On 24-25 February 2003, Rome High Level Forum brought together bilateral and multilateral development institutions and organizations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to make commitments for harmonizing operational policies, procedures and practices. Rome Declaration on Harmonization focused its attention around these central commitments:

To Ensure That Assistance Is Delivered Keeping In Mind The Priorities Of Partner Country/Countries

Strong Partnership

IMF development institutions mentioned that they were aware that donors’ practices do not always go hand in hand with the country’s/countries’ priorities and systems with regards to national development. These priorities include the budget, project planning cycles, public expenditures and financial management systems. IMF development institutions recognized that these issues also require urgent, organized and immediate actions. Find more about IMF’s developmental schemes and plans for the underdeveloped countries on IMF’s Logic For Debt Forgiveness For The Poorest Countries.

To Implement Good Practice Principles

This part of the declaration states that while Rome High Level Forum acknowledge that every partner country/countries’ historical origins, governance structure and institutional mandates and defining environments may vary, it is still possible to simplify and harmonize the requirements of partner country/countries and reduce the costs associated by working on the already established fiduciary framework at the same time and improving the focus on only concrete development results.

Good practice work by the technical groups under DAC – OCED Task Force and the multilateral development banks (MDBs) was endorsed by the IMF development institutions.

The Statement And The Purpose

Rome High Level Forum also stated that since the progress made on the ground with regards to projects and programmes is the real measure for the efforts that were put into them, they came up with various activities to enhance harmonization.

They were to ensure that development assistance is provided to partner countries in accordance to their priorities. Further, it goes on reviewing, identifying and amending individual countries’ policies, practices and procedures to facilitate harmonization. This is also exercised to reduce donor missions and streamline conditionalities to simplify documentation, implementing good practices progressively and effectively, developing incentives at every level of the organization to promote or foster the recognition of the benefits of harmonization in the management and the staff and providing support to a country. This is expected to be in a way that strengthens a particular government’s ability to assume a better leadership role and take responsibility as well as ownership of the results of such a role.

Forging Strong Partnerships

Better Communication, Stronger Partnership

Other activities that were proposed were to forge stronger partnerships with the governments of partner countries by working with them and enhancing the quality, delivery and efficiency of country analytic work, providing financial support in the form of budgets, sectors, or balance of payments to a country where apt policies and fiduciary arrangements are well planned by including good practice principles in the activity, and fostering harmonized approaches in regional and global programmes.

Rome High Level Forum has stated that a positive by-product of collaboration on harmonization has been an increase in information sharing and an enhanced understanding of similarities and differences in the policies, procedures and practices of various partner countries.

While concluding the Declaration on Harmonization, Rome High Level Forum also hoped to strengthen this collaboration in future and explore how it can help in ensuring that the new or revised policies are aptly harmonized with the policies of partner countries and donor institutions.