Aid Performance and Climate Change at DIIS in Copenhagen

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On 25 September 2017, Julian joined about 40 participants at a seminar on Aid Performance and Climate Change at the Danish Institute for Development Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was both a book launch and an opportunity for discussion of the topics raised, led by Helle Munk Ravnborg and Ole Winckler Andersen of DIIS, and Mike Speirs of Danida.  Questions from the audience covered topics such as gender equity and social inclusion, policy evolution, the connectedness criterion, the universal applicability of evaluation criteria, innovation and transformative change, and the accountability of development decisions.  Lack of time meant that Julian sometimes had to say things like “See Chapter Eight”, but it was a good afternoon!

Comments by Mike Speirs (Senior Adviser/Evaluation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs):  “Julian Caldecott has written a very interesting book, taking a comprehensive approach to examine two of the vital issues of our time: how to use the financial flows (aid investments) to achieve the best possible outcomes for human development and for nature (the biosphere); and how to effectively mitigate global GHG emissions while adapting to the impacts of climate change (temperature increases, extreme events, etc.).  The arguments and observations are driven by an impressive desire to understand ‘what works, what doesn’t and why.’ We certainly need these insights in order to do development better. We also need to think more about the scale of collective behavioural change required to ‘make peace with nature.’ … Perhaps the book’s most important contribution is to apply rigorous analysis and a set of criteria for evaluating both design quality and the performance of investments.  … An important step was taken in 2015 with the submission of over 180 (I)NDCs to the UNFCCC. These commitments are to be followed up in terms of policies and measures to reduce emissions and increase resilience. Could progress on these ‘nationally determined contributions’ (NDCs) be the subject of Julian’s next book?  Anyway, consensus urgently needs to be reached on measures to encourage carbon pricing, massive investment in renewables, low carbon transport, disinvestment in the fossil fuel sector, climate smart agricultural practices, etc. In other words as Julian says: it is time examine ‘the universe of ideas and practices which a reinvented global economy will have to inhabit’.”

Comments by Helle Munk Ravnborg (Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies): “Today we have a rare guest…. Or should I rather say a rare type of guest, namely a development cooperation practitioner with a vision … It is not every day that you come across a book on highly technical matters such as the use of aid performance scoring indicators which also includes a vision for what the world will look like in 2085 after the mid-century ecological and governance collapse …”.

Comments by Ole Winckler Andersen (Senior Analyst, Danish Institute for International Studies): “I am a strong supporter of synthesis studies and the focus on learning. Many new evaluations have been started without considering the conclusions of already completed evaluations. In particular in relation to SDGs, global public goods and more complex interventions it is important to learn. A lot of work has gone into the book, which covers 50 evaluations and contributes to ongoing discussions about sustainability financing. Its key message is about how to evaluate international public goods, which is a subject of much debate, and the book is strongly recommended as a contribution to this.”