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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 myth of NGO superiority

By Peter Nunnenkamp

In this article, the author replies to Kishore Mahbubani’s article -The myth of western aid- by stressing that it is easy to lament the stinginess and selfishness of official donors. At the same time, he points out that there is also a myth around the performance of Non Guvernamental Organisations (NGOs).
’While donors provide critics with the data needed to expose the flaws of official development assistance (ODA), it is different with NGOs. Their aid is certainly relevant, but its allocation has hardly been mapped, let alone explained. The main reason is that sufficiently detailed data are hard to come by. After all, NGOs probably do not want critical analysis to tarnish their image of being superior donors.
Recent research suggests that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) do not provide better targeted or more efficient aid than state-run development agencies. They do not seem to even try to outperform the latter by focussing on the neediest or by working in particularly difficult environments.’

To read the full article, click here

Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness – Synthesis of Findings and Recommendations

Author: Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness, OECD-DAC

This document summarizes the main findings and recommendations emerging from our work and consultations as members of the OECD-DAC’s Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness. We directs these recommendations to a broad community of stakeholders, including developing country governments, donors, and civil society organizations (CSOs) from developing and developed countries. [Executive Summary]
The document establishes 3 sets of recommendations:
• The first one is to recognize importance of CSOs as development actors, and the special character of their contributions. While the Paris Declaration (PD) already recognizes the role of CSOs as democratic actors, the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) should go further by encouraging stakeholders to define the conditions required for the voice of civil society to be as effective as it can be.
• The second set of recommendations refers to a broader interpretation of the principles from the PD suggesting that its interpretation in a multi-actor world including CSOs requires a richer understanding of the aid effectiveness principles.
• The third topic refers to the “CSO effectiveness” or the ability of CSOs to deliver development results. Stakeholders should promote CSO effectiveness as a joint responsibility.

To read the full paper, click here

NGO statement on Financing for Development (FfD) Chapter IV


In the NGO statement for the review of chapter 4 of the Financing for Development (FfD) meeting -currently underway at the UN- Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) called upon increasing the volume and maximizing the poverty reduction impact of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
They claim that global ODA figures have fallen, and very few countries have met the target of 0.7% of GNP. They also allege that improvements in aid effectiveness have been patchy and piecemeal both at the global and national levels.
They contribute with 13 measures that donor and recipient countries should commit to. They also demand from the World Bank and other regional development banks greater initiatives towards democratic governance as well as fully respect of the principles of aid effectiveness, with a particular emphasis on country ownership and leadership over national development strategies.

To read the full statement, click here

The Better Aid Blog


The BetterAid blog has been launched, the new space for stories on how rich countries and multilateral institutions spend their aid money.

As part of the Better Aid website, this new blog is a collaborative effort that privileges the inside stories, gossip and juicy information on development assistance.

This is how you could participate...
1)Become an active author! You are encouraged you to contribute with your views and stories. If you’re interested, please let Rita Guerreiro ( know and she can give you the instructions on how to post an article.
2)If you don’t want to be an author, you can still contact them if you hear any news or gossip. They would love to publish the information you have.
3)Read and comment. Check the blog regularly and comment on posts. Discussions are very welcome, so feel free to make your comments and to be involved in conversations.
4)Recommend this blog to colleagues, networks and friends and put a link to it on your website.

Although the main interface of the blog is in English, you are encouraged you to write in French or Spanish.

Click here to go to the blog

The impact of the war on terror on aid flows

Source: ActionAid

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 don’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.

Click here to read the full report

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