Expenditures in 2005

1st January to 31st December 2005


Total Annual in Euro

Total Annual in Euro

Project Staff Costs: Int. staff (inclusive of travels, taxes, social security..) National staff in Nicaragua
318.644,3 1.916,3

1. Sub-total GDPRD Project Staff


Consultancy Costs: International Consultants Local Consultants

124.582,6 11.977,1

2. Consultancy Costs:


Procurement Procurement Secretariat Bonn Procurement Nicaragua 3. Sub-total Procurement

8.277,1 3.331,7 11.608,8

Operational expenses Country Operations Nicaragua Training and Capacity building Administrational Cost Nicaragua, Cambodia, Burkina Financial Management Other operational costs (Workshops)
2541,6 6.654,7 1.694,0 3.894,0 20.176,7

4. Sub-total Operational Costs Subtotal all costs (I - 4)

34.961,0 503.690,0

local taxes, social security, GTZ overhead costs (13%) Total costs of Project

65.479,7 569.169,7


Every human being is entitled to live in dignity with adequate food, shelter, education and health. The rural poor are denied that fundamental right. Basic human rights are being violated and individual and collective potential to act on their own behalf is not being recognized. Unless action is taken to reduce poverty by increasing agricultural productivity, the prospects for economic and social development will be lost. Hunger spawns social and political instability, rising crime, civil war and terrorism, and environmental destruction.

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 Fax: + 49 228 535 4276 Email: Website:

Members of the Platform: French Development Agency (AFD), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Department for International Development UK (DFID), Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), European Commission- DG Development (EC), Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Interamerican Development Bank (IADB), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Italian Ministry of Finance and Economy (MFE), KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW), Ministry of Foreign Affairs France (MAE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Luxemburg (MAE Lu), Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Finland (MFAF), Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Austria (MFA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Norway (MFAN), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark (MFAD), Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Netherlands (NMFA), Ministry of Foreign AffairsNorway (MFAN), 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)