The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 215–234 | Cite as

Development Cooperation in a Multilevel and Multistakeholder Setting: From Planning towards Enabling Coordinated Action?

  • Erik LundsgaardeEmail author
  • Niels Keijzer
Original Article


The call to reduce fragmentation and promote joined-up action is an evergreen topic in development policy discussions. This article reviews past coordination efforts and changes in international cooperation and finds that, in recent years, donors did not adequately apply coordination standards that they promoted, while developing-country governments frequently failed to articulate an effective demand for coordination. Dominant coordination approaches have been inherently statist and managerial, whereas the increasingly multilevel and multistakeholder nature of the changing development cooperation context calls for new approaches involving four elements: positive framing of coordination, enlargement of involved stakeholders, increased focus on enabling over planning, and growing attention to coordination across countries and within sectors. The Sustainable Energy for All initiative serves as an example of a multistakeholder platform confirming both continued coordination needs and a changing perspective on the relevant avenues for addressing coordination deficits.


Development effectiveness Foreign aid Coordination Division of labor Multistakeholder partnerships Sustainable Energy for All 

L’appel à la réduction de la fragmentation de l’aide et à la promotion d’une action conjointe est une constante dans les discussions sur les politiques de développement. Cet article examine les efforts de coordination passés et les changements dans la coopération internationale. Il constate que ces dernières années, les bailleurs de fonds n’ont pas correctement appliqué les normes de coordination qu’ils ont promues, tandis que les gouvernements des pays en développement ont souvent omis de faire une requête efficace de coordination. Les approches de coordination les plus répandues ont été intrinsèquement étatiques et managériales, tandis que le contexte changeant de la coopération au développement, de plus en plus pluri-niveaux et pluri-acteurs, nécessite de nouvelles approches impliquant quatre éléments: une présentation positive de la coordination, l’élargissement des parties prenantes impliquées, un accent accru mis sur la facilitation plutôt que sur la planification et l’attention croissante accordée à la coordination au-delà des pays et au sein des secteurs. L’initiative «Energie Durable pour Tous» sert d’exemple d’une plate-forme pluripartite qui confirme les besoins continus de coordination et fournit une perspective différente sur des façons pertinentes de remédier au manque de coordination.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Danish Institute for International StudiesCopenhagen ØDenmark
  2. 2.German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)BonnGermany

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