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Gearing up for Accra: Setting a new agenda for action
This goal is at the forefront of discussions as donors and developing countries work together to refine the commitments that will be endorsed in the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) at the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (2-4 September). This action plan, developed through a broad-based process of dialogue among the key actors – and led by developing countries – will step up progress toward reaching agreed development targets.
The AAA will draw on the results of several key studies – highlighted throughout this edition of DACnews – that are charting progress since the Paris Declaration was signed. By identifying critical bottlenecks and means of overcoming them, it will take the implementation of the Paris Declaration forward at a much faster rate.
At Accra, developing and donor country partners will have several key concerns at the top of their list as they look at how they will work together to step up progress toward the 2015 Millennium Development Goals:
Effective aid by 2010: What it will take
It is not an easy task. Changing practices in international aid means reshaping deep-seated behaviours, rechanneling complex processes and building capacity where it is weak or even lacking. New incentive structures will have to be put in place for donors and partner countries alike. And this process – the process of development – requires time, focused attention and unyielding political will.
This is why the Paris compact includes a commitment to closely
monitor progress through periodic surveys. The first one, done in 2006,
created a baseline against which to measure progress. The 2008 survey, which
has just been completed, will underscore what needs to be done to reach the
Paris Declaration targets for 2010.
Fifty-four aid-recipient countries participated in the 2008 monitoring round. Their input shows significant advances in some countries and areas, confirming that real change is possible when resolute, joint efforts are made. What’s more, the workshops and seminars organised in connection with the 2006 and 2008 surveys around the world have widened the circle of countries and stakeholders taking an active interest in improving aid effectiveness. One indication of the impact of these efforts is the large increase in the number of countries that agreed to participate in the 2008 survey – 54 countries in 2008, as compared to 34 in 2006 – and the energy and seriousness with which they have contributed to it.
Yet the results from the survey show that progress is not uniform across countries and donors, and many still register no change against the baseline established in 2005. The message is clear: greater efforts and more consistency in turning principles into actions are essential. More of the same will not deliver the transformation to which the Paris Declaration signatories have committed themselves.
The information from the monitoring survey will be critical in ensuring that donors and developing countries agree - when they meet in Accra - on the actions that are most likely to help them hit the mark.
Is aid going where it is needed most?
This is being done through an annual survey, using a new measure (“country programmable aid” or CPA) to gauge the
amount of aid that can be programmed at recipient country level. In 2005 –
the baseline year – CPA amounted to USD 60 billion. USD 47 billion
of this was from DAC bilateral donors, equalling 46% of their gross bilateral
This information will not only track delivery on donors’ commitments; it will also make it clear where there are resource gaps, as well as opportunities for improving co-ordination in each aid-recipient country. It will also help to improve the medium-term predictability of aid, a key target of the Paris Declaration.
The 33 donors covered by the first survey, concluded in early 2008, provided information on forward spending to 2010, covering 56% of total CPA from all donors. Estimates were made for the balance.
With respect to delivering on global commitments, the survey results show that USD 21 billion of the USD 50 billion promised are already delivered or programmed into the donors’ forward spending plans. But on the assumption that debt relief and humanitarian aid return to 2004 levels, this leaves nearly USD 30 billion in 2004 dollars - about USD 34 billion in 2007 dollars - still to be programmed into donor budgets if 2010 commitments are to be fully met.
A gap to close: DAC members’ total net ODA and gross CPA for 2001–2010
There has been slightly better progress on delivering on promised increases in aid to Africa. In 2005, donors committed to increase this funding by USD 25 billion (in 2004 dollars) by 2010. At the half-way point, net ODA to Africa is estimated to have increased by some USD 7 billion (since 2004). The survey shows a further USD 4 billion programmed for 2008 to 2010. But this still leaves some USD 14 billion outstanding, assuming debt relief and humanitarian aid return to 2004 levels.
More aid projected for sub-Saharan
Africa, but well below commitments
Finally, with regard to improving aid predictability at the country level, the survey provides a
broad indication of trends in future aid levels for 153 partner countries. It
shows that 102 countries can expect a real increase in their aid by 2010, 33
of them by USD 100 million or more. In contrast, 51 countries are faced
with a decrease in aid by 2010. For some, such as China, Egypt, India and
Thailand, this reflects a diminishing need for aid. Yet eight less-developed
countries and four fragile states are each expected to have drops of over USD 20
million, giving cause for concern.
The survey is particularly useful for reviewing aid allocation across countries at the global level. Combined with the assessment of existing aid allocation patterns, it can help to address the existing fragmentation of aid and provide essential information to take forward action on improving the division of labour among donors.
Actions for Accra: The DAC
High Level Meeting
Against this background, they committed to accelerate progress by
taking decisive actions in six priority areas identified by partner
Food prices: More room for
A POVNET task team – comprising DAC members and multilateral organisations (CGIAR, FAO, IFAD, WFP, World Bank) – was formed to develop guidance on how this type of growth can be brought about. As in many other areas, the new agenda they have proposed implies changes in donors’ approaches; more of the same will not do it. While agriculture has to be seen as an important contributor to economic progress and as a private sector activity in which it is profitable to invest, the strategies for achieving this change need to be set in a broader context of structural adaptation.
Implementation workshops held recently in Cambodia, Ghana and Mali are demonstrating the relevance of the POVNET guidance on promoting growth that will benefit the poor. At the same time, they highlight some of the implementation challenges donors face. In Ghana, for example, the cultivation of rubber is potentially a profitable, long-term activity for smallholders, but the required long-term financing was not available until donors stepped in. In Cambodia, the low priority given to the maintenance of rural roads has resulted in hotels near Angkor Wat flying in food supplies from Thailand, rather than buying rice grown in neighbouring regions. In Mali, there is considerable scope to improve smallholders’ productivity in the agriculture sector, but the local market for supply and demand needs to be better organised.
The issue of current high food prices has different impacts on poor
people – depending on whether they are producers or consumers – and
on poor countries – according to the degree to which farmers are
connected to international markets. Policy responses will need to
provide important, short-term humanitarian and food aid urgently.
They will also need to go beyond food aid in the medium to long term
to promote not only stronger agricultural growth, but also the
broad-based structural changes and economic growth needed to improve
the purchasing power of food buyers and, in particular, the poor.
France: A key player in development co-operation
What is a Peer Review?
We’re in this together. The global nature of our most pressing environmental problems and economic globalisation require enhanced international environmental co-operation. This is the subject of this article by OECD Secretary-General in the May 2008 issue of World Conservation, the IUCN magazine.
Service Delivery in Fragile Situations: Key Concepts, Findings and Lessons. In fragile situations, the state often fails to provide core services such as health, education and water to the poor and, at times, may not be seen by parts of the population as a legitimate provider of security and justice. This publication identifies the challenges and dilemmas the international community and its partners face in delivering services in fragile situations and offers practical guidance on how to overcome such challenges.
Effective Aid Management: Twelve Lessons from DAC Peer Reviews. Peer reviews have brought many issues in aid management to the attention of the Development Assistance Committee. This report brings together twelve key lessons learned or reconfirmed over the past five years – in strategy, organisational management and delivery – on how to achieve development results.
Evaluation of the Implementation of the Paris Declaration: Synthesis Report. This evaluation assesses the relevance and effectiveness of the Paris Declaration, its contribution to aid effectiveness and ultimately to development effectiveness. It considers qualitative aspects, building on - and complementing - the quantitative information obtained through the monitoring of the Paris Declaration. It also helps to answer questions such as: how did it happen; why does it work or not work; and what are the reasons?
Statement of Progress on Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation. The annual DAC High Level Meeting held in May endorsed a Statement of Progress on Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Development Co-operation. The Statement aims to highlight the progress achieved by DAC donors in building climate change adaptation into their operations and outlines key challenges for the future.
Policy Statement on Strategic Environmental Assessment. This Policy Statement was also adopted by members of the DAC High Level Meeting. This tool, which is being applied by many donors and partners, will improve policy making and planning by incorporating environmental considerations into high-level decision making and by opening new mechanisms for intergovernmental and societal dialogue to reach consensus on development priorities.
OECD Ministerial Declaration on Policy Coherence for Development. At their meeting on 4-5 June 2008, OECD Ministers adopted this Declaration which is significant in many ways. At a critical moment of globalisation it reinforces the point that policy coherence for development is a key component for promoting development and responding to global development challenges. Aid remains an important driver of poverty reduction, but to accelerate progress the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to continue efforts to ensure that development concerns are taken into account on issues that go beyond aid. The Declaration confirms that in areas such as economic and financial policies, trade, agriculture, migration, environment and science and technology, coherence is necessary, and notes - for the first time in the OECD context – areas such as energy and security.
The OECD-DAC is the main global forum where bilateral donors, alongside multilateral donors, work together to achieve real development progress for poorer countries.
Inside the DAC. What is the DAC? How does it function? This brochure will give you all the answers.
More information about OECD Development work.
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