Understand the Existing Ecosystem Guides

This Framework describes USAID’s overarching approach to transforming innovations and reforms into sustained development. Drawing upon USAID’s experience, established good practice and systems thinking, this Framework places local systems at the center of all our efforts to promote sustainability.

The focus on local systems is rooted in the reality that achieving and sustaining any development outcome depends on the contributions of multiple and interconnected actors. Building the capacity of a single actor or strengthening a single relationship is insufficient. Rather, the focus must be on the system as a whole: the actors, their interrelationships and the incentives that guide them. Realizing improved development outcomes emanates from increasing the performance of multiple actors and the effectiveness of their interactions. And sustaining development outcomes depends on the sustainability of the local system—specifically, its built-in durability and adaptability that allows actors and their interrelationships to accommodate shocks and respond to changing circumstances.


The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

The Busan Partnership document specifically highlights a set of common principles for all development actors that are key to making development cooperation effective. 

• Ownership of development priorities by developing counties: Countries should define the development model that they want to implement.
• A focus on results: Having a sustainable impact should be the driving force behind investments and efforts in development policy making
• Partnerships for development: Development depends on the participation of all actors, and recognises the diversity and complementarity of their functions.
• Transparency and shared responsibility: Development cooperation must be transparent and accountable to all citizens

These principles are recognised and accepted by all those involved in development co-operation, from donor and recipient country governments to providers of south-south cooperation, international organisations, civil society, parliamentarians and local government. The wide participation of a range of actors with differentiated responsibilities and shared goals is one of the notable characteristics of this partnership.


The Ecosystem of U.S. International Development Assistance

The CSIS Project on Prosperity and Development convened a broad working group of development implementers, former and current policymakers, and other practitioners to discuss the evolving role of U.S. development implementers under the new USAID Forward agenda and how to achieve aid effectiveness. The working group met three times to discuss local capacity building; results, accountability, and transparency; and development effectiveness. These meetings, combined with extensive interviews, led to the conclusion that the current U.S. ecosystem of international development assistance should be treated as a strategic asset that plays an important role in meeting U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. This system, while imperfect, delivers a level of accountability and transparency for the U.S. government that is vital to continued political support for foreign assistance. Significant risks are associated with USAID’s proposed reforms, which, if fully implemented, may not achieve the results desired. This report’s recommendations are designed to help development implementers do more to meet the changing nature of how the U.S. government sees development and the broader trends in the field.