The origins of the Group developed from the need, identified by the members, to consult to optimize the application of resources and the giving of aid by the various Arab Development Funds. This was adopted as the principal objective of the group. A further objective is to derive benefit from coordinating financing efforts and the accompanying procedures, particularly for major projects and programs that exceed the capacity of any single institution. As well as achieving common objectives the intention is to establish clear links to promote development assistance and economic relations in the recipient countries.
The first meeting of the Group was held at the invitation of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development on 20 September 1975 and was attended by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and the Saudi Fund for Development. The participants agreed that bi-annual meetings would be held at the level of the directors of operations and periodic meetings at the level of heads of institution, as required. The directors of operations would meet to discuss initiatives, cooperation and data on projects and development plans. They would also meet to harmonize procedures with a view to avoid duplication and redundancy. It was also agreed that the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development would assume the role of the Coordination Secretariat.
The Coordination Group currently consists of nine institutions, three of which are national institutions including the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and five regional organizations consisting of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Islamic Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND) as well as the Arab Monetary Fund.
The Coordination Secretariat arranges the stipulated meetings as well as those of the various sub-committees and assures the agendas and minutes of these meetings as well as any follow up on recommendations, the handling of communications and all other functions entrusted to it. It also organizes meetings between the Coordination Group and international organizations and governments of beneficiary countries. It prepares semi-annual reports on loans and technical assistance, in Arabic and English, as well as the cumulative summary of the group's financial operations.
Activities and Achievements of the Coordination Group Institutions:
Since its inception the Coordination Group has held 75 meetings, at the directors of operations level, and fourteen meetings at the heads of institutions level. In addition to covering policy, operations, and information on financing requests the meetings have also included the review of the status of some countries and special projects, as well as examining the relationship between the Group and other regional and international financing institutions.
During the same period, the group held a number of meetings with representatives of the European Economic Community, the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank.
Periodically since 1992 the Coordination Group has held consultative meetings with the beneficiary countries to discuss their development plans with a view to enhance coordination and increase the effectiveness of development interventions. Often these meetings were concluded by approving finance for projects given priority in the country plans.
The Coordination Group has prepared a number of model documents that are to be used or are to serve as a guide to address the obstacles arising from the disparity between the various procedural documents used by the various members of the group. These include Guidelines for the Use of Consultants, Model Agreement for Consulting Services (Design and Supervision of Construction of Civil Engineering Works/Electrical and Mechanical Works), Model Agreement for Consulting Services(feasibility studies)and the Guidelines for the Procurement of Goods and Contracting for the Execution of Works. Some of these documents were updated including the Standard Tender Documents – Procurement of Goods, the Standard Registration Form for Consulting Firms, and the Standard Introductions to Tenderers and Conditions of Contract for the Procurement of Works of Civil Engineering Construction. Other documents are still being written, such as the Model Conditions for the Design and Overall Construction, and General Conditions for Small Civil Projects. The latest addition to these documents is called the Guidelines to Environmental Requirements for Development Projects.