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Addressing corruption risks in multi-partner funds

Donors are increasingly relying on multi-partner funds for delivering results on challenging development and humanitarian issues and in difficult situations. Such funds are therefore growing in number and sophistication in delivery mechanisms. This provides new options for reaching targets, but also poses new risks that donors may not fully grasp. A fundamental concern is achieving a shared understanding of risk appetite and risk sharing between the stakeholders.

27 January 2019
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Main points

  • The donor community is increasingly relying on multi-partner funds (MPFs) to address fragile situations and complex global challenges such as health pandemics. At the same time, new modalities and partners for delivering results are evolving, providing a more complex picture of actual delivery chains, and hence new risks as well.
  • Different MPFs address these risks differently. The traditional MPFs under UN or World Bank administration focus on fiduciary responsibilities. More recent funds with sector focus provide a more holistic analysis of risk related to attainment of actual objectives, and assess possible trade-offs to achieve these.
  • Donors remain focused on financial probity – ‘zero tolerance for corruption’ – and have so far been less engaged in discussing trade-offs.
  • A fundamental concern is achieving a shared understanding of risk appetite and risk sharing between the stakeholders to an MPF: the funding partners, the MPF administrator/trustee, the implementation partners, national authorities, and intended beneficiaries.

Cite this publication

Disch, A.; Sandberg Natvig, K.; (2019) Addressing corruption risks in multi-partner funds. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2019:2)

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About the authors

Arne Disch

Mr. Arne Disch (M.A., PhD), managing partner of Scanteam, a Norwegian consulting milieu, is a development economist with over 40 years' experience. He taught economics for three years at the U of São Paulo before spending 13 years in Africa for UNDP, Norad and the World Bank. Since 1996 he has worked as a consultant, and in that capacity has carried out 80 reviews and evaluations for over 15 clients with field work in 45 countries, being team leader on most. This has included reviews of a number of multi-partner funds, including multi-country programs in fragile and conflict-affected situations. He has led evaluations for the World Bank, the EU, UN agencies and a range of bilateral donors, providing advice on policy and procedural matters, and has presented these to international meetings of broad-based governance bodies. His focus is increasingly on governance challenges, including public finance management and issues such as corruption and illicit financial flows, and how various forms of joint action can be mobilized to address such challenges.

Kirsten Sandberg Natvig

Ms. Kirsten Sandberg Natvig (MSc), senior partner at Scanteam, is a business economist from Norway’s School of Economics with specialisation in development economics and organisational psychology, and also holds a degree in social anthropology. She has worked on development issues for over 20 years in nearly 30 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, most of these fragile, corrupt, and conflict- and violence-affected states. Her main fields of expertise are organisational and institutional strengthening, hereunder anti-corruption and governance; gender mainstreaming, gender sensitivity and women empowerment; and conflict sensitivity, peace and reconciliation, and women, peace, and security issues. She has an extensive knowledge of evaluation methodologies and participatory methods, has carried out more than 20 evaluations and reviews, and is as a guest lecturer for Master’s students in Value-based leadership at VID Specialised University in Oslo.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


corruption risk management