On Monday 23. April, Arnaldo Pellini met the students of the Master’s Pogramme in Development and International Cooperation at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä. He gave a presentation titled Searching for Ways to Improve the Way We Do International Development: Is Adaptive Programming the Right Way?
The presentation referred to insights and evidence that during the last two decades there has been increasing recognition that politics and political institutions matter for sustainable development. There is also greater interest in contextually grounded approaches. This has stemmed from an acknowledgement that purely technocratic approaches to development often result in failure because they do not take into account the nature of political institutions. Nor do they take account of the context in a particular developing country and the interests and incentives of powerful national actors. Policy processes are embedded in specific social, political and organisational contexts. Approaches that focus on implementing universal best practices in evidence-informed policymaking are unlikely to be successful. Instead, what is needed is an approach that takes the local context as the starting point for understanding what issues are relevant to policymakers and developing contextually appropriate solutions. The presentation reflected on the management approaches and systems that may be required to enable and support large-scale development programmes to be flexible and adaptive to the local policy context and circumstances.