In September 2008, ministers from over 100 countries, heads of bilateral and multilateral development agencies, donor organizations and civil society organizations from around the world will gather in Accra for the Third High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (2-4 September). Their common objective is to help developing countries and marginalized people in their fight against poverty by making aid more transparent, accountable and results-oriented. The Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (Third HLF) will:
- review progress in improving aid effectiveness
- broaden the dialogue to newer actors
- chart a course for continuing international action on aid effectiveness
In order to measure progress on achievement of the Paris Declaration, the 3rd High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness called on developing countries to partner with donor communities to ensure good statistics are produced to facilitate development results.
In a parallel event organised by the Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS 21) on the development of the national statistical systems, the session dubbed Role of Statistics in the Aid Effectiveness highlighted the importance of good statistics for measuring the key pillars of the Paris Declaration. These would also include accountability and managing results.
Three years since the Paris Declaration was signed by 56 countries progress appears dim and far between.
In a study commissioned on 12 of the 24 African countries that signed the 2005 Declaration, only four have started implementing government-donor coordination systems of aligning donor support with national development strategies.
Why Paris Declaration might not be effectiveDebate on the managing for development results and mutual accountability took a new twist at the Aid Effectiveness talks in Accra, Ghana.
Officials from various African governments accused donors of making it difficult to produce results using donor money.
Preliminary studies indicate that effective country ownership of development cooperation is almost certainly stronger and has been reinforced by the Paris Declaration.
According to Dr Bernard Wood, who evaluated some of the Paris Declaration projects, ownership remains heavily weighed in favour of central players rather than sector or local authorities.
Wood said that in all examined cases of donors’ performance, the Paris Declaration provides a significant reinforcing influence and platform for change.
Using innovativeness to make aid effectiveRight in the middle of Accra town, lies Makola — a local market — where both the rich and poor are allowed to engage in various activities.
In Makola there are those who peddle goods to make a living, while there are others hustle and bustle to buy commodities. Makola market is full of diversity and in simple terms, therefore, there is innovation therein.
“Makola is a common place, where diverse activities that also capture the elements of development effectiveness take place,” said Mr Kwabena Osei- Danqua, Chief Executive and External Relations Branch Officer, United Nations Population Fund. He added: “Value in this area is unleashed and the poor are given space to engage.”
Excessive fragmentation of aid reduces its effectiveness and over burdens recipients in many countries and sectors.
It also brings about the risk of undermining country ownership and leadership.
Partner countries now want division of labour to be a solution to this issue. However, they are asking for traffic rules to regulate the process.
In post conflict settings, where new constitutions are agreed upon, national development plans and budgets drawn up, new laws adopted and institutions rebuilt, there is often a unique window of opportunity to advance women’s rights and gender-equality.
At the same time, because conflict generally brings about changes in existing gender relations, with women taking on new family and community leadership roles, women are often prepared to take a pro-active role in rebuilding societies and communities.
The Paris Declaration of 2005 operates on five principles — Harmonisation, Alignment, Ownership, Management for Results and Mutual Accountability.
However of these principles that define how aid is disbursed and utilised, gender factor has not been captured as a key issue.
As the world grapples with the effects of climate change, the topic could not be ignored at the ongoing 3rd High Level forum on Aid Effectiveness.
The realisation is that majority in Africa — who are the poor women — bear the brunt of the effects of climate change yet they least contribute to it.
As governments, donors and civil society activists gather in Accra, Ghana for the 3rd High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, women’s rights organisations and activists say the declaration does not sufficiently address women’s concerns.
“Aid cannot be deemed effective unless it tackles this central issue,” Actionaid, an international civil society organisation, asserts in its ‘ten point plan for real aid reform’, published ahead of the Accra gathering.
In 2005, the world witnessed a milestone as donors, governments and other development partners said it was not business as usual as they adopted the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.
The Declaration, which is guided by five principles — Harmonisation, Management for Results, Ownership, Alignment, and
Mutual Accountability — was designed to change how Aid is disbursed and used by recipient governments.
As government delegates, donors, the civil society and other stakeholders milled around freely in preparation to tackle the Accra Agenda for Action, one could feel a sense of apprehension about the realisation of the six principles governing Aids effectiveness before the 2010 deadline.
In 2005, donors under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and developing countries came up with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The Declaration has 56 commitments and 12 indicators designed to help define how aid is used to deliver results and to measure progress.
As the film rolled, many of those in the room could not hold back tears. Here was a group of as young women, none of them older than 28 years, narrating the trauma they have had to undergo after procuring unsafe abortions.
The women shared their stories, their faces hidden behind masks fearing that they would be arrested, physically assaulted or stigmatised by either government authorities, anti-abortion groups or families. Word for word, and action for action, they catalogued the difficulties they have had to contend with after failing to access safe abortion services.
Today the over 1.4 billion poor people in Africa have no clue what donor effectiveness is all about.
But, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) argue that for real results to be delivered there is need for clear time-bound commitments from the donors and citizen involvement to hold governments accountable.