Are results-based approaches the key to implementing the 2030 Agenda in development cooperation?

    A total of $132 billion was spent on official development assistance (ODA) worldwide in 2015. While this funding merely supplements other initiatives supporting the achievement of the SDGs in areas such as financial, trade and taxation policy, it still needs to be used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

    Results-based approaches (RBAs) are one of the main new ideas in the development cooperation debate in recent years. The underlying concept, namely that development cooperation should be used as a means for directly rewarding quantifiable and verifiable development results, is as simple as it is revolutionary. For example, disbursements would be linked to the number of students with school leaving certificates or the number of medically assisted births. A pre-agreed sum of money would be paid out per unit of the intended result (e.g., for each additional student with a school leaving certificate) once it has been achieved. Such a financing mechanism could provide completely different incentives for all actors. This approach represents a radical departure from traditional development cooperation that finances inputs (construction of new schools, etc.) and processes (a new education strategy, etc.).

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