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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

organised by ODI

Opinions from Overseas Development Institute, London

IMF reform: What happens next?, September 2006

Lauren Phillips

'Given the complexities of the coming negotiations, what ability do under-represented developing countries have to influence the outcome of such reforms? And what should they expect to get out of the reforms?'

Governance and aid effectiveness, has the White Paper got it right?, July 2006

Julius Court

'The big challenge for Britain’s aid policy is to reconcile concerns about governance in developing countries with the commitment dramatically to scale up aid. Aid is set to double. But governance in Africa in particular is often poor – and not significantly improving. Political risk will need to be taken much more seriously in coming years.'

Where Europe Stands in the New Aid Architecture and Why We Need a New €5bn European MDG Fund

Simon Maxwell

'As Europeans, we can be proud of our collective contribution to 2005, the year of international development …We should also be aware, however, that the hardest decisions may yet be to come, in particular about the changing shape of the international aid industry.'

Lead, Follow or Get out of the way? The European Union and Impending Bretton Woods Reform

Sven Grimm and Lauren Phillips

'There have been complaints for years that power in the IMF and the World Bank is skewed to rich countries, and that developing countries have too little ‘voice’. This year, there is real chance that votes in these two leading financial institutions will be redistributed in favour of large middle income countries.'

The primacy of domestic politics and the dilemmas of aid: What can donors do in Ethiopia and Uganda?

Paolo de Renzio

'…how can a donor country respond to human right abuses without harming the right of poor people to benefit from aid-financed services? How can long-term commitments and open dialogue be reconciled with the need to respond to governance crises?…'

UN Reform: An eight step programme for more effective collective action

Simon Maxwell

'Making the system work better is a constant preoccupation – in 2003, Kofi Annan observed that ‘…The system is not working as it should … We need to take a hard look at our institutions themselves … They may need radical reform.’ At present, the outlook for serious reform on the development side is not especially propitious – but it could be.'

Aid to Africa: More doesn’t have to mean worse

David Booth

'Why are we condemned to conduct the public debate about aid to Africa in such grossly simplified terms? The sound bites around this year’s G8 seem to be dominated by just two points of view…'

Politics: the Missing Link in the G8 Africa Debate

David Booth

'The political dimension of Africa’s development is the most important and the least well treated in this year’s G8 debate. Most important because in the sub-Saharan region all of the most significant obstacles to public and private investment in development (…) can be traced back to policy inadequacies…'

Power to Consumers? A Bottom-up Approach to Aid Reform

Paolo de Renzio and Andrew Rogerson

'2005 will be remembered as the year of calls to double the amount of aid to poor countries. Yet unless developing countries themselves are offered genuine choice about which aid agencies they want to work with, the effectiveness of aid in reducing poverty will decline, and the rhetoric about recipient country ownership will remain empty.'

The Africa Commission's 'Big Push'

Simon Maxwell

'The Africa Commission is an exhilarating, exhausting and intriguing read. Exhilarating because of its breadth and political impetus. Exhausting because of the comprehensive nature of its proposals. Intriguing because of the intellectual challenges. It is the intellectual challenges which will extend the life of the Report.'

The Millennium Project: A Sound Strategy for Reaching the MDGs?

John Roberts

'The Millennium Project report Investing in Development invites developing countries to formulate expenditure plans based on what they will need to reach the Millennium Development Goals. Additional aid needed will be very substantial, even after allowing for re-allocation of current aid flows away from non-MDG related purposes.'

The Seven Habits of Effective Aid: Best Practices, Challenges and Open Questions

Andrew Rogerson and Paolo de Renzio

'When leaders from developed and developing nations meet at the ‘High-Level Forum on Harmonisation and Alignment for Aid Effectiveness’, to be held at the end of February in Paris, their challenge will be to come up with concrete proposals to put into practice what they committed themselves to in the ‘Rome Declaration on Harmonisation’ two years ago.'

The Asian Tsunami: Economic Impacts and Implications for Aid and Aid Architecture

Simon Maxwell and Edward Clay

'With the benefit of just a little distance from the immediate impact of the tsunami on 26 December, some important points are becoming clear about the economic impacts and the wider implications for aid and aid architecture.'

Can more aid be spent in Africa?

Paolo de Renzio

'‘Double aid to halve poverty’ looks likely to be the catchphrase of 2005. We will hear it from Tony Blair’s Africa Commission, from the UN Millennium Project in New York, and from Gordon Brown and other advocates of an International Financing Facility. But can more aid be spent? More precisely, can more aid be spent successfully? Many think not.'

Also published in the Guardian on 10 January 2005

Giving, forgiving, and taking back: why continue to make soft loans to very poor countries?

Andrew Rogerson

'Two key decisions will be needed in coming months on finance for the poorest countries. The first will be whether or not to cancel their outstanding debt. The second, oddly, will be whether to lend them more money. The right answers are to cancel debt…'

Aid: what's next?

Andrew Rogerson and Simon Maxwell

'As birds fly south and beaches empty, the aid community is gathering for a new school year at the joint annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. There are some big, set-piece exams in the coming year, with the UK leading the way…',

Also published in the Guardian on 27 September 2005

Budgets not projects: a new way of doing business for aid donors

David Booth

'Around half of all aid to some countries now takes the form of un-earmarked contributions to the national budget.'

Aid and the Millennium Development Goals

Felix Naschold

'…how much is needed? Would a doubling of aid volumes ensure success?'

More aid? Yes - and use it to reshape aid architecture

Simon Maxwell

'If we care about partnership and accountability, the priority for a new aid architecture is to rebuild the UN. The way to do this is to create a new trust fund'

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