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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

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

Old habits die hard: aid and accountability in Sierra Leone


The paper analyses Sierra Leone as an interesting case to see to what extent practices have changed since the Paris Declaration (PD) in 2005. The fact that the government of Sierra Leone is so highly dependent on aid and carries limited weight in the international community clearly poses a challenge for real shifts in power relations to take place. The research focuses on questions of accountability and ownership and it is primarily concerned with whether the commitments agreed to in the PD have translated into a more accountable, democratic and country-driven aid system.
Based on interviews with donor, government and civil society representatives, the paper exposes the situation of aid in the country and finds not so surprising that Sierra Leone has not moved forwards more quickly in improving the aid system and in implementing more efficient and effective aid modalities.
Finally, the paper presents some recommendations that Donors, Government and Civil Society should follow in order to improve the quality of aid.

To read the full paper, click here

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

Accountability in Aid Effectiveness

By Charles Mutasa, AFRODAD

The paper discusses three levels of accountability needed to ensure aid effectiveness. These are Accountability of international financial institutions (IFIs) and donors, Accountability of Governments and CSOs and Accountability among CSOs.
The author emphasise that although IFIs and donors have stated their commitments to poverty reduction, aid continues to be strongly determined by other interests. In that sense, for mutual accountability to be viable reform of the IFIs is fundamental.
Regarding the relationships between Governments and CSOs, the author points out that governments find it difficult and expensive to consult the broad masses. In the South, civil society ability to engage government policy is very limited and when it occurs it tends to be restricted to middle class groups (mostly NGOs more than community based- groups) presenting the challenge of giving the poor a voice.
The article also states the importance of accountability among and within CSOs. CSOs should be accountable to donors, governments and foundations, to beneficiaries, to the organisation’s own staff and mission, and to peers”

To read the full article, click here

Country Study, prepared for Southern Perspectives on the Reform of the International Development Architecture - Vietnam

By Nguyen Thi Thu Hang

This study shows the important role that aid has played in supporting Vietnam’s impressive growth and poverty reduction; but that its importance is decreasing relative to other sources of development finance such as FDI and remittances. It describes the Government of Vietnam’s strong ownership of the development process, examines the roles of key multilateral and bilateral donor institutions, and makes recommendations on reform that will further strengthen ownership. The paper was produced for the Southern Perspectives research project

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From Paris 2005 to Accra 2008: will aid become more accountable and effective?

The International CSO Steering Group

This draft position paper has been prepared by the International CSO Steering Group (ISG) coordinating the “CSO Parallel Process to the Ghana High Level Forum Network”. The ISG coordinating CSO Parallel Process to the Ghana High Level Forum network brings together various local, national, regional and international NGOs who are engaged in development issues, particularly the aid architecture and the aid effectiveness agenda. This network is involved in a multi-stakeholder process of engagement leading towards the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, to be held in Accra, Ghana, in September 2008.

This paper is being presented to CSOs around the world for further edits and suggestions, as well as endorsement sign-on. This position paper will then be presented to the High Level Forum III where CSOs have requested to speak to the Ministerial meeting.

The network is keen to develop awareness of the aid effectiveness agenda at the local, national and international level and sees the Ghana HLF as an important opportunity for bringing about discussion and debate and the engagement of CSOs on the said agenda. CSO concerns include among others, governance and accountability, ownership, effective aid delivery, tied aid and conditionality, at the same time ensuring that the core issues of gender equality, human rights and solidarity in the aid architecture are seriously addressed.

The list of current partner networks involved in this initiative include ActionAid International, Afrodad, Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), UK Aid Network, Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), CIVICUS, CONCORD (European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development), Eurodad, IBIS, IBON Foundation, Ghana CSO Aid Effectiveness Forum, SEND (Social Enterprise Development Foundation of West Africa), Reality of Aid, Social Watch, Third World Network, Network Women in Development Europe (WIDE). The International CSO Steering Group is currently under the chairmanship of IBON for the Accra High Level Forum.

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Accountability in Aid Effectiveness


This article takes critical look at accountability, and looks at this in a number of key arenas: accountability of international financial institutions and donors; accountability of governments and CSOs; and accountability among CSOs. It then raises the following questions for further discussion;

1. How can Southern governments and civil society hold Northern governments accountable within the commitments of the Paris Declaration?

2. Do Northern CSOs transmit their own “conditionalities” in their aid relationships with Southern CSO counterparts, while critiquing donor practices in this regard? Is it possible for North-North tensions about where to focus resources to be exported to the South as they experience difficulties in finding Southern partners?

3. Considering that Sector-wide approaches and budget support are becoming very important modalities for channeling aid, how can CSOs ensure that increased donors’ influence over Southern governments and on national policy-making processes remains accountable to the citizenry? and Is their any accountability-checks and dialogue space left for civil society contribution to shape policies as well as offer alternative development models?

4. Critically discuss the North to -South CSOs funding mechanisms and power relations within the context of ensuring mutual accountability?

5. From the content perspective, what do we understand exactly by the term accountability? The right to demand accountability? How can we best promote it within the aid effectiveness agenda? Who assumes what responsibility? Where do we draw the line between (economic) policy interference on the one hand and ineffective or even counterproductive support for incompetent or dictatorial regimes on the other? To what extent should the state provide an account of its actions, and consult citizens prior to taking action in order to enforce rights and responsibilities. Focus on here on three aspects:
a) technical aspects. i.e. information and statistical data- the system for collection and dissemination; type of information shared ( who can use it and how critical is it is to people making demands for accountability ?), administrative competencies etc.
b) political aspects (i.e. Is there guarantee of ownership and participation? Accountability within government, parliamentary control of the executive; scope for civil society action, promotion of citizen-led accountability initiatives etc.)
c) economic aspects (e.g. framework conditions for private investment; taxation system; fiscal discipline; trade liberalisation etc.).

6. From the formal sense, what is the purpose of accountability within the aid effectiveness agenda?), there are basically two aspects to consider:
a) Institutions (e.g. civil society autonomy and freedom of operation, an independent judicial system, functional government departments e.g. Auditor General’s office, parliamentary responsibility for the budget, legal framework for freedom of the media etc.)
b) Government behaviour (e.g. government programme, concrete policies, corruption, exemption from punishment etc.)

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Aid must be more effective…and more accountable too


Anabel Cruz, the Director of Commnicaiton and Development Institute (ICD) in Uruguay and Chair of the Board of CIVICUS presents the key points from an Experts meeting in the Hague called 'Visions and Experiences of Southern Civil Society: Contributions to Improving Aid Architecture, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, which she was invited to. This is one of many high level meetings to be held in the run up to the Accra High Level Forum and the Follow up Conference to Financing for Development in Doha, both in the latter half of 2008. Four key questions tabled at the Experts meeting revealed the main preoccupations of the CSO community. 1) What has happened to the recommendation that donor countries allocate at least 0.7% of their Gross National Income (GNI) to Official Development Assistance (ODA)? 2) What progress has been made on the principles of the Paris Declaration? 3) What kind of alignment and harmonisation of aid is needed? 4)How to monitor and evaluate the Paris Declaration and its impact and outcomes? Consensus amongst the participants was that it is necessary to ensure the participation of civil society at all levels and in all segments of the road to the Accra High Level Forum. This participation is essential if the development goals for developing countries are to be realized and there must be clear mechanisms of participation and inclusion of diverse civil society organisations. Civil society organisations can participate most effectively in the determination of more appropriate indicators and measurements of aid effectiveness.

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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

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