Skip to content

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

South Bulletin: Reflections and Foresights

South Centre, September 2008

This Issue of the South Bulletin reflects upon the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness that took place in Accra, Ghana from 2-4 September and prepares its readers for the upcoming Monterrey review conference on Financing for Development that takes place in Doha, Qatar in end-November.
On its editorial article Yash Tandon reflects upon the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness that took place in Accra from 2-4 September 2008 - the follow-up and evaluation of the Paris Declaration. He states that the present chaotic situation of the aid industry is a better option for the poor countries than the anticipated order of the AAA, while the best option is to get out of aid dependence.
Analysis and commentaries appearing in the Bulletin, include on Enhanced Financial Mechanism for UNFCCC: The G77 Proposal; Financing for Development from Monterrey to Doha; Keeping Developing Countries Hooked on the Aid Drug; Food Crisis in India; and Let us not Build the EPA in the Graveyard of Regionalism.

Report from Roundtable 6: The Role Of Civil Society In Enhancing Aid Effectiveness

By The Advisory Group On Civil Society And Aid Effectiveness

This report presents the outputs of the Roundtable 6 (RT6) that took place on the second day of the High Level Forum of Aid Effectiveness (HLF) that took place in Accra, Ghana, in September 2008. It was to build upon the work of the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness (AG-CS) and was attended by an estimated 150 participants with approximately 55% CSOs, 25% donors, and 20% developing country governments.
The AG-CS, as a multi-stakeholder group reporting to the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, led an extensive consultation process, analytical work, and case study work in the 18 months preceding the Accra HLF.

To read the full report, click here

Hearings of civil society and the business sector on financing for development

The road to Doha newsletter

In preparation for the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus (Doha, Qatar 29 November - 2 December 2008), two half-day hearings, one with civil society and the other one with the business sector, were held on 18 June 2008 in New York. The hearings took the form of a series of presentations by the panelists followed by an interactive debate on the six thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus, as well as new challenges and cross-cutting issues.
The main outcomes of both hearings can be found in this issue of ‘The road to Doha’ newsletter.

To read the full article, click here

The Accra HLF: good news for aid effectiveness, or a victory for mediocrity?

By Bill Morton

This short article reports on the International Women's Forum, CSO Parallel Forum, and the HLF. It argues that the latter resulted in some good news: the Accra Agenda for Action recognises once and for all that aid effectiveness is not just a matter for governments, and it makes a strong statement on the importance of South-South cooperation. Overall, however, the AAA is a victory for the lowest common denominator, rather than for real change. It demonstrates little improvement on issues that are of great concern to developing country governments and their citizens, including tied aid, technical cooperation, and conditionality.

To read the full article, click here

Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness - A Synthesis of Advisory Group Regional Consultations

By Brian Tomlinson

The Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness (AG) is coordinating a dialogue among civil society, donors and developing country governments in the lead-up to the September 2008 High Level Forum (HLF), which will review the implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.
Between August and November 2007, the AG conducted regional multi-stakeholder consultations to
improve understanding of three issues: 1) the roles of civil society organizations (CSOs) as development actors and as part of the international aid architecture; 2) the applicability and limitations of the Paris Declaration for issues of aid effectiveness of importance to CSOs, including their contribution to aid effectiveness; and 3) good practice related to civil society and aid effectiveness by CSOs, by donors and by developing country governments.
The AG is sponsoring a global multi-stakeholder International Forum in February 2008 to reflect upon civil society and aid effectiveness.
This Synthesis Paper is an AG background paper for the International Forum. It summarizes key issues and proposals arising from six regional consultations, as well as from related independent processes. Although the AG regional consultations largely reflected civil society perspectives, the Paper also draws on ideas from donors and to a lesser extent from governments of developing countries.

To read the full paper, click here

Forum on the Future of Aid: Southern CSOs put their Stamp on Aid Policy

By Bill Morton

This article underlines the importance of the meeting in establishing a Forum that is led by Southern CSOs and that is focused on influencing aid policy. It also refers to some of the presentations on ownership and conditionality that were made at the workshop.
You will find this article on page 8 of the Review Newsletter from The North-South Institute.

To read the full article, click here

Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness – Synthesis of Findings and Recommendations

Author: Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness, OECD-DAC

This document summarizes the main findings and recommendations emerging from our work and consultations as members of the OECD-DAC’s Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness. We directs these recommendations to a broad community of stakeholders, including developing country governments, donors, and civil society organizations (CSOs) from developing and developed countries. [Executive Summary]
The document establishes 3 sets of recommendations:
• The first one is to recognize importance of CSOs as development actors, and the special character of their contributions. While the Paris Declaration (PD) already recognizes the role of CSOs as democratic actors, the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) should go further by encouraging stakeholders to define the conditions required for the voice of civil society to be as effective as it can be.
• The second set of recommendations refers to a broader interpretation of the principles from the PD suggesting that its interpretation in a multi-actor world including CSOs requires a richer understanding of the aid effectiveness principles.
• The third topic refers to the “CSO effectiveness” or the ability of CSOs to deliver development results. Stakeholders should promote CSO effectiveness as a joint responsibility.

To read the full paper, click here

NGO statement on Financing for Development (FfD) Chapter IV


In the NGO statement for the review of chapter 4 of the Financing for Development (FfD) meeting -currently underway at the UN- Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) called upon increasing the volume and maximizing the poverty reduction impact of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
They claim that global ODA figures have fallen, and very few countries have met the target of 0.7% of GNP. They also allege that improvements in aid effectiveness have been patchy and piecemeal both at the global and national levels.
They contribute with 13 measures that donor and recipient countries should commit to. They also demand from the World Bank and other regional development banks greater initiatives towards democratic governance as well as fully respect of the principles of aid effectiveness, with a particular emphasis on country ownership and leadership over national development strategies.

To read the full statement, click here

Global Trends in Think Tanks and Policy Advice

Source: The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program

Think tanks have become more active players in domestic and foreign policy in the last two decades and are now present in 169 countries. While the largest concentration of think tanks continue to be in the US and Western Europe, several factors are driving the growth of think tanks in other areas of the world.

1) Democratization
Democratization has opened more political space to establish think tanks, while political and economic reform has created a demand for developing more detailed policies and regulations.

2) Demands for independent information and analysis
More governments, facing increased pressure to improve economic and bureaucratic performance, appear to be turning to think tanks for evidence and independent advice. Government officials at all levels are asked to make decisions that are informed by research and data.

3) Growth of international actors
The proliferation of state and non-state actors such as NGOs and IGOs, foundations and interest groups have created more support and demand for think tanks.

4) Technology & communication advances
Better and cheaper technology have made it much easier for think tanks to operate and publicize their work. The Internet has made it much easier for even small think tanks with limited financial resources to conduct more extensive research, and organizations can use websites to share their agendas and findings outside traditional communication channels. These changes have helped extend the reach and impact of think tanks.

5) Globalization of NGO funding
Governments, foundations and interest groups are becoming more active and diverse in supporting policy oriented research and analysis by think tanks across most regions of the world.

6) More open debate about government decision making
Interest groups and public citizens are less deferential to allowing governments to monopolize decision making, which has put a premium on more open discussion of issues and policy options. Key players are less likely to accept government information and rationales, creating a demand for more independent sources of analysis. Global policy and advocacy networks have increased the power and influence of these organizations.

7) More complex and high pressure issues
Think tanks can sometimes be more flexible and adept than governments at addressing high-profile, sensitive, cross-cutting issues under severe time constraints. Sometimes governments actively seek input from think tanks to help facilitate more efficient decision making on controversial topics, or even when their ideas are not formally sought, think tanks can be in a position to produce policy options that are more publicly accessible, pithier and available more quickly than those generated by a more complex official government inter-agency process.

8) Going Global
Think tanks are increasingly adopting a global presence, perspective and audience. The economist George Stiglitz commented that think tanks must “scan globally and act locally” if they are to be effective in today’s policy environment. This trend is driven, in part, by transnational issues such as global warming, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, pandemics and terrorism. A number of global think tanks (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the International Crisis Group) have emerged in recent years which are designed to address global issues and serve a global audience of policymakers.

Click on the attachment below to read the full report

The Better Aid Blog


The BetterAid blog has been launched, the new space for stories on how rich countries and multilateral institutions spend their aid money.

As part of the Better Aid website, this new blog is a collaborative effort that privileges the inside stories, gossip and juicy information on development assistance.

This is how you could participate...
1)Become an active author! You are encouraged you to contribute with your views and stories. If you’re interested, please let Rita Guerreiro ( know and she can give you the instructions on how to post an article.
2)If you don’t want to be an author, you can still contact them if you hear any news or gossip. They would love to publish the information you have.
3)Read and comment. Check the blog regularly and comment on posts. Discussions are very welcome, so feel free to make your comments and to be involved in conversations.
4)Recommend this blog to colleagues, networks and friends and put a link to it on your website.

Although the main interface of the blog is in English, you are encouraged you to write in French or Spanish.

Click here to go to the blog

next page
last page

Log In or Join

Resource Categories

Size of tags indicates the number of resources
Absorption Accountability Africa Aid Architecture Aid Architecture Aid effectiveness Aid linkages Aid modalities Aid organisations All regions Asia Pacific Bilateral Donors Budget Support By Region Capacity Development Conditionality Corruption CSOs Debt Relief Domestic Resource Mobilisation Donor Coordination Mechanisms Economic Growth Education Effects of aid Emergencies Environment Europe Food Aid Gender Good Humanitarian Donorship Governance Harmonisation & Alignment Health Hot Topics Humanitarian Aid Quality Institutions Latest trends Latin America and Caribbean Macro impacts/Dutch Disease MDGs Middle East Multilateral and International (governmental) Organisations National Policy Frameworks/PRSs Natural Disasters NGOs Ownership Productive Sectors Public Expenditure Management/Budget Sector Programme based approaches Technical Assistance Trade Vertical Programmes/Global Initiatives Workshops

Recent Forum Posts

  • The Paris Declaration is Gender Blind
  • The urgent need for transparency and accountability
  • Your Support is needed in Egypt
  • Independent People's Tribunal on the World Bank Group
  • South and the future of the world

Suggest a Resource

If you would like to suggest a resource for the Forum on the Future of Aid, please email