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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

Unity In Diversity: Governance Adaptation In Multilateral Trade Institutions Through South-South Coalition-Building

By Vicente Paolo B. Yu III

This paper discusses the ways in which developing countries participate in the institutional governance mechanisms of the WTO and UNCTAD, the two premier multilateral trade governance institutions.
The current global trading system exemplifies “some historical and structural inequities” in which the rules are “less advantageous for developing countries.” Changing the rules of the trading game to make them more equitable and capable of supporting developing countries’ development interests will require addressing the flaws in the institutional architecture which shapes and implements those rules.
The experience of developing countries, individually and collectively, during the more recent period of globalization has only confirmed that developing countries need to be consistent and united in promoting their views and interests, and that to succeed it is also essential for them to join forces and pursue group action in most domains on the development agenda. With a number of developing countries having made important progress and strides in development and economic growth, the collective weight of the South should be used for launching major policy initiatives, as well as to counter the systemic economic and political imbalances that favour the developed countries.

To read the full paper, click here

Buying power: aid, governance and procurement

Christian Aid

Strong rules for the contracting of goods, works and services are a cornerstone of a robust and accountable public budgeting system. It is important for donors to not only support the development of those systems but also to use them; this has been shown to be a more effective use of aid resources. Christian Aid welcomes donor commitments to improve the effectiveness of their aid in general and use recipient procurement systems in particular, but positive outcomes from these commitments are undermined by a reliance on imposing a standard procurement model that emphasises market opening over accountability to poor men and women.

Click on the attachment below to read the full report

Concerning Kenya: The Current AU Position on Unconstitutional Changes in Government

By Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Senior Legal Officer for Africa, Open Society Institute, AfriMAP

Ahead of the forthcoming tenth summit of the African Union (AU), to be held in Addis Ababa in January 2008, this article sets out the legal foundations and principles that should inform the decisions of the AU and international community in responding to the allegations and issues arising from the current situation in Kenya.

Click on the attachment below to read the full article

AfriMAP submission to the Audit of the AU Institutions

Source: AfriMAP

AfriMAP made a submission to the ‘audit review’ of the African Union institutions being carried out by a panel of eminent persons appointed in accordance with the Accra Declaration on Union Government adopted at the AU summit in July 2007. The AfriMAP submission was based on the findings and recommendations in the report Towards a People-Driven African Union and its other research and engagement with the debates around the proposed Union Government. It emphasised that ‘any new institutions and structures established at continental level should enhance the democratic accountability of the AU and empower Africa’s citizens and communities, and not just its governments’.

Click here to read the full submission

Guide for Civil Society on IMF transparency

Source: Global Transparency Initiative

The Global Transparency Initiative (GTI) has launched a new guide to transparency at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The guide seeks to help civil society learn how to use the information that is already made available by the IMF. It should be a useful reference for a range of people from advocacy organizations, researchers, budget monitors and even parliamentarians and officials who need help understanding how to get the information they want from the IMF. It also provides an insight into the improvements that could be made in the IMF's transparency policy. Printed copies of the guide can be requested from the GTI Secretariat ( or the Bretton Woods Project (

Click here to read the full guide

Challenge of the Current Aid Architecture: Addressing the Development Needs of Africa


"African countries like many other developing countries need external resources primarily to supplement their meagre domestic resources from their economies. The assistance countries receive redress the financial gap that arises from their development needs and act as catalyst and play a complimentary role in the implementation of the national development programs as well as stretegies. The articles concludes by saying that aid architecture must address political interests of both donors and recipient as well. Aid would only work with good public institutions and if policies are nationally-owned. Other important factors include the need to address weak public finance management systems, respect public systems by donors, and the development of Partnership principles are mutually agreed. Lastly engagement with non-state actors and parliaments must be meaningful if Africa is to make head way in improving aid architecture in the continent."

Click here to read the full article

‘Mediating’ the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness

By Fackson Banda, SAB-UNESCO Chair of Media and Democracy, Rhodes University, South Africa

The role of the media in public finance management in aid-dependent countries is increasingly becoming an agenda item during meetings about development assistance. A recent workshop called by the OECD Global Forum on Development brought the issue into sharp relief. At the core of the discussion was the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, adopted in 2005.

The OECD meeting did not discuss the media as a central theme. And yet the workshop theme of ‘ownership in practice’ suggests strong citizen engagement in the development process. Perhaps, the ‘silence’ on mediation typical of most official documents accounts for the uncertainty usually exhibited about the place of the media in the matrix of development financing.

Indeed, the Paris Declaration does not acknowledge the role of the media. But it spells out many commitments which only active media engagement can help actualise. For example, it urges aid-reliant countries to elaborate ‘national development strategies through broad consultative processes’. It reiterates this by enjoining upon such nations to ‘encourage broad participation of a range of actors…’ It urges both donor and partner countries to curb ‘corruption and lack of transparency, which erode public support’.

These commitments are central to media engagement in creating a dialogic environment in which civil society can hold national leadership accountable for the utilisation of development assistance. And yet the declaration only assumes this. Its emphasis on broad consultative processes is much more than one-to-one consultation. It implies civic engagement on a large scale. While foregrounding the ends of consultation, ownership and participation, the declaration omits the means through which such processes can be realised broadly.

It is important, therefore, that any exposition of the Paris Declaration explicitly analyses the role of mediation in strengthening citizen participation in development financing.

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The African Peer Review Mechanism in Mauritius: Lessons from Phase 1


This report reviews the stalled process for APRM self-assessment in Mauritius, initiated in 2004 but on hold from mid-2005 to June 2007, and urges Mauritius to learn the lessons of its first phase and open up the process to much wider civil society engagement.

The report argues that the NESC, responsible for leading the APRM self-assessment failed to reach out effectively to civil society and relied far too heavily on government information for its first attempt at preparing the self-assessment report. The National Coordinating Structure, the steering committee for the APRM, was also too narrowly constituted, without participation from the full range of Mauritian society.

Click here to read the full report

AU Accra Summit: The Grand Debate on Union Government

Source: Afrimap

African leaders debated proposals for the rapid creation of a United States of Africa at the 9th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union that took place in Accra, Ghana, 1-2 July 2007. AfriMAP was the major sponsor of two important fora that took place in advance of the summit and enabled civil society organizations to debate the proposal for a Union Government and provide input to what was termed the 'Grand Debate'. The first was a one day roundtable during the official Pre-Summit Civil Society Forum organised by the AU Commission's Civil Society Directorate (CIDO), held on June 20. The second was a two day continental conference (June 22 -23) hosted by our national partner, the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) that brought together over 150 men and women from 100 organizations in 30 countries across Africa and the Diaspora to discuss the proposal to establish a Union Government. Other sponsors of the meeting were the Centre for Democracy and Development-Ghana, Oxfam UK, the UN Millennium Campaign, the African Capacity Building Foundation, the Pan-African Movement, Action Aid and Fahamu. For these two discussions, AfriMAP commissioned papers on aspects of the Union Government proposal by several individuals who have been close observers of the project for continental integration. These papers – which will be supplemented by other contributions – are available on the AfriMAP website, with the communiqués from the meetings

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DFID is channelling increasing amounts of funding through multilateral institutions. Multilaterals receive around a third of DFID’s total budget with the European Community getting the lion’s share, followed by UN agencies and the World Bank. Against a backdrop of a sharply rising budget and of efficiency targets in the civil service, the total figure for British multilateral spending on development has risen from around £1.3 billion a year in 2001–02 to nearly £2 billion a year in 2005–06. It is important therefore that such multilaterals share the same objectives as DFID.

This first phase of the Committee’s inquiry into DFID’s work with multilateral institutions will explore aid effectiveness in terms of DFID’s relationship with the World Bank. The World Bank is the world’s single largest funder of development programmes as well as an important source of knowledge and advice on how to tackle global issues such as international trade, poverty, corruption and climate change. The UK contribution to the World Bank’s International Development Association, the arm of the Bank which helps the world’s poorest countries, for 2005-08 is around £1.4 billion over the three-year period (some 13% of the total donor contribution).

The Committee invites interested organisations and individuals to submit evidence focusing on DFID’s ability to ensure that assistance delivered through the World Bank is in line with DFID’s own priorities and objectives. Contributions from developing countries are particularly welcome. -Those sibmitting evidence are invited to consider the following points: 1) The World Bank's relationship with DFID, other donors and stakeholders. 2)Policies on governance and conditionality and 3) World Bank internal governance The Committee invites written submissions from interested organisations and individuals — especially those from developing countries — by 12 October 2007. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found here

Click on the Press Release below for full details.

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