By Jaya Ramachandran
PARIS (IDN) – As a landmark global meeting on aid effectiveness inches closer, two new reports find that donors have made less effort and less progress than developing countries in implementing aid effectiveness commitments since 2005, even though the commitments demanded less from donors.
While developing country progress is praised as “significant”, a survey by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says that the countries of the grouping, which currently provide the lion’s share of development aid ($120 billion of aid annually), have made disappointing progress in making this significant sum work to address poverty, according to the the findings of a survey monitoring results achieved between 2005 and 2010.
Ahead of the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness from November 29 to December 1, 2011 (HLF-4) in Busan, South Korea, the report finds that “little progress” has been made on donors untying their aid, getting information on aid flows, and in donors delivering promised aid, and donors have only met only on of the nine global targets that they are primarily responsible for meeting. Furthermore, donors are perceived as “bottlenecks” that stop developing countries making even better progress.
“The survey shows that every effort must be made to ensure that the upcoming high level event on aid effectiveness in South Korea this November focuses on committing countries to meaningful reforms,” says Gideon Rabinowitz from the UK Aid Network and BetterAid.
A report from BetterAid partner Reality of Aid, gives a civil society perspective on progress since the Paris Declaration. The report confirms several results of the OECD study and also notes slow progress made in broadening development for civil society participation and achieving development results for all people.
According to the OECD survey, Denmark met seven of its reform targets, Ireland six and Australia and Sweden five. Although Britain only met three of its targets, it has made progress across a range of areas and is one of the top performing donors overall. France only met two targets and is in the bottom third of donors. The U.S. met just one target and only avoids being the worst performing donor by Turkey – a new donor of whom little is yet expected, the survey states.
In contrast, the survey finds that there are three times more developing countries with sound national development strategies in place compared to 2005, and many invested in high-quality monitoring and planning and systems. But progress differs between developing countries, and there is still room for improvement:
“The Sri-Lankan government is ignoring the Paris Declaration totally, and blocking civil society involvement in development projects as independent actors at every turn,” says Arjuna Seneviratne from BetterAid and the Green Movement of Sri Lanka.
In Busan, BetterAid, representing over 1000 civil society organizations worldwide, calls on donors and recipients of aid to:
1. fully evaluate and deepen existing aid effectiveness commitments (Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action)
2. commit to a human rights based approach to development and development cooperation with gender equality, decent work and environmental sustainability at the centre
3. agree minimum standards to support the work of civil society organizations as development actors in their own right
4. initiate fundamental reforms for fairer aid governance at the crucial high level forum on aid effectiveness.
The HLF-4 takes place against a historical backdrop: recognising that development aid could – and should – be producing better impacts, at the Second High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2005 leading development practitioners came together to adopt the Paris Declaration.
Drawing from first-hand experience on what works and does not work with aid, the Paris Declaration is formulated around 5 central pillars: Ownership, Alignment, Harmonisation, Managing for Results and Mutual Accountability.
In 2008 at the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness an even greater number and wider diversity of stakeholders endorsed the Accra Agenda for Action which both reaffirmed commitment to the Paris Declaration and called for greater partnership between different parties working on aid and development.
Against the backdrop of meetings in Rome, Paris and Accra that helped transform aid relationships between donors and partners into true vehicles for development cooperation, says the OECD, approximately 2,000 delegates will review global progress in improving the impact and effectiveness of aid, and make commitments that set a new agenda for development.
“Based on 50 years of field experience and research, the five principles that resulted from these fora encourage local ownership, alignment of development programmes around a country’s development strategy, harmonisation of practices to reduce transaction costs, the avoidance of fragmented efforts and the creation of results frameworks,” the OECD says.
Looking ahead, diverse sources of finance, knowledge and expertise play a key role in the future of development – and broad, dynamic partnerships will continue to give these principles relevance. Partner country members of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness have outlined their vision and priorities for HLF in a the Partner Country Position Paper.
The process leading up to Busan is based on evidence collected from the:
Working Party on Aid Effectiveness: This inclusive forum engages in a range of topics in development co-operation from public-private partnerships to co-operation between developing and middle-income countries
Monitoring Survey of the Paris Declaration: The third of its kind, this regular monitoring survey assesses donors’ progress in achieving the targets in the Paris Declaration. This round also includes the monitoring survey of the Fragile States Principles.
Evaluation of the Paris Declaration: A major independent joint evaluation is looking at efforts to improve development co-operation and assessing results. [IDN-InDepthNews – October 08, 2011]
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: