Coordination or conflict? The causes and consequences of institutional overlap | Experts’ Opinions

ByCatalina Russu

Coordination or conflict? The causes and consequences of institutional overlap | Experts’ Opinions

Since World War II, there has been a rapid growth in the number of multilateral institutions of various scopes which have transformed the structure of global governance in many areas. Inevitably, their activities intersect. When the mandates of two or more separately established international institutions intersect, this is called institutional overlap. Does this sound like coordination or conflict? Check out some experts’ opinions below.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are more than 300 intergovernmental organizations around the world and these are created when multiple governments form an international organization.
  • According to experts, institutional overlap weakens capacity development, undermines the perception of international institutions, and results in lost consulting hours, etc.
  • Cooperation, coordination, and communication are the fundamental pillars to avoid the overlapping of programs.

DevelopmentAid: What are the causes and consequences of institutional overlap for the international development sector?

Telita Snyckers, International tax administration expert

“Practical experience highlights the prevalence of institutional overlap. At its root lies not only the lack of coordination between international institutions but also because of the beneficiary receiving the capacity development. The capacity at the receiving administrations is stretched thin, with multiple institutions clamoring for engagement, often with divergent goals and targets, different reporting frameworks, and occasionally with conflicting advice. This not only weakens capacity development but has the potential to undermine the perception of international institutions as being credible and supportive and – in practical terms – on occasion results in lost consulting hours when administration staff are double-booked with more than one international administration.”

Jorge Díaz Tejada, Senior Consultant

“The proliferation of development agencies, especially in recent years, has made the application of the 3Cs (Cooperation, Coordination, and Communication) as management approaches more complex. The 3Cs are fundamental pillars that can avoid the overlapping of programs, plans, and projects from their design phase to implementation. We need to have more responsive planning tools on the one hand and, on the other, we need to implement better monitoring, evaluation, and learning mechanisms. There have been some initiatives in recent years for building “coalitions”, “networks” and the like so that the 3C concept is better managed.”

Güven Güneren, freelance consultant

“The need to establish the international institutions that emerged just after the Second World War has significantly evolved in terms of their inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts on nations, countries, and communities during the last three decades since the breakdown of the Berlin Wall. The globalization initiative has forced the international institutions’ scope to be “sworn into” other roles than their original field of coverage. This need has been so imminent that the institutions indulged in the new – primarily adjacent/frequently different – responsibilities and this has ended up with them crashing into each other’s field of activities. The reason for the crash/overlapping of the mandates is primarily due to the nature of a particular institution, which can be called a system of its own. Thus, the multiple pillars of systems (such as the structure, sponsor/s, actors etc.) cannot cope with the rapid changes of its reasons for existence.”

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Check 270,000 organizations in the international development sector here.