News / Africa

International Community Pledges to Increase Aid Efficiency

China and many emerging countries agree to work with industrialized counties to create new global partnership for development

Multimedia

Audio
William Eagle

A declaration by the delegates said the partnership would be new and inclusive and would represent both recipient countries and members of the OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  It said, “The new partnership will offer an open platform, embracing diversity and providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge and regular reviews of the process.”

Included in that diversity are emerging countries that are already establishing significant aid and investment programs, like Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. But according to the final document, their adherence to the principles followed by members of the OECD are not binding. The goals include the coordination of donor aid programs to avoid duplication and promote greater efficiency and transparency in the use of aid.Signatories also agree to support efforts by recipient countries to design their own poverty programs and to untie aid from conditions set by donor countries.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers the keynote address during the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers the keynote address during the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea.

China and other countries have endorsed the document.

But OECD officials called it a starting point, and Britain’s international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said it represents an acceptance of common goals and shared commitments, “ships,” he said, “moving in the same direction, albeit with different speeds.”

Different Traditions

Brian Atwood is the former head of USAID and the chair of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD. He said the agreement takes into account the differences in approach to aid of the southern countries, especially with regard to overseas development assistance (ODA).

"It’s made clear in the document," he said, "that the tradition of south-south cooperation is a different one. We acknowledge that, but we have said as well what’s really important are results at the country level, and we agree to coordinate our activities at that level. The enforcement mechanism for that are the countries themselves. They want to own their programs, to develop their own strategies and have donors and providers to work together to get results. So we will continue to have differences in approach."

The south-south providers do not want the same kinds of regimes that we use [to measure and deliver aid] in the north and the [Development Assistance Committee of the OECD] as in counting the volume of ODA, and agreeing not to tie our aid [to conditions set by donors]. But we did not expect they would agree to that. What we had to struggle to get was  to get an agreement for a global partnership. That’s the achievement of Busan.

Third-country cooperation

Atwood says OECD countries and members of the global south are already working together in what he calls “triangular” efforts in third, or host, countries.

"There’s been a very big increase in triangular programs," he said, "where a host country will work [for example with] the Chinese and Americans, or the Brazilians, who work with the Mexicans and Americans. We’ve seen a big increase in those kinds of programs. We’d like to evaluate them and look at best practices. That’s positive. Just the fact that you’re working on the ground with another country coming from another tradition is a learning exercise and creates convergence."

Fragile states

Delegates to the meeting also agreed to focus aid on strengthening fragile states with weak governmental institutions, like South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many are concerned that they will not have the capacity to reach the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, which aim for drastic reductions in poverty and maternal and child mortality. Atwood described the type of assistance that a coalition of fragile states, called the G7+, wanted from the forum.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 4th High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. He expressed optimism about Africa's future, saying eight economies from sub-Saharan Africa have more than doubled in size.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 4th High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. He expressed optimism about Africa's future, saying eight economies from sub-Saharan Africa have more than doubled in size.

"They want a new set of goals for their particular needs," he said. "They want to prioritize legitimate politics, which means helping them with elections and setting up parliaments; people’s security, which relates to people feeling secure in their own homes, without having the military around; and a justice system that works…all of these are goals for them. They want country-led and owned programs and they want the capacity to carry out the programs."

Improved transparency

The conference also highlighted OECD’s progress on transparency, country ownership of projects and support for women.

The United States agreed to join the International Aid Transparency Initiative, an effort to regularly disclose and detail aid commitments and disbursements. The initiative also supports improved information systems for managing aid.

Secretary of State Clinton said one recent example of US commitment to transparency is the recent launch of a web site to follow U.S. aid investments, the Foreign Assistance Dashboard. It’s located at www.foreignassistance.gov. She also announced a new joint effort by several governments and international organizations called EDGE, or Evidence and Data for Gender Equality. The initiative will provide data on women’s entrepreneurship and assets. U.S. officials say the information should help to reform credit policies, ownership and inheritance laws that discriminate against women.

Recipient countries have also shown progress in opening their budgets to scrutiny and in designing their own aid programs. This year Kenya unveiled its “open data initiative,” which allows the public to access budget and spending information.

"I was impressed with Cape Verde’s system using modern technology to keep track of the (aid) flows coming into their country, using it to measures results," said Atwood. "The Rwandans have done a wonderful job with a strong development unit where they do strategic planning and coordination and they are in the lead – telling donors what they want done. Ghana has a strong system as well."

Tied Aid

Atwood said the conference also highlighted progress among the OECD members on separating aid from conditions set by donors.

He said today about 70 percent of aid has been untied from those demands. He said many recognize that more must be done to cut costs and improve efficiency by using local sources for material and services and by having open-bidding for projects by companies and non-profits.

But Atwood says untying aid completely from donors’ domestic needs may be difficult. That’s because linking foreign aid to, for example U.S.-made goods and services helps ensure support for foreign aid among the tax-paying public. Still, he expects aid will be completely untied over the next few years.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs