The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
Author: Roberto Bissio
The report analyses the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PD) according to the criteria agreed by the Working Group on Right to Development (RtD).
While the PD does not deal with the commitments spelled out in MDG8 (trade, finance, debt, increased aid), it can indirectly contribute to them. However, while relatively minor gains in efficiency could be obtained from avoiding duplications in delivery and simplifying reporting, the main causes of aid inefficiency (i.e. tied aid and unpredictability of aid income) are not properly addressed. There is a danger that the political momentum around the PD might deviate attention from the need of building global development partnerships around the commitments of MDG8.
The report concludes that the PD does not constitute in itself a partnership, as it brings together actors with extremely asymmetrical conditions and fails to provide institutional mechanisms to address the asymmetries in power. Also, human rights, including the RtD, are not mentioned in the PD. While some of its principles (national ownership and mutual accountability) can be supportive of the RtD, the practical implementation of the PD and the down to earth objectives can work in practice against RtD and erode national democratic processes.
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The impact of the war on terror on aid flows
The war on terror had had an impact on aid and is undermining development policy. Aid decisions are increasingly being weighted in terms of security and foreign policy rather than on humanitarian goals.
Although aid budgets are increasing, the aftermath of the war on terror may absorb all of the increase and more. Some donors are already cutting programmes elsewhere to pay for their commitments for rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq. This means that there will be less assistance for the poor.
The war on terror is like a new Cold War where everything is subordinated to a single purpose. NGOs that donâ€™t fit in with this purpose may face problems.
The increasing subordination of development programmes to foreign policy in the EU and elsewhere may lead to the millennium development goals being replaced by questions about security.
The lack of an adequate definition of terrorism has led States to define their opponents as terrorists and to use very broad definitions in new legislation. The new legislation is sometimes so broad that it can and is used against community based organisations.
The failure of developed countries to uphold basic human rights standards, on such issues as detention without trial means that they are poorly placed to raise human rights issues in third countries.
Advocates for change not only risk persecution from repressive governments using anti-terrorism legislation against them, but also from conservative elements within communities who may wrongly perceive advocacy for change as part of a wider anti-Islamic agenda.
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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 â€œbottom upâ€ 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 yearâ€™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
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