Aid Effectiveness? – Donors not making enough progress, says NGO report
This week marked the first anniversary of the declaration of the ‘Busan Partnership Agreement‘ which was a summit extendeing the principles of good aid donorship to everyone involved in development cooperation – aid donors, civil society organisations, private sector representatives and ’emerging donors’ such as India, Brazil and China.
‘Busan’ stated very clearly that global poverty was too important to be left to Governments alone, and that the Millennium Development Goals can only be achieved if the international community can mobilise all relevant actors in pursuit of a global, shared agenda.
A new report by European NGOs argues that European governments must deliver on their commitments to increase both the quantity and the quality of aid. (The report received some media coverage and prompted a positive response from the EU’s Development Cooperation chief, Commissioner Piebalgs.)
The report finds that one year on, progress since Busan has been disappointing.
The lack of clear, time-bound implementation targets in the Busan Agreement may be one factor in this regard and the degree to which progress depends on reforms at the level of recipient countries another. The report raises the question, however, if the delay in setting up an accountability framework for progress on the quality of aid reflects a deeper malaise, with Governments across the EU downgrading their commitment to international development cooperation.
Irish NGOs, too, are concerned that recent European discourse on development cooperation focuses too much on using ODA as a means for leveraging private financial flows. In our experience, private investment flows have proved highly volatile – often exacerbating rather than mitigating economic cycles – and insufficiently focused on poor countries.
Despite great progress since 2000, ODA remains a scarce resource, and the only source of international financial flows that is targeted specifically on the realisation of global public goods in some of the most disadvantaged countries on Earth. We must be careful not to dilute the potential impact of ODA. As the AidWatch report indicates, our focus should remain resolutely on ensuring that existing ODA commitments are delivered on and that existing ODA levels have the greatest possible impact on global poverty.
We know the benefits of good aid: Aid can empower communities, improve health and education systems, support social safety nets and provide the enabling environment for economic growth.
The AidWatch report reminds all of us that there are still instances of ineffective aid, with donors attaching inappropriate conditions to their aid, or demanding that a major part of their aid is spent in the donor countries (“tied aid“). Aid critics like Dambisa Moyo criticise ineffective aid – would their criticism not be more convincing if they attacked the fact that some 30% of the aid never reaches poor countries?
- EU aid commitments at historic low.
- Dóchas: Overseas aid is an investment in the future.
- Why we are going to Busan
- NGOs gather in Busan to speak truth to power
- Irish NGOs adopt Istanbul Principles on Development Effectiveness
Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness. Tags: Aid, aid donors, Aid Effectiveness, aid principles, Aidwatch, Brazil, Busan, Charities, China, Civil Society Organisations, CONCORD, development cooperation, Development Effectiveness, donors, Effectiveness, European NGOs, India, MDGs, Millennium Development Goals, NGOs, OECD, Overseas aid, Partnership, policy coherence, Poverty, Private Sector, Smart Aid, Transparency, UN, United Nations.