The National Dialogue Structure
During JAST (2006-2011) implementation and as jointly agreed with the Development Partners (DPs), the Government integrated MKUKUTA, Public Expenditure Review (PER) and General Budget Support (GBS) dialogue into one dialogue structure with the aim of reducing overlaps and duplication of the three processes as well as associated transaction costs while at the same time fostering cooperation and synergy-building under Government leadership. To guide the engagement, a division of labour within the Government and among Development Partners was also jointly agreed.
The 2008 Dialogue Structure
With the engagement of a high number of DPs in Tanzania coordinating aid in a coherent and consistent manner is of paramount importance. To guide the coordination of aid, in 2008, the Government of Tanzania and its Development Partners developed the Dialogue Structure, which followed the Joint Assistance Strategy for Tanzania (JAST). The Dialogue Structure endorsed by the Government of Tanzania in 2008, is organised around MKUKUTA II. It is led by the Government and guides the coordination between government, development partners and domestic stakeholders by integrating all major national and sectoral development interventions into a single structure, whilst retaining government exclusivity on its internal dialogue. The structure covers four main levels: Sector and Thematic Working Groups, Cluster Working Groups, MKUKUTA-PER Main group and the Joint Coordinating Group.
Sector and Thematic Area Working Groups
The Sector and Thematic Working Groups represent the technical level in the Dialogue Structure. All Sectors and Thematic Areas follow the clusters of the MKUKUTA, and usually based on policies and strategies for a particular sector/thematic area. Sectors include: Agriculture, education, water, health, industry and trade, infrastructure, energy and minerals, whilst Thematic Areas covers Governance, Domestic accountability, Public Service Reform, Environment, HIV/AIDS, Anti-corruption reform and Gender.
Cluster working groups
Four Cluster Working Groups (CWGs) work to maintain dialogue between government, development partners and domestic stakeholders on all issues relating to MKUKUTA clusters and macro-economic and financial management. They also provide important forum for the General Budget Support (GBS) dialogue are envisioned to be a critical forum for PER MKUKUTA dialogue. Each of the four existing clusters build on a number of Sectors and Thematic Areas, e.g. Cluster 1 (Growth and Income Poverty) builds on Agriculture, Industry and Trade, Energy and Minerals, Natural Resources and Tourism, Lands and Human Settlement and Infrastructure Sectors in addition to the Employment Thematic Area.
MKUKUTA-PER main group
The MKUKUTA-PER main group maintains dialogue between government, development partners and domestic stakeholders on the national MKUKUTA II implementation and budget/Public Expenditure Review process with General Budget Support (GBS) and the Joint Assistance Strategy for Tanzania (JAST) processes being integrated within these processes.
Joint Coordination Group
The Joint coordinating group is intended to provide the highest level of dialogue in the coordination of development assistance, including overarching development policy discussion and harmonization and alignment of development partners’ programmes, projects and budget support in support of the implementation of MKUKUTA II and MKUZAII. The JCG includes participants such as Permanent Secretaries and DP Heads of Cooperation.
The work of the JCG is complemented by an informal forum for dialogue, the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), chaired by the Government’s Chief Secretary and attended only by a selected number of DP representatives (at Ambassador-level).
Operationalization of the Dialogue Structure
Operationalisation of the dialogue structure and the division of labour worked well in a range of sectors where space for in-depth dialogue under the leadership of relevant government institutions resulted in fruitful development cooperation. In some sectors, however, initial challenges of starting up the groups were not overcome and the sector groups as such did not meet at all (example land sector). There are also signs that changing Government or DP priorities over time also changed the dynamics of some groups. Cluster working groups and the PER Main did not sufficiently manage to expand the agendas resulting in an over-dedicated focus on the GBS Performance assessment framework and as a result did not meet regularly. Over time, meetings also saw a limited participation of some DPs due to the focus of the agenda. In addition, the dialogue was seen as focusing more on process than substance. Finally, the Joint Coordination Group met only once.
For civil society, participation in most groups was limited and inconsistent from the sector level up to the annual review.
Moving forward, Government and Development Partners will work to improve the division of labour among DPs and the GoT sector classification so as to allow smooth and effective operationalisation of the dialogue structure. GoT and DPs recognize that the dialogue structure needs to be revised to respond to the changes in the development landscape, expanding the agenda to include new partners and new forms of development cooperation. As such, the coordination mechanism shall reflect the realities of dealing with traditional (project aid, basket support, and general budget support) and new modalities of aid (such as Vertical or Global Funds, PPP and other forms of foreign investment) as well as with new actors in development (non-DAC donors, Civil Society and Private Sector).
A revised dialogue structure will need to be informed by the new national development strategy starting in July 2016, different sector strategies, the PER process, the GBS process as well as poverty monitoring; focus on results and mutual accountability and at the same time ensure simplicity and efficiency in operations.