A central premise of the EIP is the idea that development change is best enabled and sustained through the creation of effective, inclusive and accountable institutions (SDG16). The evidence on how institutional development change happens through peer-to-peer partnership approaches, and the causal links that exist between these efforts are not yet firmly established, despite increased knowledge on the ingredients of institutional success over the past two decades.
Scholars and practitioners do, however, broadly agree that two particular dimensions of institutional change are important (Barma, Huybens, Viñuela 2014):
● Internal organisation of public agencies: This covers the constitutional foundations of organisations, i.e. the existence of a clearly defined mandate or mission, the extent to which the institution is able to deliver against its agreed objectives or priorities, its internal leadership and management, and communication.
● Management of an institution’s external operating environment: This concerns the institution’s connections to society and its fit in the socio-historical context of the country. This includes, but is not limited to, the degree of trust and credibility an institution enjoys (legitimacy), the degree to which it is accountable and open to the public, but also its contextual adaptation (as opposed to various forms of institutional mimicry).
Thus, the EIP aims to identify, deliver and track P2P approaches that can contribute towards both the inner workings and external operations of an "institution". 'Institutions' can be broadly understood as the 'rules of the game' or the formal and informal rules and organisations that enforce and implement policies (WBG WDR 2017).