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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

The Paris Declaration, Women's Rights and Gender Equality

By Cecilia Alemany, Nerea Craviotto, Fernanda Hopenhaym, With Ana Lidia Fernández-Layos, Cindy Clark and Sarah Rosenhek

This paper argues that the Paris Declaration (PD) is gender blind, and as a result, it becomes an unjust and unequal framework for understanding and implementing the aid effectiveness agenda.
The PD relies on a range of “new” aid modalities (budget support, sector wide approaches, poverty reduction strategy papers, basket funding and join assistance strategies). These modalities raise concerns in terms of the possibilities for real civil society participation in influencing development plans and funding for development, limited capacities to play an informed role in shaping and monitoring budgets, persistent conditionalities imposed by donors, and fears that “country ownership” in contexts of warm political commitment to gender equality will translate in far-reduced donor support for women’s rights.
The paper claims the need of a holistic approach that integrates parallel efforts (such as those by several donors to analyse in depth the relationship between aid effectiveness and gender equality) as part of the monitoring of the impact of the PD. Finally, it offers several recommendations to strengthen a gender equality dimension in the aid effectiveness agenda

To read the full paper, click here

Civil Society and the New Aid Modalities: Addressing the challenges for Gender Equality, Democracy and Participation

Source: IGTN

This paper argues that there is a need to develop mechanisms to reduce the impact of any abrupt real or threatened changes in government spending on poor communities. If governments fail to meet conditionality conditions or when there are conflicts and contradictions between modalities, there needs to be safeguard mechanism to protect against the outcomes of any such occurrence. Templates of such mechanisms exist, for different purposes, in the form of, for example, the common basket funding and other types of pooled funds. Why not a community risk mitigation and stability fund? This could potentially take the form of contingency financing or community trust funds financed through the same ODA processes.

Thus there is a need for civil society to actively engage this process on at least two broad fronts: 1) at the domestic and national political level and 2) at the external or international political level.

Click here to read the full report

Robinson Calls for More Funding for Women’s Rights Groups

Source: Ghana Civil Society

The Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson has called on the donor community and governments to make more funds available for women's rights activism. Speaking at the 2007 Consultative Group meeting in Accra, Mrs. Robinson who is also the President of Realising Rights: The Ethical Globalisation Initiative, a non for profit advocacy organisation said it is very important to promote the rights of women especially in developing countries like Ghana.

Click here to view the full article

Online Discussion: Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women

Source: United Nations DESA Division for the Advancement of Women

You are invited to participate in the online discussion on the theme “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women”, which is being organized by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. The discussion will run for four weeks from 18 June to 15 July 2007.

The purpose of the online discussion is to contribute to a further understanding of the existing mechanisms and processes of financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women at the national, regional and global levels; identify good practices and lessons learned and highlight gaps and challenges requiring further action.

The online discussion is part of the preparatory process of the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held 25 February to 7 March 2008, which will consider “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women” as its priority theme.

Please click here to register for the online discussion

Debt and Women

Source: Oxfam

Poor countries around the world are crippled by the ‘debts’ they have to pay to rich countries; the impact on women and girls is particularly brutal. These debts worsen poverty by forcing poor countries to give money to the rich, even though many of the debts are of dubious origin, so-called ‘illegitimate debts’.

The debt crisis has its origin in loans given in the 70s and 80s: many loans were given recklessly to oppressive or corrupt regimes by rich governments in return for support in the Cold War; others arose through unfair loan terms; yet others were given by private companies in return for contracts which were often overpriced and of little value to the borrowers. But the rich world ignores its responsibility for poor countries’ debt crises, either continuing to demand payment or only cancelling debts on their own very restricted terms.

Globally, women and girls are more likely to be poor and disadvantaged. They are routinely excluded from decision-making at all levels, and have almost no independent control over resources: only 1% of the world’s land and property belongs to women. Less likely to be educated than men, many women are totally dependent on their husbands, and live with the daily threat of socially-condoned violence. Despite this systematic discrimination, societies worldwide depend on the skills, work and knowledge of women to weather poverty: finding food to put on the table, caring for the sick, and bringing up the next generation.

Click here to read the full report

Promoting Gender Equality in New Aid Modalities and Partnerships

Author: UNIFEM

This discussion paper identifies an initial set of considerations to ensure that gender equality is central to the aid effectiveness agenda. It is intended for policy-makers currently adjusting to the new aid modalities, such as officials and analysts in Ministries of Finance, Planning and Women’s Affairs; women’s rights advocates at domestic, regional and international levels; and bilateral and multilateral development actors such as Resident Coordinators in the UN system.

The paper argues that women will only benefit from the new aid architecture if gender equality is recognised as a key component of poverty reduction and national development, and if women are fully represented in decision-making. To support gender equality, the new aid architecture should include:
•adequate financing for programmes that respond to women's needs
•accountability systems for governments and donors to track and enhance their contributions to gender equality
•gender-sensitive progress assessments, performance monitoring and indicators for aid effectiveness

Click here to read the full report

Impossible Architecture: Why the financial structure is not working for the poor and how to redesign it

Author: Social Watch Report 2006

The Social Watch report is published yearly since 1996 and is unique amongst reports focussing on social development and gender equality in its “bottom up” approach. This is not a commissioned report published from a centralised international organisation, but a compilation of the findings of civil society organisations working on social issues, on how their authorities are implementing the programs that they have committed themselves to in international fora like the Social Summit, the Beijing Conference on Women and the Millennium Summit.

Those findings by citizen groups are complemented with statistics and innovative indexes developed by Social Watch researchers, such as the Basic Capabilities Index and the Gender Equity Index.

The main theme of this year’s Social Watch report is the international financial architecture and how it needs to be reformed in order to create an enabling environment for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals

Click here to view the full report

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