The World Bank sponsors aid groups, often called consultative groups or consortia, which are a major mechanism for coordinating aid to particular countries. The first aid group was established in 1958 for India. Altogether thirty countries have had one or more of these aid group meetings and the majority are still active. They normally meet meet at one- to two-year intervals, although less frequently for some countries. Such meetings typically review the World Bank's economic analysis of the country, the recipient's development plan and donors' current and prospective assistance programmes. This may be the only real opportunity to bring donors and recipients together to explore the country's development problems and donors' programmes. World Bank consultative groups in sub-Saharan Africa are paying special attention to sectoral problems and to improving their coordination within the countries concerned, but significant barriers remain. The non-developmental motives which still play a major role in aid programmes sometimes stand in the way of the efforts of multilateral institutions to promote a policy dialogue with aid recipients. The World Bank is developing models of on-the-spot coordination in some African countries, in association with the recipients, the UNDP, the African Development Bank and interested bilateral donors.
The Round Tables of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provide another means for coordination. These assumed increased importance after the 1981 UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, when many of the poorest countries did not have formal aid coordination groups and saw the Round Tables as a means of focusing donor attention on their individual development problems; most of these countries have now had a Round Table or World Bank lead aid group meeting. Other coordinating groups operating at international, regional and sectoral levels include the Club du Sahel, the Central America Consultative Group, a coordination group for Arab funds, and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Ad hoc conferences, such as the UN Conference on Renewable Energy and the UN Conference on Population, have also provided opportunities to discuss development issues and improve coordination. In order to complement broader efforts with closer on-the-spot coordination, aid group meetings of donors and recipients agreed to establish or strengthen parallel groups that would meet more frequently in the recipient countries and deal mainly with operational issues.
The General Assembly has recently called for more integrated and coordinated programming of UN system cooperation, in which programming processes would be based on an overall national programme framework for operational activities for development to be prepared by the recipient government. The government's programme framework would set out the cooperation requirements for the UN system, in accordance with the government's development plans and priorities. This is complemented by a framework for cooperation and coordination among UN organizations providing multilateral assistance for development through a mechanism of country strategy notes.