The key points from this rapid literature review include:
- CDFs are a relatively recent phenomenon (with most being established from the 2000s onwards), and they are relatively few in number (Barkan & Mattes, forthcoming). As a result, little is known about them.
- Countries that have used CDFs include: South Sudan; Philippines; Honduras; Nepal; Pakistan; Jamaica; Solomon Islands; Tanzania; Malawi; Namibia; Zambia; Uganda; Ghana; Malaysia; India; Bhutan; and Papua New Guinea.
- CDFs are largely nationally or locally designed, funded, and implemented.
- Only three examples were found of donors directly engaging with CDFs, and there are no evaluations of the successes or failures of these examples of engagement.
- There is some evidence that donors indirectly engage with CDFs by funding foundations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), or civil society organisations (CSOs) that carry out: academic and policy research; and advocacy campaigns around CDFs.
- Some donors collaborate with academic and policy researchers on CDFs.
- Perceptions of CDFs vary. They are generally unpopular with donors, and with some CSOs in country. However, in the countries that use them, they tend to be popular with governments, members of parliament, and citizens. The arguments for and against CDFs can be used as proxies to understand why donors do not tend to like or engage with CDFs, and also why they tend to be popular domestically:
– Arguments in favour of CDFs, tend to highlight the following: improving the relationships between the constituency and members of parliament; and improving local control over priorities and budgets.
– Arguments against CDFs, tend to highlight the following: undermining of accountability and governance systems; and low levels of participation. They also raise concerns about the practical issues of implementing CDFs effectively.