European development NGOs and the diversion of aid: Contestation, fence-sitting, or adaptation?

Rozbicka, Patrycja and Szent-Iványi, Balázs (2018). European development NGOs and the diversion of aid: Contestation, fence-sitting, or adaptation? Development Policy Review ,


Motivation: The paper examines the advocacy strategies used by European non-governmental development organisations (NGDOs). The literature on development aid has not put much emphasis on understanding the aid-related advocacy strategies of NGDOs, and the literature on interest groups has so far paid little attention to explaining why these select different advocacy strategies within the same policy area. Purpose: The paper aims to explain how NGDOs have selected advocacy strategies during the process of reformulating the European Consensus in 2016/17, in response to the European Union’s attempts to divert aid from poverty reduction to three other goals: managing migration, funding climate change adaptation, and funding the private sector. Approach and methods: Using insights from the interest group and social movements literatures, the paper develops a framework explaining NGDO strategy selection, looking at the politicization of the policy change, its impact on NGDOs’ funding, and its relation to the groups’ normative positions. The paper uses qualitative data from NGDO documents and interviews with senior staff and advocacy officers of NGDO networks based in Brussels. Findings: NGDOs used very different strategies for the three cases of aid diversion: they contested aid diversion for managing migration; mainly choose fence-sitting in case of climate change adaptation; and gradually became more adaptive towards diverting aid to fund the private sector. The paper shows that the three variables of politicization, impact on funding, and relation to normative positions explain the strategies selected by NGDOs in all three cases. Policy implications: The findings can help NGDOs in selecting the most appropriate advocacy strategies for changes in aid policy, and can thus become more effective in influencing the EU institutions and member state governments.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations
Languages & Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations research group
?? NRG4008 ??
Languages & Social Sciences
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Rozbicka, P. and Szent‐Iványi, B. (2018), European development NGOs and the diversion of aid: Contestation, fence‐sitting, or adaptation?. Dev Policy Rev. Accepted Author Manuscript, which has been published in final form at  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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Related URLs: https://onlinel ... .1111/dpr.12417 (Publisher URL)
Published Online Date: 2018-12-01
Authors: Rozbicka, Patrycja ( 0000-0003-0092-955X)
Szent-Iványi, Balázs ( 0000-0002-5883-4601)



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 December 2020.

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