How the European Commission can take the lead in providing high-quality budget support for education and health
Developing-country governments desperately need more long-term and predictable aid, given through their budgets, to finance the expansion of health care, education, and other vital social services. The European Commission (EC) is one of the biggest donors providing this kind of essential budget support, and has innovative plans to further improve and increase this aid. European Union (EU) member states must support these ambitious plans. The EC in turn must do more to improve on this good start, delinking this aid from harmful International Monetary Fund (IMF) prescriptions, putting an end to unnecessary bureaucratic delays, and doing more to make its aid accountable to citizens in poor countries. [Abstract]
The need for enhanced levels of budget support and other government-based approaches lies at the heart of the Paris Declaration. The challenge for the Commission is to set an example of high-quality budget support, both in Accra and beyond.
The paper finishes by highlighting the challenges faced by the EC and suggesting a set of actions that European Union member states and Developing-country governments should do in order to increase the quality of aid.
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Global causeâ€™ and effect: How the aid system is undermining the Millennium Development Goals
The report demonstrates how progress towards achieving the MDGs is being held back by donor preferences which undermine the development priorities of recipient countries, and, of the poor.
The report calls on donors to balance their investments more evenly across the essential services; health, education, water and sanitation. These services are interdependent and need to be recognized as such - girls are not attending school because of inadequate sanitation facilities and because they spend hours fetching water. Over half of the developing worldâ€™s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from diarrhoeal diseases.
The report calls for changes to the aid system to ensure that donor policy responds to the needs of the poor and tackles the most critical obstacles to development. Too often aid allocations have been determined by donor preferences and by the loudest voices coming from the developed world. This results in unbalanced financial inputs and perverse developmental outcomes.
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Let there be life: making water sector funds work for the people
Source: Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN)
This paper looks at the water supply and sanitation sector financing and expenditure to determine the levels of investment into the sector. This is done by analysing the figures from the national budgets and other sources of funding and looking at actual funding trends during the past five years.
Overall, the water and sanitation sector is not receiving as much priority as it should have been accorded. However, within the sector, this reportâ€™s findings show that water is receiving some priority than sanitation in Malawi. In terms of finance, the government needs to show good commitment in supporting the sector. Comparatively, the financing from government alone is still extremely low compared to other social sectors. Without an improvement in this area neither the problem of equity in safe water availability will be fully addressed, nor will the sanitation problem be resolved.
There are also a number of areas that need improvement regarding the sector as a whole in order to improve its effectiveness and coverage. First, it appears that the sector is mostly donor and NGO dependent. The role of government seems to be passive in terms of both policy support and grassroots implementation. The district offices need to be fully empowered so that problem of equity within the districts is addressed. This can only happen with sufficient resources available to them.
Secondly, support from the donors need to be well coordinated, so that the right targets for achieving good results are realised. The health sector has shown considerable progress in SWAp, which is basically a shift from individual project approaches to a new arrangement where donors contribute to the strengthening of the entire sector based on agreed priorities. The current situation in the sector shows a lot of different projects spread geographically, with some areas getting a better share than others. With well coordinated support, all players can effectively take an active role. This can start with good planning, implementation, and then, monitoring and evaluation, right from the village level to ministry headquarters level.
Finally, the overall civil society involved in water sector is also not well coordinated, and has little interface with the government and donors at national levels. NGOs are not in the mainstream of issues despite their good share of the budget in the sector. These organisations have a potential to play a major role in monitoring the sector in terms of general development, equity on distribution of water points, sustainability of the interventions, and above all, push the government on funding of the sector. There is an absence of a good active network of organisations in the sector and neither is there a Parliamentary Committee on water to represent such issues in the legislature.
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World Bank review could shift aid away from social sector projects
Source: Bank Information Center
President Paul Wolfowitz called on Francois Bour-guignon, the Bank's chief economist, to develop a new strategy for World Bank aid effectiveness.
Wolfowitz argues that a strategy review is necessary to deal with the ever increasing number of organizations providing aid to the developing world. He said the World Bank needs to find out "what is our comparative advantage and where can we contribute?"
The review raises concerns of where resources will be enhanced or depleted. Bank officials are cited as pushing for increased investment in economic growth operations, while moving away from health, education, and other social sector projects.
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