4.4 Harmonisation

In Box 4.1 you read a formal definition of harmonisation which was to bring about agreement or standardisation among different people, plans or actions. Harmonisation is all about applying common arrangements and simple procedures to implement development programmes. Like alignment, the inclusion of harmonisation as a principle in the OWNP followed the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, but again was adapted for the different context of within country, rather than between aid donors and recipient countries.

The Paris Declaration listed many separate commitments by donors and partner countries intended to achieve the goal of harmonisation. These included, for example, commitments from donors to (adapted from OECD, 2005):

  • implement, where feasible, common financial arrangements at country level between donors and recipient countries for planning, funding and the disbursement of funds. Also to have common arrangements for monitoring, evaluating and reporting to the government on donor activities and aid flows.
  • work together to reduce the number of separate, possibly duplicating, field missions, and to promote joint training to share lessons learned and build a community of practice. (A community of practice is a group of people who share an interest in doing something and learn how to do it better by sharing their experiences.)
  • work together to harmonise separate procedures.

The OWNP adopted the spirit of these commitments and revised them to suit the particular context of the national WASH programme in Ethiopia. The POM defined the principle of harmonisation as:

  • This principle leads to One WASH Plan, One WASH Budget, One WASH Report; implying to OWNP. Harmonisation also assumes that One Consolidated WASH Account (CWA) will be opened where all Development Partners contributions are deposited from which WASH activities and investments would be supported (POM, 2014).

This reinforces the idea of a single collaborative programme and highlights the importance of joint financial arrangements. The principle establishes that development partners will pool their financial contribution into one consolidated fund for supporting WASH activities.

The principle of harmonisation is repeated in all the OWNP documents, but the wording is not exactly the same, indicating the range of applications of the principle. In the WIF (2011), harmonisation is ‘of diverse projects into a single program’. In the OWNP document (2013), it is ‘of partners’ approaches and activities’ and in the POM (2014) it is described with a focus on financial arrangements. In each case, the fundamental principle of common arrangements and simple procedures, or harmonising, is the same.