Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 05/2012

The Quality of Official Development Assistance Assessment 2009: Is Aid Quality Improving?

Nancy Birdsall, Homi Kharas, Rita Perakis

April 2012

Center for Global Development


This report presents the results of the second edition of the Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA) assessment, with a focus on the changes that have occurred in donor performance since the first edition. These results were released in summary form in November, 2011, just before the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea.1 QuODA is a quantitative assessment and ranking of donors’ performance according to four dimensions of aid quality (maximizing efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing the burden on recipient countries, and transparency and learning). These four dimensions reflect international effectiveness standards and can be interpreted as measures of “high-quality” aid. In the last decade, the official aid community has put increasing emphasis on improving the quality as well as the quantity of aid. The standards of good practice for donors and partner countries were defined in the Paris Declaration of 2005, which was signed by all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as well as developing country aid recipients, and were reaffirmed in the Busan Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in 2011 by DAC members, aid recipients, and several new emerging market donors. These standards have also evolved from a growing set of mutual accountability reviews between donors and partner countries, and as a result of academic research. Like the first edition, this second edition of QuODA addresses the question, How are donors doing on the commitments that they have made to improving aid quality?