ICAI reports on the Conflict Pool and Asian Development Bank

Published: 13th July 2012

Two reports from the body responsible for scrutinising UK aid, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), have been published today. They are:

These reports cover two different parts of the aid budget. The Conflict Pool brings together the Department for International Development (DFID), the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in an attempt to develop a coherent approach to conflict prevention across the globe. The Asian Development Bank, on the other hand, is one of several multilateral development banks with which DFID works to alleviate poverty in specific regions of the world.

Evaluation of the Inter-Departmental Conflict Pool

The Conflict Pool funds activities that contribute to peacekeeping overseas and support conflict prevention and stabilisation. The ICAI report finds that, while the Conflict Pool has proven effective at supporting worthwhile conflict prevention initiatives and has delivered some useful results, it lacks a clear strategic framework and robust funding model.

  • Overall rating: Amber-Red.
  • A clear framework should be developed identifying how the strategy will integrate defence, diplomacy and development into a multidisciplinary approach to conflict prevention.
  • To maximise its impact, the Conflict Pool should match its funding model to its specific objectives, taking different approaches to its partner organisations based on their size.
  • The Conflict Pool should develop a new monitoring and evaluation system, with better, real-time assessment of the outcomes of specific projects.
  • By 2015-16, the three departments should simplify the management structure for the implementation of Conflict Pool activities, while retaining a tri-departmental approach to strategy setting and funding allocation.

The Effectiveness of DFID’s Engagement with the Asian Development Bank

DFID is a 2% shareholder in the ADB. Over the past five years it has contributed £175 million to the ADB’s Asian Development Fund for lending and grants to low income countries and £337 million to co-financed projects and trust funds. The ICAI report finds that DFID’s support is delivering benefits for the poor and has promoted a focus on areas such as inclusive growth, gender, climate change and operational effectiveness. DFID’s performance as a shareholder provides assurance that money is spent well and as intended but its performance as a co-financier could be improved.

  • Overall rating: Green-Amber
  • As a shareholder, DFID has a positive influence on ADB strategy but this has yet to result in ADB achieving its own impact targets. DFID should continue to work with the Bank to help improve the outcomes of its projects.
  • Whilst DFID’s co-financed projects are delivering substantial results on the ground, many have not fully achieved their planned objectives because DFID does not always give sufficient attention to managing projects in country.
  • DFID should concentrate its influence on improving the impact of ADB and ADF projects. Better outcomes will be achieved by strengthening the project management cycle, in particular through improving design, increasing real-time monitoring and improving evaluation follow-up.

Graham Ward, ICAI Chief Commissioner said: “The Conflict Pool has proved effective at identifying and supporting worthwhile conflict prevention initiatives. Nonetheless, it is struggling to demonstrate real impact. The governance and management arrangements for administering the Pool are cumbersome and it has little capacity for measuring results.” 

“Our report shows that DFID’s support for the Asian Development Bank is delivering real benefits for the poor. DFID should, however, be clearer about when and how to work with the Bank.”

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Clare Robathan on 020 7270 6734 or

c-robathan@icai.independent.gov.uk.

The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) is the independent body responsible for scrutinising UKaid. We focus on maximising the effectiveness of the UKaid budget for intended beneficiaries and on delivering value for money for UKtaxpayers. For further details on ICAI, the workplan and for links to each report please visit www.independent.gov.uk/icai.

ICAI’s Chief Commissioner isGraham WardCBE. The three other Commissioners are: Mark Foster, John Githongo and Diana Good. Their biographies can be found on the ICAI website.

These reports were prepared by ICAI with the assistance of KPMG LLP, Agulhas Applied Knowledge,Center ofEvaluationfor Global Action (CEGA) and the Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU International).