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Constituency Development Funds Workshop - page 5 / 13





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large. This universe includes executive agencies, offices of prime ministers, parliaments, locally based service providers, local and regional government, constituencies, contractors, financial institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and national and international donors. A great deal remains to be learned about the diverse paths these actors take to become stakeholders in the development of policy towards CDF, in decisions about the kinds of projects in which to invest, the manner in which tenders are awarded, the type of oversight practiced, the degree of transparency in the policy process. Beyond anecdotes and a handful of case studies, the manner in which policy is made on CDFs remains virgin soil.

Among the questions that were raised about policymaking on CDFs in Albany were: how do legislative institutions organize themselves to address the issue of distributive allocations? How much staff is dedicated to addressing these issues? How much time do individual MPs spend on CDFs as opposed to other types of constituency-based politics and other types of issues? Why do some issues seem ripe for treatment by CDFs as opposed to a more traditional administrative or policy process? Do CDFs substitute for other forms of ongoing service delivery and administration? The workshop concluded that there is a great deal to learn about how policies towards CDF are formulated and implemented.

Administration: Implementation, Oversight and Development

The workshop’s discussion raised a host of questions on the implementation of CDFs that demonstrated the absence of generally accepted principles, tools and templates of administration and implementation of this quickly evolving phenomenon. For example, it is not known whether or when the direct disbursement of funds for CDFs is a more effective model than the indirect disbursement of funds. When funds are broadly distributed in block grants that win general support, CDFs can become part of the budget cycle. But there remain many unanswered, if simple, questions of who exactly receives the funds, what type of projects get built, are their clearly stated and well-publicized principles for allocative equity and efficiency, or for procurement and accounting.

Discussion also turned to the way in which the administration of CDFs affects legislative- executive relations and the balance of power between branches of government. The workshop asked how large a role CDFs should play in development administration. At what point and under which conditions could CDFs damage executive–legislative relations or center-provincial-local relations? How can Ministries contribute to the formulation and administration of CDFs? Will CDFs compete with Ministries in service delivery? Will CDFs add to the burdens upon Ministries through fiscal illusions? Or will CDFs ease the administrative burdens on ministries with well-placed implementation of projects that reflect the priorities of local communities? Do CDFs play a fundamental, distributive role that is perceived as more equitable than budgetary disbursements under the control of the executive/administration – or how can a balance be struck between central-administrative and political-local means of identifying and implementing development projects?


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