South Sudan: Prospects for Peace and Development - International Development Committee Contents

5  The role of international donors

59. Total committed Official Development Assistance (ODA) to South Sudan in 2010 was approximately £735m, including reported humanitarian funds.[107] Most assistance is provided by relatively few donors: data published by the Government of South Sudan (GRSS) suggests that 84% of financial assistance in 2010 was provided by 12 main donors (Table 5).[108] DFID was the second largest bilateral donor, spending about £60m that year.[109] The USA was the largest donor (£202m) and the EU also spent a significant amount (£64m).

60. DFID spent about three quarters of its money in 2010 through pooled funds and multi-donor trust funds. This includes money spent through multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations (UN).[110] The use of pooled funds varies significantly amongst donors: the USA, for example, provides all assistance bilaterally.

Table 5: Top 12 donors to South Sudan in 2010
Donor country Total 2010 expenditure (£) % Funding to Pooled Funds
1USA[111] 202m0%
2European Union[112] 64m19%
3UK[113] 60m80%
4Norway 46m45%
5Netherlands 42m68%
6Canada 25m37%
7Denmark 19m10%
8Sweden 17m60%
9Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria 15m0%
10Japan 12m0%
11Spain 11m65%
12Germany 6m18%
Other donors 96m

Source: GRSS, South Sudan Donor Book 2011; DFID (Ev 102)

61. In this Chapter, we explore the performance of the key multilateral donors in South Sudan to which the UK contributes money—the UN, the World Bank and the European Union (EU)—and the extent of leadership and co-ordination between the many bilateral and multilateral donors.

Key multilateral donors


62. The UN is by far the most established multilateral actor in South Sudan. It aims to spend a total of £700m on development and humanitarian assistance in 2012 and 2013.[114] DFID currently plans to disburse about £50m through UN development and humanitarian agencies over those two years (7% of the UN's desired total). The UN will spend a further £456m on its peacekeeping force, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).[115] We discuss UNMISS separately in Chapter 6.

63. We heard contrasting evidence about the UN's development and humanitarian work in South Sudan to date. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has achieved some successes, such as its support to South Sudan's referendum process during 2010 and 2011. DFID disbursed a total of £33m through UNDP in 2011-12.[116] DFID said that the UNDP has "strong leadership" at the senior level, but had been "operating under capacity for some time", risked "overstretch" and had at times "overpromised and struggled to deliver". [117] This reinforced some views expressed to us on our visit that the UNDP wanted to be involved in too many sectors. We were also told during our visit that the UN had been pressing upon the GRSS that it should be considered the main donor in South Sudan.

64. The UNDP-administered Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF)—created in 2006 to provide "flexible and predictable" humanitarian assistance—has been subject to particular criticism. DFID is the largest donor to the CHF, contributing almost half (£24 million) of CHF funding allocated to South Sudan in 2011.[118] In evidence, Dr Sara Pantuliano said that the CHF had posed a "significant hindrance" to the ability of NGOs to operate effectively, for instance by disbursing funds to NGOs before the rainy season when it was extremely difficult to operate.[119] The NGO Tearfund shared this view, although we note that some NGOS say that the administration of the CHF has improved of late.

65. In evidence, the Minister acknowledged the UNDP had a "bit of a plus and minus record" in South Sudan. But DFID expects to contribute £30 million to the new round of CHF during 2012 and 2013.[120]


66. The World Bank has a small but expanding presence in South Sudan.[121] Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Bank has administered the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for South Sudan (MDTF), which has funded 20 projects in ten sectors. As of September 2011, $453 million (£286 million, 84%) was disbursed of the total $541 million (£340 million) committed to the MDTF. DFID's contribution was $132m (£83 million).[122] All MDTF projects will be completed by June 2012.

67. The MDTF has achieved some successes in South Sudan: it has provided 2.8 million primary school textbooks and helped to build nearly 1,500kms of road and a water, sanitation and solid waste system serving 250,000 people in Juba.[123] However, as documented in previous reviews,[124] including our February 2011 report on the World Bank,[125] and reiterated in our evidence,[126] the MDTF has been over-bureaucratic and slow to disburse funds to NGOs. A joint NGO report described it as the "slowest and most bureaucratic" of all funds.[127] Dr Pantuliano told us that the MDTF's problems stemmed from the imposition by the World Bank of a "completely inappropriate" funding model to the South Sudanese context. She explained that the World Bank usually operated in more stable settings, working with governments with greater capacity than in South Sudan. We also heard that the World Bank had experienced difficulties deploying suitably qualified staff to South Sudan, which had contributed to delays, although this problem had now been remedied.[128]

68. DFID has had "concerns about the performance of the [MDTF], particularly in the education sector".[129] The Minister asserted, however, that he still had confidence in the World Bank—which was an "important partner"—because the problems with the MDTF had been "sufficiently well recognised for the lessons to be learned and applied".[130] But Dr Pantuliano argued that there was "little indication" that either the World Bank or UN-administered funds would be "any better in the new iteration".[131] We note that DFID has no current plans to channel additional bilateral funds through the World Bank in South Sudan.[132]


69. The EU established a development presence in Sudan in 2005, following a 15-year suspension from the country. Since then the EU has spent about €300m (£250m) on development assistance to Southern Sudan.[133] It has also provided a further €87m (£73m) since 2010 to assist Southern Sudanese people affected by conflict. We visited a €1.7m (£1.4m) EU livelihoods project in Eastern Equatoria, which trained local people in carpentry, tailoring and other skills, and provided support to farmers, including cassava cultivation.

70. The EU has recently opened a full delegation in Juba and is likely to play an increasingly important role in South Sudan. It will spend €200m (£166m) on the development of the country from 2011 to 2013, focussing on the rural development, health, education, and security and rule of law sectors.[134] South Sudan is one of two pilot countries where "joint programming" is taking place.[135] This means that EU funds will be programmed together with additional financial assistance from EU Member States. The aim is to reduce the GRSS's transaction costs of engaging with both the EU and Member States.[136] We will cover joint programming in our upcoming Report on EU Development Assistance.

71. The EU has been criticised for delays in scaling up its delegation in Juba which has made it difficult for it to disburse funds efficiently. As of March 2012, it had 18 vacancies in an expected office of 27 people. The office is not expected to be fully staffed until summer 2012.[137] In evidence, Mr Stephen O'Brien MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, said it was "very important" that the UK used its position as a Member State to ensure the EU is "getting its act together by matching resources with staff on the ground". The UK, he said, had "repeatedly asked" the EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, to ensure the EU delegation was "fully staffed". During our visit to Brussels in February 2011, a senior official from the European External Action Service told us that the delays were due to human resource issues and budgeting constraints.

72. It is hugely disappointing that the effectiveness of UK taxpayers' money has been diminished through the World Bank's problems in administering the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) in Southern Sudan. We recognise, however, that the MDTF has achieved some positive results. Given DFID's record in Southern Sudan as an effective donor and as leader of the successful Basic Services Fund, we have reservations about the extent to which DFID should continue to channel bilateral aid through the World Bank in South Sudan. We believe that the Secretary of State for International Development should ask the UK's Executive Director to press for the Bank's board to consider the problems experienced by the MDTF and how to overcome them.

73. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has a mixed record in South Sudan. The UNDP's administration of the Common Humanitarian Fund hindered the work of some NGOs in Southern Sudan, although the Fund is now operating better. DFID will continue to channel money through the UNDP on a variety of projects and it must monitor how effectively this money is spent. We are also concerned that the UNDP is overstretched and seeking involvement in too many sectors.

74. We urge the Government to press the EU authorities to scale up their office in Juba as a matter of priority. We are concerned that the EU's slow speed in recruiting staff in South Sudan may delay the delivery of important development projects on the ground and hinder the combined development and humanitarian efforts of the international donor community.

Donor co-ordination

75. Donor co-ordination mechanisms in South Sudan are still at an early stage of their evolution, although there are some examples of good practice. The Joint Donor Office (including Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and UK) was established in 2006 and has common office in Juba.[138] The office, which we visited, comprises technical experts whose role is to provide policy advice, coordination, and liaison with the GRSS, as well as oversight of pooled funds and other joint donor activities. The range of pooled funding mechanisms in South Sudan, such as DFID's Basic Services Fund, were cited by witnesses as another example of effective co-ordination between donors. These had helped NGOs and civil society actors "avoid duplication and manage gaps in service provision".[139] Importantly, the GRSS is also increasingly proactive in attempting to co-ordinate the large amount of overseas assistance that South Sudan receives from donors. For instance, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has recently published an aid strategy and a donor book.

76. DFID told us that the UK "works closely" with other bilateral donors. It had signed a bilateral development agreement with USAID (the US development agency) and was looking to engage to a greater extent with important non-traditional donors such as China. The Department accepted, however, that donor support in South Sudan was "relatively fragmented", [140] a view shared by some other witnesses. Save the Children believed that the challenges of delivering basic services in South Sudan had been compounded by "poor co-ordination, irregular and unpredictable funding, and the lack of a clear joined-up strategy for delivery of services jointly agreed between the government, donors and service delivery providers".[141] A joint NGO report published in September 2011 recommended "substantially improved" donor coordination, including between donors operating in different sectors and between humanitarian relief and development donors.[142]

77. It is vital that DFID, and other international donors, effectively co-ordinate their work in South Sudan, not least because of the limited capacity of the state, the scale of development needs, and the huge sums of money involved. Some mechanisms are in place—such as the Joint Donor Office and the various pooled donor funds—to facilitate co-ordination, and these are working in practice to some extent. We are pleased that DFID is co-operating with other key bilateral and multilateral donors, to ensure its programme complements, rather than duplicates, those of others. We urge the Department to continue this approach.

78. The Department, alongside other donors, should also provide the GRSS with the necessary technical support and advice to ensure that the Government can take a lead strategic role in co-ordinating the plans of donors.

107   Ev 75 [DFID]. This equates to $1.15bn. Back

108   There are no official OECD DAC figures for donor spend in Southern Sudan in 2010.  Back

109   Ev 102 Back

110   Ev 102 Back

111   Including Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Back

112   Including European Community Humanitarian Office Back

113   Unlike the others in this table, the UK figure is a DFID internal estimate and relates to the 2010-11 financial year. The GRSS figure for the UK expenditure was slightly lower, at about £51m ($81m) for 2010. GRSS also estimated that the UK spent 75% of its expenditure via pooled funds, rather than the 80% estimated by DFID. Ev 102. Back

114   $1.1bn. Back

115   UNMISS website, Facts and Figures, Back

116   Through the South Sudan Recovery Fund, Community Security and Small Arms Control, the UNDP-Strategic Partnership and Common Humanitarian Fund. Ev 103. Back

117   Ev 75 Back

118   DFID visit briefing for Committee visit. Back

119   Q 47 Back

120   This will be implemented by 35 NGOs and UN agencies. Q 126, Ev 92. Back

121   We published a report on the World Bank earlier in the Session (Fourth Report of Session 2010-12, HC 606). Back

122   Q 126 Back

123   Q 126 [DFID] Back

124   The OECD found the MDTF to be "static and inflexible" and the House of Lords European Union Committee was similarly critical. See also Stephen Commins, "Non-state providers, the state, and health in post-conflict fragile states", Development in Practice, vol 20 (2010), pp 594-602. Back

125   International Development Committee, Fourth Report of Session 2010-12, The World Bank, HC 606, pp 18-19 Back

126   For example, Tearfund told us that NGOs and civil society had "not been sufficiently involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of MDTF programmes". Ev 58 Back

127   NGO Joint Briefing paper, Getting it Right from the Start, September 2011 Back

128   Qq 47, 52 Back

129   Q 86 Back

130   Q 126 Back

131   Q 47 Back

132   Q 126 Back

133   Europa press release Back

134   Evw10 Back

135   The other is Somalia. Back

136   South Sudan Joint EU/MS Programming Document, 2011-13 Back

137   Q 126 Back

138   DFID will provide £1 million to support the Joint Donor Office between 2010 and 2012. Back

139   Ev 45 Back

140   Ev 77 Back

141   Ev 36 Back

142   NGO Joint Briefing paper, Getting it Right from the Start, September 2011, p 33 Back

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Prepared 12 April 2012