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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

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Delivering better aid: An opportunity for European Union leadership in the fight against global poverty


2008 is a crucial year in the fight against global poverty. Governments from across the world will meet at a ‘High Level Forum’ in Accra, Ghana in September to assess whether international aid is playing an effective role in delivering human rights for all. Soon afterwards they will assemble again at a UN summit in Doha, to examine the broader ‘Financing for Development’ agenda, of which aid is a part, but which also includes other critical issues for international development, such as international finance, trade and debt.

The European Union provides the majority of the world’s aid, giving it a crucial leadership role in the fight against global poverty. It also has a solemn responsibility to do all it can to make sure the aid it provides is as effective as possible at reducing poverty and ensuring rights for all.

European civil society organisations are therefore calling on the EU to grasp the opportunity for leadership that 2008 provides, and agree to a set of concrete EU targets to improve aid from member states and European institutions. If necessary, these should go beyond at the commitments made at international fora such as Accra. This would follow existing precedents, and allow EU aid to become a global benchmark for quality.

We make the following specific recommendations, for EU governments and institutions, which are set out in detail later in this paper:
1. The EU should respect real democratic ownership of the development process, and allow partner countries to be in the driving seat by:
 Untying all EU aid to all countries;
 Phasing out economic policy conditionality.
2. The EU should radically improve its accountability, particularly to developing countries and their citizens by:
 making monitoring and evaluation of aid truly independent;
 establishing a complaints mechanism open to aid recipients;
 supporting in-country mechanisms for holding donors to account.
3. The EU should commit to good practice standards of openness and transparency of their aid budgets and activities.
4. The EU should agree new, more ambitious targets to make multi-year, predictable and guaranteed aid commitments based on clear and transparent criteria.
5. The EU should reform its technical assistance – money spent on consultants, research and training - to respond to national priorities and build genuine capacity in partner countries.

Aid reform is, of course, only one of the steps that the European Union must take. Making its trade, security, migration, agriculture and other policies coherently work to benefit developing countries and promoting a fair international financial and trade system in favour of development remain huge challenges, which CONCORD members continue to focus on, but which are not the subject of this paper.

However, by taking the above steps, the EU would demonstrate that it is truly committed to making its aid an effective tool in the fight against global poverty and inequality.

Click on the attachment below to read the full document

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FINAL EU Aidwatch position Accra 2008 - Jan08.doc 143.5 KB

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