The LHI Action Plan calls for a Working Group composed of representatives from the African Development Bank, AusAID, Italy, Japan, the Nordic Plus Group and the World Bank to work on the following action points:
Rapid Response Mechanism. Set up a rapid response mechanism among senior lawyers and policy advisers in all agencies to facilitate quick resolution of issues regarding shared model documentation for joint operations, as well as Multi-Donor Trust Funds.
Draft Statement of Principles and Inventory of Issues. Develop a zero draft joint statement of principles on the use of shared model documentation for joint operations, and prepare an inventory of issues that need to be addressed, for submission at Accra.
Development of Shared Model Documentation. Together with the LHI community, begin review of the Nordic Plus template and sharing of other existing model documentation with LHI participants, based on the inventory of issues, with the aim of developing shared model documentation for use in joint operations, with built-in flexibility to accommodate the needs of parties in a wide variety of situations.
Proposed Workshop: Background Materials: Sample MOUs
- Bangladesh - Partnership Arrangements Concerning Support for the Implementation of the Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Programme (HNPSP)
- Cambodia - Joint Partnership Arrangement Concerning Common Arrangements for Joint Support to the Health Strategic Plan 2008-2015
- Ethiopia - Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Pooled Fund Support for the Public Sector Capacity Building Program (2004-2009)
- Ghana - Memorandum of Understanding for the Implementation of the Ghana National Medium-Term Private Sector Development Strategy and Action Plan 2005-2009
- India - Memorandum of Understanding for India Elementary Education Project (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan)
- Nepal - Joint Financing Arrangement for Education for All 2004-2005
- Sierra Leone - Memorandum of Understanding - Partnership Framework for Joint Budget Support for the Poverty Reduction Strategy
- Tanzania - Partnership Framework Memorandum Governing General Budget Support (GBS) for Implementation of Mkukuta
- Ghana - Framework Memorandum of Understanding: Multi-donor Sector Budget Support for the Natural Resources and Environmental Governance Programme (NREG)
- Mozambique - Memorandum of Understanding on the Provision of General Budget Support
First Meeting: Summary of Conclusions
The Working Group held its first meeting on July 9, 2008 by audio/video conference.
Prior to the meeting, guidance materials and templates for various forms of cooperation, notably joint financing and delegated cooperation were gathered from the Nordic Plus, the European Union and the United Nations, and distributed to Working Group members and the rest of the LHI community. Working Group members made a preliminary review of these materials and provided each other with comments.
During the meeting, the Working Group engaged in a discussion of issues and agreed upon the following conclusions:
1. Focus initially on the threshold substantive issues that need to be addressed before beginning to formulate common guidance or a template, which include:
- Identifying the key differences in mandates, policies and practices amongst the institutions and deciding how to address these differences
- Developing a common vocabulary
- Identifying the typologies of modalities for aid provision and cooperation, and how these typologies impact the provision of aid
- Other technical and procedural issues, including the criteria for the use of joint documentation and its legal status
2. The fundamental issue that needs to be addressed concerns policies and practices: What differences remain among the institutions? Should further harmonization and alignment be attempted before agreeing on common guidance or should flexibility be build in to accommodate these differences? At which point are the differences so significant to preclude a common approach?
3. Focus on developing operational guidance after addressing these threshold issues. The development of a common template is a medium-term goal.
4. The next step is the development of the inventory of issues, which will be shared with the larger LHI community. It would be premature at this point to attempt to develop a common set of good practice principles.
5. Focus first on joint financing arrangements and, thereafter, on delegated cooperation. Delegated cooperation requires an even higher degree of harmonization and alignment.
6. A presentation on the LHI will be made at the Accra High-Level Forum to provide a basic introduction to the LHI and its objectives. Harmonization and alignment through legal means is mentioned in the draft Accra Agenda for Action which, if adopted, will give the LHI a solid political mandate to continue its work.
7. The Rapid Response Mechanism for dealing with issues surrounding joint financing and multi-donor trust funds is ready and remains to be put into operation.
Second Meeting: Summary of Conclusions
The Working Group held its second meeting on December 11, 2008 by audio/video conference.
Review of Matrix of DP Policies and Instruments. The participants reviewed a matrix comparing the key policies and instruments of development partners relevant to joint financing operations, and agreed that the matrix would be a useful starting point for the task of developing a joint guidance note, as it would help the Working Group identify commonalities and differences in their policies, which would in turn allow for a structured, in depth discussion of policy, legal and technical issues. Working Group members agreed to provide, if they had not already done so, their inputs to the matrix.
Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM). Consensus was reached to keep the RRM informal until common guidance to which legal and policy focal points could refer has been developed. For now, contact information for focal points should only be shared among LHI participants and the focal points themselves.
Interim Measures. In the interim, to help facilitate the negotiation of joint financing arrangements and thereby reduce transaction costs, NORAD, SIDA and the World Bank agreed to share with the Working Group a list of the standard exceptions they require when negotiating memoranda of understanding (MOU) and similar joint documents.