GPG has a distinct approach to political change which depends on helping the people who work in the institutions of government find practical and politically realistic solutions to the challenges they face.
We also work with global donor agencies and funders to improve the way such programmes are designed, delivered and evaluated, by helping them understand the reality of politics on the ground.
The two aspects of our work inform and reinforce one another. We are continually seeking to learn lessons and capture insights from our work in country, in order to improve our own approach to project management, but also to draw the wider lessons for the wider governance community.
We have a developed a range of tools and resources for both audiences.
Effective governance rests on the ability of government to translate the people’s wishes into policy decisions, and then implement them. The political system must be responsive to public concern, representative of society and resilient enough to deliver for citizens.
GPG works with politicians, policymakers and civil society organisations in countries around the world to help them create responsive, representative and resilient political systems.
GPG works directly with politicians, ministers, parliaments and political parties in many countries to improve the quality of representative politics.
Our distinctive theory of change informs all our work. It is based on three insights.
First, all governance projects depend on changing behaviour – and often changing political patterns of behaviour.
Projects which seek to reform institutional structures, improve capacity or train individuals are ultimately interested in improving the performance of the institution by altering the way the people inside the institution behave.
Second, the process of change starts by developing a shared understanding of the problem and its possible solutions.
Projects must begin by understanding why people behave the way that they do. We use political economy analysis tools to understand political, institutional and personal incentive structures. We then work with our local partners to develop a strategy for addressing them.
Third, political change cannot be implemented from the outside. It has to be owned by the people who will be directly affected by it.
Our projects seek to make local partners responsible for the design, delivery and measurement of the project. GPG’s role is not to implement, but to support and guide those who want to achieve meaningful change.
GPG has conducted research and analysis for a variety of donor agencies and other international organisations on their approach to strengthening parliaments, political parties and governance more widely.
This strategic analysis comes in three forms:
We provide advice directly to donor agencies and other international organisations. For example, we worked with the Danish Foreign Ministry, on a project which led to the development of ‘How To’ notes for foreign ministry officials around the world. We helped the Ministry establish a multi-party institute to support the development of political parties around the world.
We have also provided advice to DFID on its approach to parliamentary and political party support, the UNDP’s Programme on Governance in the Arab Region, and to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on systems of domestic accountability and budget oversight.
We write and produce publications, frequently in collaboration with others which highlight developments and challenges in international democracy support.
These have included the first Global Parliamentary Report for the IPU and UNDP, as well as publications on the challenges of political programming for International IDEA, the development of parliamentary politics in the Gulf states for the London School of Economics and analysis of political parties in transitional states for the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy.
We have attempted to use the insights from our research and project delivery to develop our own tools and techniques to improve the way that support to parliaments and political is provided. The Politics of Parliamentary Strengthening by Greg Power was the first of these published in 2011, in conjunction with the WFD. More recently we have developed a series of ‘Political Insight’ notes which seek to highlight how political economy analysis can be applied to project design, delivery and measurement.
Our current focus is in developing new ways to measure impact in international support to governance programmes.
GPG evaluates organisations and projects that work to strengthen political representation and governance. Because we have hands-on experience of running projects and specialise in strategic analysis, we understand the difficulties of designing and delivering programmes, and use our insights as the basis for practical improvements.
In 2009 we conducted a major analysis of International IDEA’s work on political parties in Latin America, Africa and Asia, providing detailed recommendations on how their programme should develop. This was used as the basis for discussions among practitioners in the field, and was described by Carnegie Vice President of Studies Thomas Carothers as “outstanding”.
In the last few years we have also evaluated organisations such as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the Arab Regional chapter of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (ARPAC), Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) and the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy.