Our website uses its own and third parties cookies for a high level of user-friendliness. If you continue to browse and  use this website we will assume that you agree with the policies.

The Governance of International Development


Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Pathway core courses



Global debates about the governance of international development often boil down to arguments over money: How should we finance ambitious global development goals, such as the declared aim to eliminate extreme poverty? Who should pay for the response to emerging new challenges like climate change, fragility, and global health emergencies? And should development assistance still flow to fast-growing emerging economies like Brazil, China, and India – countries that now run important international development programmes of their own, but that still have hundreds of millions of people living in extreme poverty between them?

The course will assess emerging financing trends and proposed solutions around one broad theme: The need to develop an effective global response to global challenges like poverty, fragility, and climate change that takes into account the changing power dynamics and economic capabilities within the developing world. Throughout, we will be taking a critical approach, focusing both on the content of the policies and financing proposals that have been put on the table, and on the complex political constellations between ‘traditional’ donors, emerging powers, and aid recipients that often prevent more effective and efficient responses to given development challenges. The course will prioritize multilateral over bilateral financing mechanisms, even though we will also devote some time to discussing emerging bilateral aid programmes of developing countries. We will conclude with a review of emerging efforts and challenges to improve the use of the increasing amounts of domestic resources that would be available to tackle development problems from within developing countries.

The 12 week-long course will be divided into four broad segments:

  1. An introduction to the ‘politics’ of organized development assistance, with a focus on the debate whether official development aid is an effective response to global development challenges and the competing accountability relationships between donors and recipients that often prevent efficient and adequate solutions in development finance (Weeks 1 and 2)
  2. An overview of major existing approaches in multilateral developing finance, including a more traditional grant-based ‘redistributive’ model where contributions from advanced economies are pooled at global level and redistributed to developing countries, based on various indicators of need; guarantee- and credit-based finance delivered through multilateral development banks; and increasing flows of south-tosouth aid (Weeks 3 to 5).
  3. A review of new innovative financing responses and remaining challenges in major priority areas of the global Sustainable Development Agenda, including poverty reduction, climate change, health, and humanitarian assistance / crisis-prevention.
  4. An introduction to the debate about domestic resource mobilization within developing countries, including in the areas of taxation and ongoing efforts to reduce illicit outflows of finance from the developing world.


The course will follow an interactive format, based on short introductory lectures, student presentations and case studies. We will typically begin with a 30-45 minute interactive lecture, followed by a seminar in which students will be given a range of tasks to perform in order to consolidate their understanding of the course content, including discussions, case studies and student presentations. Students must read the required reading prior to class (these will be available on course webpage). Additional readings are provided for students who wish to deepen their understanding of the course content.

The course will be evaluated as follows:

  • A final ‘take home’ examination: 40%
  • Class presentations (25%)
  • Short essay on one of the course readings (20%)
  • In-class participation (15%)

The penalty for late submission of coursework is 0.25/10.00 per 24 hours. If you foresee a reason for late submission please contact the course teacher as soon as possible prior to the due date.