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Does parliamentary development assistance matter? : an examination of the aid effectiveness in parliamentary oversight

Kabir, Abul Hasnat Monjurul


Abul Hasnat Monjurul Kabir


Cristina Coutinho Leston-Bandeira

Philip Norton


As the central institution of democracy, parliaments embody the will of the people in government, and carry all their expectations that democracy will be truly responsive to their needs and help solve the most pressing problems that confront them in their daily lives. With more countries preferring democracy over other systems of government, parliaments and other legislative assemblies have become increasingly pertinent. In broad terms, everybody agrees on what the functions of a parliament are. These bodies make laws, hold the executive branch accountable, and represent citizen interests. Achieving democratic governance, therefore, requires the existence of a strong, effective and efficient parliament or legislative body.

The thesis highlights the specific challenges parliaments face in performing such crucial role, particularly fulfilling its oversight mandate. This becomes more daunting where parliaments and legislative bodies are not considered credible or trustworthy institutions, or do not enjoy the support from executives. Many parliaments and the likes are chronically under-staffed and ill-informed. More often than not, they are sorely under-resourced and vital research, legislative drafting, and other capacities are often in short supply. That is why parliaments in most emerging democracies look to the international community for support, as do civil society organisations. Support to ‘parliaments and parliamentarians’ is a relatively new, but rapidly growing area of cooperation provided by different donors and international organisations to representative institutions.

The thesis attempts to do primarily three things: firstly, it offers a framework that links a set of specific democratic and aid effectiveness principles to the institutional means by which democratic and parliamentary institutions are supported. As part of this, it provides a compilation of practices whereby parliaments seek to put these principles into effect with international assistance, known as Parliamentary Development Assistance (PDA). In fact, a clear and consistent set of lessons and recommendations about how international development and parliamentary actors can improve their assistance has emerged over the past two decades [‘Lessons learned’ and ‘Good practices’]. Secondly, it explores whether this results into any distinct approach to parliamentary oversight. It examines whether the PDA demonstrated capacity to promote substantial changes to the parliamentary oversight mechanisms in order to address the challenges of corruption better. Thirdly, the thesis sheds light on the nexus between technical support and political environment – often expressed through political will - and, political economy analysis, ignored too long in the name of ‘neutral technical support’. The thesis reinforces that political behaviour and culture cannot be changed quickly. This requires long term engagements, and, calls for enduring commitment and collaboration.

The thesis identifies distinct gaps in the literature of studies of the impact of parliamentary development assistance (PDA). It seeks to consider the work of international organisations, research institutions, and donors with the parliaments of different countries and developmental situations in terms of their capacity to make a difference to the strengthening of parliamentary development and oversight work. Donors - development partners and international actors will need to make a durable commitment to programmes based on robust local and political analysis, and reduce the number of short-term interventions, quick fixes, and small-scale projects.


Kabir, A. H. M. (2014). Does parliamentary development assistance matter? : an examination of the aid effectiveness in parliamentary oversight. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Dec 14, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Politics
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Politics, Philosophy and International Studies, The University of Hull
Award Date Sep 1, 2014


Thesis (2.9 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014 Kabir, Abul Hasnat Monjurul. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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