Why we are going to Busan

24/11/2011 at 12:50 pm 1 comment

Five Irish NGO representatives are now on their way to Busan, South Korea, for an international summit on better aid.

The “Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness” (HLF-4) brings together ministers, government representatives, parliamentarians, civil society organisations and private sector representatives from across the globe.

The purpose of the meeting is to launch a new “development compact” – a comprehensive vision for development cooperation, along with an action plan to guide development cooperation in the coming years.

As Minister O’Sullivan recently put it in her address to the Oireachtas:

“In the 1990s it became clear that the traditional approaches to development were not having the desired impact. There were too many isolated projects which were not coordinated nor led by developing countries. This led to a duplication of effort and a waste of resources.

A new approach, based on evaluations and lessons learned over many years was agreed internationally in 2005 in an agreement know as the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.”

The Busan summit is intended to take stock of progress made on implementing the Paris principles, and updating them, to include the “new actors”, such as China, India and private philanthropists.

Irish NGOs will attend the summit, to remind Governments and philanthropists that “Development” cannot happen without the active participation of citizens and civic structures in the social, economic and political processes that shape their countries.

And we will urge the Minister, who will represent Ireland at the summit, to take an active role defending the principle of civil society action, and to ensure that the summit declaration contains strong and tangible references to the obligation of states to create the conditions that enable civil society to grow and flourish – This includes respect for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, the right to freedom of expression, and the need for clear legislation to support the role of civil society.

Our lobby over the past number of weeks has already paid off: the most recent drafts of the summit negotiation text is much better when it comes to references to the importance of human rights and civic action.

We are now going to the summit itself, to make sure that, at a time when Governments across the developing world are attempting to rein in the role of NGOs, the Busan summit sends a strong signal that sustainable Development cannot be achieved without a strong and active role for each country’s own citizens.


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Busan needs leadership on civil society space NGOs gather in Busan to speak truth to power, once more

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