Assessing the effectiveness of multilateral organizations

Assessing the effectiveness of multilateral organizations

BSG-WP-2016/013

Contributing new evidence and strategies to conduct common performance assessments of multilateral organisations.

Donors, recipient countries and citizens look to international institutions to provide critical public goods and humanitarian services, ranging from refugee protection to children’s rights, from emergency relief to labour standards. It is thus crucial to develop robust indicators and methods of effectiveness for this provision. There is a growing field of international assessments that inform donor strategies, share good practices between multilaterals, provide systematic information on development results, and improve performance of multilaterals.

However these assessments face challenges such as robustly and accurately measuring effectiveness, combining donors’ and recipients’ perspectives; and balancing universal assessments with the need to take organizational differences into account.

This working paper encourages international relations scholars and practitioners to take up these challenges. It seeks to bridge the gap between the international relations and policy literature on multilateral effectiveness, drawing on a review of the primary and secondary literature, and discussions with expert practitioners and academics on the topic. The paper makes a significant contribution to the field by identifying how policy and scholars have assessed effectiveness; the challenges of assessing effectiveness; and outlining future research avenues for scholars to pursue.  

About the authors

Nina Hall is a research associate with the Global Economic Governance Programme and a post-doctoral fellow at the Hertie School of Governance.  She worked with Prof Ngaire Woods and several BSG students to research and write the World Economic Report “Effective Leadership in International Organizations” (2015) and published a book on “Displacement, Development and Climate Change, International Organizations moving beyond their Mandates” (Routledge, 2016).

Vinicius Lindoso is a Communications Consultant with UNESCO. A BSG alumnus, he completed his Masters of Public Policy in 2015 with a focus on multilateral effectiveness.