By Soyeun Kim, University of Leeds & Re-shaping Development Institute, S. Korea.

“Over 2,000 delegates are reviewing global progress in improving the impact and Value for Money of development aid” (emphasis added, official HLF4 website).

The preoccupation with results and Value for Money (VfM) has been increasingly visible among the traditional aid circle in recent years. With the economic/financial difficulties at home and the media frenzy on emerging powers (e.g. China’s resource-backed development projects in Africa), the combined considerations of economy, efficiency and effectiveness seem to have gained greater kudos. Indeed, as the quote above highlights, VfM’s firm presence in Busan HLF4 was highlighted by its frequent appearance in various documents/statements from building block sessions to side events.  Yet, in the outcome document, VfM is only mentioned once while results 24 times, effectiveness 15 times, and impact 8 times. Indeed, this observation, although cursory, throws up various…

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