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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

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Harmonization and Coherence: Where meets Monterrey and Cancun continues Seattle

By Edward Oyugi*

Though a major plank in the Monterrey consensus, harmonization and coherence in aid policy coordination, has its origins in earlier discourses – dating back to the ministerial declarations that saw the trade negotiation process succumb to the manipulative hegemony of neo-liberalism in multilateral politics. Policy coherence is naturally more complicated than taken for granted, particularly in cases where national policies are significantly influenced at supranational level; where any deficit in negotiation capacity can play havoc with the respective economies. The key elements of the current coherence agenda include: supporting the Doha work program (liberalization in goods, facilitating the dominance of pliable political authority systems in the name of good governance, services, and investment), capital account liberalization and channeling increased investment to developing countries.

In a world where neo-liberal orthodoxy is arrogating to itself the claim of universal application - as a frame of reference- and multi-lateral/bilateral behavior -regarding the way relationships between the powerful economies of the North and the Global South have been established- grossly antagonize the subaltern development needs of poor economies, harmonization and coherence can mean a reuse of uniformity behind which lark the insidious face borderless neo-liberal capital. There is no way efficiency and effectiveness can be enhanced through increased coherence within and across aid, trade, and investment policies which feature awkwardly in the donor-recipient relationship and which end up pitting the poor economies of the Global South against the neo-liberal interests of the hegemonic North.

There is no doubt that aid conditioned upon liberalization in trade, investment, procurement and asymmetrical removal of subsidies will lack policy coherence, particularly in circumstances where the aid recipient’s economies are ill-disposed towards the hegemonic demands of neo-liberalism as a framework not only of discourse but more dangerously in the realm of policy action. We now know, with unwavering certainty, that the magic bullet of Harmonization/Coherence agenda is not so much about efficiency and effectiveness as about creating new rights and privileges for corporations at the expense of the poverty alleviation in the Global South.

If harmonization is not to become a slippery slope to cartelization it must be internal to a national or regional political economy and not across conflicting economic interests. This could be the reason why the Indian Minister of Commerce Murasoli Maran warned that "we should be careful that in the name of coherence we do not create a networking behemoth which puts pressure on developing countries through cross-conditionality."

*Edward Oyugi is the Executive Director of Social Development Network , an NGO based in Nairobi and a member of the Social Watch movement and a member of the International Council of the World Social Forum. He also teaches Psychology at Kenyatta University, in Nairobi- Kenya.

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Consideraciones sobre la Efectividad de la Cooperación Externa Oficial en Nicaragua e implementación de la Declaración

Autor: Carlos Pacheco y Julia Metcalfe

El presente documento es un estudio de caso que busca abordar la situación actual y las perspectivas en cuanto a la implementación de la Declaración de París (DP) en Nicaragua. En él se recogen los aportes y opiniones, a través de entrevistas e información documental, de diversos actores vinculados al tema del desarrollo y la cooperación.
Representantes del gobierno, donantes y sociedad civil aportaron su apreciación sobre los avances y contradicciones en la aplicación de los compromisos asumidos en la DP (planes de acción, procesos de monitoreo), así como también de las dificultades en su implementación.

Para leer el documento, haga click aquí

Avances de Honduras en armonización de la Cooperación Internacional después de la Declaración de Paris.

Autor: Sally O’Neill

El presente documento pretende revisar las experiencias de la implementación de la Declaración de Paris en Honduras desde la perspectiva de organizaciones de la sociedad civil (OSC).
La investigación está basada en más de 50 entrevistas a representantes del gobierno, principales donantes bilaterales y multilaterales; ONGs internacionales con presencia en el país; y representantes de OSC hondureña. Estos actores aportaron sus experiencias y percepciones sobre la implementación de la Declaración de Paris en Honduras en términos de coordinación, armonización y alineamiento de la ayuda internacional.
La investigación arrojó que se requiere mayores esfuerzos por parte de todos los actores para lograr una mayor efectividad de la asistencia oficial para el desarrollo.

Para leer el documento, haga click aquí

Turning the Tables Aid and accountability under the Paris framework

Author: Lucy Hayes and Javier Pereira

This report is the result of research in seven aid recipient countries, conducted by southern and northern civil society organisations (CSOs) and coordinated by the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad). It is focused on the progress against two principles of the Paris Declaration –ownership and accountability.
The report is based on analysis of aid effectiveness using factual data and interviews conducted in Cambodia, Honduras, Mali, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger and Sierra Leone, presenting detailed up to date insights from civil society and government representatives. Each case study brings evidence and opinions to help generate understanding and debate ahead of the official aid effectiveness processes taking place in 2008.
Finally, It provides a set of recommendations to be follow both by donors and recipient countries.

To read the full paper, click here

Scaling up: Aid Fragmentation, Aid Allocation and Aid predictability

Author: OECD Development Assistance Committee

As part of monitoring the delivery of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) commitments to increase Official Development Assistance (ODA), this report examines the existing patterns of aid fragmentation and concentration, showing the degree to which 33 donors are operating in 153 partner countries. It also looks into the delivery of commitments on future aid levels in total and where aid is likely to be scaled up or scaled back as well as into donors’ country allocation and budgetary procedures and practices.
It constitutes a key stimulus to improving the medium term predictability of aid, as called for in the Paris Declaration and by the UN Secretary General’s MDG Africa Steering Group. It is intended to inform discussion at major development events in 2008, especially on predictability and division of labour at the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (Accra, September) and on ODA financing at the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development (Doha, November/ December).

To read the full report, click here

Road Map to Accra


The OECD has produced a three page document summarising the process and content of the Accra HLF III.

Click on the attachment below to read the summary

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

Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

Background to the Process

Summaries of the latest related events

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

National Consultative Workshop on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness

Source: CSPR

A lot of issues concerning aid effectiveness were discussed by representatives from civil society, government, and the cooperating partners. This dialogue formed a crucial platform to foster coordinated efforts from the three quarters of development stakeholders to ensure that aid becomes more effective. It is also important to note that the workshop signified the recognised valuable role played by civil society in managing and accounting for the aid.

Click on the link below to read the full report

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