Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4)
Busan, Korea, 29 November to 1 December 2011
At the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness approximately 2000 delegates from 160 governments, parliaments, international organisations, civil society and the private sector will review global progress in improving the impact and value for money of development aid and make new commitments to further ensure that aid helps reduce poverty and supports progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
The conference will be a major milestone and turning point for the global aid effectiveness agenda: The conference will assess the achievement of the Paris Declaration targets and the commitments of the Accra Agenda for Action by the 2010 deadline, as well as report on the monitoring of the Fragile States Principles. Significantly, the event will also chart future directions for more effective development aid and contribute towards a new international aid architecture as follow-up to the Paris process. The 2015 MDG deadline and the biennial ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum will be of particular relevance in this regard and are likely to put the UN system in the limelight during the negotiations.
The Busan Forum is a continuation in a series of High Level Forums on Aid Effectiveness that started in Rome (2003) and continued in Paris (2005) and Accra (2008). For the fourth time since 2003, industrialized and developing countries will be discussing ways of making development cooperation more effective. A third draft of the Busan Outcome Document has been prepared. The Outcome Document will be further discussed and developed and will be finalised at the Busan Forum itself.
It is clear for everyone to see that the context for aid effectiveness has changed a great deal in recent years. Making sure that Busan is about more than just playing the end game of a previous era is vital to us all. The question is, are we brave enough to make it happen?
Michèle Laubscher (Alliance Sud) sees OECD veering in the wrong direction. She writes: ”The last meeting held three years ago in the Ghanaian capital Accra ended with the recognition that effective development cooperation requires democratic ownership, transparency and an enabling environment for to civil society. Another idea that also gained traction in Accra was that aid can contribute only modestly to the social and economic development of poor countries. Much more important are government policies in these countries as well as external factors such as global economic and trade conditions, which are generally dictated by the industrialized countries. Future discussions should therefore be about «development effectiveness» rather than just aid effectiveness. It was not decided at the time what this meant in concrete terms, and this will now be done at the conference in the South Korean city of Busan. The competition for «new donor countries» and the private sector could well set the clock back and water down important principles.” Source: http://www.alliancesud.ch/en/policy/aid/busan-high-level-meeting
AidWatch takes a critical look at the European Commission’s proposals (http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/multimedia/presentations-speeches/conference_en.htm) for the EU common position ahead of the HLF-4. AidWatch is particularly concerned by the proposal to narrow the aid effectiveness agenda down to a more limited set of commitments, to streamline the global monitoring process and the lack of concrete and measureable reform commitments for the EU. http://www.concordeurope.org/Public/Page.php?ID=14347
A global aid transparency group around ”Publish What You Fund” has expressed alarm over the ”pushback” in aid transparency commitments among donor countries while the text for the final document to be approved in the HLF-4 is being negotiated. http://tinyurl.com/cyrnsu7
Women’s groups and gender equality advocates engaged in the HLF-4 process call on all governments and other development actors involved in the HLF-4 and 2012 DCF process to consider some imperatives for Gender Equality (http://www.globaleverantwortung.at/images/doku/womensorganisations_keydemands_busan_oct2011.pdf)
At Busan, world leaders will again proclaim their faith in the power of local parliaments and civil society to make aid more transparent, accountable and effective. ”I have my doubts,” writes Till Bruckner in this Devev Blog. Accountability is inherently demand-driven. If local parliaments and NGOs are to effectively monitor and influence international aid, they must be highly capable, and willing and able to rise to the challenge. In most aid recipient countries, these preconditions for aid accountability simply do not exist. The Busan forum will doubtlessly produce a polished document full of well-intended promises. But if these promises are based on fantasy, not reality, we cannot pressure donors to live up to them. Aid transparency is a necessary precondition for local aid accountability, but in itself is not sufficient. Accountability is a two-way process. Information gives local accountability agencies ammunition to press for change – but only if they are willing and able to do so. Source: http://www.devex.com/en/blogs/full-disclosure/the-local-aid-accountability-delusion
The European Parliament adopted its report on aid effectiveness (http://tinyurl.com/cnoznl7) that demands much more ambitious reforms than the European Commission has proposed so far. The report is published just as EU Member State governments are currently negotiating the joint EU position for the HLF-4. The report calls for further progress to empower developing country‘s people and democratic institutions; and emphasises that donors‘ procurement practices need to be reformed to boost aid‘s economic impact and drive inclusive growth.