Civil society statement to the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

Tue, 11/29/2011 - 00:00 -- content_manager02

“Better Aid and Development Effectiveness for the World We Want”



28 NOVEMBER, 2011


Since the last High Level Forum in Accra, more than 20,000 civil society organisations (CSOs) - including trade unions, women’s groups, youth groups, faith-based organisations and other social movements – in more than 90 countries, have been consulted on the process, agenda and expected outcomes of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) that is meeting here in Busan. We, the 500 participants at the Busan Global Civil Society Forum convened on 26-28 November, represent thousands of civil society actors and speak with one voice.

1. We value our inclusion as equals at the HLF-4 negotiating table alongside governments and donors; expect to replicate this practice at national levels, welcome the opportunity to join world leaders, governments, donors, parliamentarians, private sector and international institutions to forge a new consensus on effective aid and development effectiveness at the upcoming HLF-4; and note that there are outstanding issues of utmost importance that must be resolved in order to strengthen democratic ownership and true commitment to the final Busan Outcome Document;

2. We reaffirm our role as development actors in our own right, playing a vital role in advancing development effectiveness in order to achieve human rights, gender equality, social justice, decent work, environmental sustainability, peace and an end to corruption and impunity within a solid framework of democratic governance, rights-based approaches, and inclusive policy engagement;

Paris and Accra

3. We note with concern that donors and partner governments have failed to deliver on the majority of their pledges made in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action. This has left unfinished business that must now be completed through bold decisions that outline time-bound and ambitious targets;

We call on donor and partner governments to:

Implement fully and quickly their commitments from Paris and Accra
Advance on and boldly deepen commitments on untied aid, transparency through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard, accountability and conditionality
Utilise and strengthen the capacity of country systems, parliaments and local governments.
Advance the Paris and Accra agendas through strong mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation of deliverables, results and outcomes that are based on human rights norms and standards
Ensure their own accountability to people.

Development and Rights Based Approaches

4. We underscore our conviction that development is not only about economic growth, which on its own has failed to deliver on development outcomes and has too often failed to address poverty, inequalities and environmental degradation. Development is about fulfilling the rights and needs of people and addressing the causes and the symptoms of poverty, inequality and marginalization.

We call upon all development actors to:

Implement development cooperation in ways that are consistent with international agreements on human rights, norms, and standards;
Adopt rights-based policies and approaches that:

are non-discriminatory;
empower the poor, rural people, indigenous people and other marginalized groups to claim all their rights;
guarantee sustainable and equitable development outcomes;
promote democratic ownership, decent work, gender equality, women’s rights and empowerment;

Private Sector

5. While taking note of the potential contribution of the private sector to development, their engagement should be premised on advancing the implementation of development effectiveness and so:

We call on all governments to:

Recognise social partners as development actors and the need for regulation and adherence to international human rights, norms and standards such as the International Labour Standards
Recognize the role of CSOs in shaping private sector engagement in development.
Ensure that the private sector, when participating in development cooperation and programs, is accountable for its contribution to development outcomes
Guarantee that public funds to the private sector adhere to standards of development effectiveness as well as an evaluation of the risks and potentials of the private sector’s engagement

We call on the private sector to:

Ensure development effectiveness while adhering to but not being limited to the implementation of existing international labour standards and international conventions.

Enabling Environment

6. As civil society, since Accra, we have developed for our guidance the Istanbul Principles and the Siem Reap Consensus on the International Framework for CSO Development Effectiveness. Through this framework we commit to improve our own practices and will strengthen our transparency and accountability as well as our contribution to development effectiveness. However, we are confronted with the reality that civil society space has been shrinking despite Accra, and thus:

We call upon governments to:

Ensure minimum standards that guarantee an enabling environment for civil society organisations to fulfil their development roles, at a minimum, in keeping with binding commitments, both in law and in practice, outlined in international and regional instruments that guarantee fundamental rights.

Global Partnership (Aid Architecture)

7. We call for a development cooperation architecture that more effectively promotes equity, justice and a rights based approach to development; considers the present reality of medium and low income countries as providers and recipients of cooperation; guarantees full and genuine multi-stakeholder participation; and deepens the accountability of all actors for meeting their development commitments. We fully support a Global Partnership for Development Effectiveness that pursues these goals, and affirm that the full details of this partnership must be negotiated by June 2012.

We urge all developments actors to support a Global Partnership that:

Rationalises the governance framework in order to eliminate duplication and fragmentation while enhancing harmonisation and coordination;
Creates a forum for inclusive, legitimate, democratic and transparent discussions and decision making on aid and development effectiveness of cooperation;
Guarantees mechanisms for inclusive participation of CSOs in South-South Cooperation, realizing the vital contributions we bring to the process;
Ensures the full participation of civil society as equals in national and global negotiations and processes, promote leadership of local actors, making aid and development more transparent, reliable and effective;
Establishes a strong monitoring mechanism, with indicators and targets to assess progress building on and improving existing aid effectiveness and development indicators and accountability mechanisms, especially Human Rights conventions such as but not limited to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Commits to implement the New Deal in Fragile States with special attention to peoples participation.

With the aforementioned, we hereby reaffirm our resolve to work in new partnership with all development actors for a better just and fair world.

Busan, Republic of Korea

28 November, 2011


Further to the Civil Society Statement on the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, we envision that:

8. Democratic Ownership

As countries are no longer defined simply by states, much less the executive only, but include citizens and other actors, the principle of ownership is linked to the action of building democratic ownership. This includes the effective functioning of all state institutions including parliaments and local governments and the effective engagement of civil society and participation of the public through mandated mechanisms for participatory governance. Such effective engagement of civil society and public participation are only possible through an enabling environment, which must be ensured through minimum standards and based on basic rights and liberties, including freedom of association, freedom of expression, the right to operate free from unwarranted state interference, the right to communicate and cooperate, the right to seek and secure funding, and the state’s duty to protect.

9. Rights based approach

To ensure effective development results focus on outcomes and impact, rights based approaches should be assiduously implemented, including empowerment, inclusion, participatory policies and mechanisms, transparency, affirmative action, and prior informed consent policy among others.

Little progress has ben made on rights discourse and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) note with concern the increase of rights violations and impunity. Concrete steps can be perused that guarantee the implementation of a rights-based approach in development. Adopting safeguards that guarantee the realization of rights in design and implementation processes of development programs and policies is fundamental to the approach. Full and active consultation through inclusive multi-stakeholder fora builds the basis for securing a framework that enables non-discrimination and affirmative action, the use of accountable human rights indicators, informed by disaggregated data for gender, age, and disability. We urge donors and partner governments to implement this framework and adopt human rights budgeting to strengthen existing regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms.

10. Transparency

Full transparency must be implemented in development practice, as the basis for strengthened accountability and good governance. Development stakeholders need to adhere to the highest standards of openness and transparency. Governments and donors must implement fully accessible aid transparency mechanisms, consistent with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standards, and integrated with public budget accountability for all government and donor resources for development.

11. Results and accountability:

All development actors must cooperate to focus on long terms outcomes and impacts as the Busan affirmation of the results agenda of aid and development effectiveness. This provides a strong basis for accountability to the people as redefined in the Busan principles.

Moving from inputs to development outcomes represents a step in the right direction. However, development actors need to take into account the non-linear impacts of results. Responding to these challenges, results must be people-centred, rights-based and people-driven. It must endeavour to strengthen national democratic processes and build upon existing accountability initiatives like the African Peer Review.

While constituting a potentially meaningful planning instrument, scheduling ex-ante result does not guarantee their implementation for which both, donor and partner countries are accountable. Cash on delivery and other results-based financing mechanisms must not be permitted to place the burden of risk solely on partner countries. Safeguarding positive country result and accountability efforts need additional resources and demand driven capacity building, particularly for state-actors.

12. Managing fragmentation and Predictability

Aid fragmentation has increased since Paris as a result of a combination of factors, including the proliferation of donors. There is widespread understanding that actions to reduce fragmentation will lead to a more effective development cooperation and deliver better results to reduce poverty. Any effective initiative to reduce fragmentation, at country and international levels, needs to be time bound and come with concrete targets.

Reducing fragmentation cannot come at expenses of the CSOs’ freedom of initiative. In addition, CSOs assert the importance of delivering on the Accra commitment to improve aid predictability by implementing secure multi-year (three to five year) funding tranches.

Lessons should be learned from best practices to reduce fragmentation through better coordination, such as the GFTAM and IHP+ initiative. We call on all development stakeholders to recognize the potential that CSOs bring and the unique role we play in reaching out to the most marginalized groups and neglected communities in society.

13. Women Right´s, Women Empowerment and Gender Equality

Women’s rights are essential to a people-centred development. The enjoyment of women’s rights should be a central objective of development strategies which should be fully funded, include specific indicators and focus on shifting structural, entrenched power imbalances patriarchal attitudes, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and inequalities. The increasing focus on economic growth as a focus of development has not resulted in empowerment of women in all their diversity, particularly the most marginalised. A rights-based approach to development is imperative to drive development for women. Women’s rights, including women’s empowerment are cornerstones for sustainable development and this should be reflected in this interrelation in the outcome document, building blocks and any political initiatives to be agreed in Busan.

14. Capacity Development

As an essential component for successful development effectiveness, capacity development must be integral to the whole range of development cooperation and managed and provided through multi-stakeholder arrangements, especially taking into account the participation of civil society. Capacity development must be seen as a comprehensive change process that does not only involve training and technology transfer but creating and fostering the conditions for self-reliant development. Technical assistance must be demand-driven, needs-based, country-led and build on existing capacity. Furthermore, efforts need to be based on long-term and flexible partnerships, tapping local expertise as a preferential option including indigenous and traditional sources of knowledge and practice.that are important to build sustainable development.

15. Effective Institutions and Country Systems

Using country systems by default is a prerequisite for ownership and more sustainable development results. However, country systems should not be narrowly defined as with the Paris Declaration indicator, and go beyond executive and centralized systems, that include multiple stakeholders such as parliaments, public service providers and civil servants, CSO and local authorities at the decentralized level. Donors need to remove their legal and political constraints for the use of country systems and report on their actions taken. Reforms towards building effective institutions need to be owned and driven by the people, not solely defined by governments or imposed through donors. Donors should refrain from imposing conditionalities, frameworks and reporting requirements, which weaken and burden institutions. Efforts must result in development effective institutions, financial management and procurement systems, which utilize public funds to reduce poverty and inequality.

16. Peace and Development in Fragile States

CSOs welcome the New Deal for engagement in Fragile States and call on all governments to endorse it in Busan. We urge governments to pursue the new ‘Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals’ in democratically owned, inclusive ways. They should also commit at HLF4 to be accountable to conflict affected people for achieving the results that matter most to them: less exposure to violence, greater confidence in their security, equal access to justice, services and livelihoods, and political freedom and inclusion. Donor governments also need to address their poor progress in implementing the fragile states principles - particularly on ‘doing no harm’ and supporting civil society to play a full role in peace-building and development processes. Especially in fragile contexts, governments need to uphold their commitments to humanitarian principles and an enabling environment for civil society and civic participation.

17. Climate finance

Climate finance must gradually shift from aid flows to compensatory, obligatory and rights-based Climate Finance transfers with clear commitments based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and time-bound targets. It is indispensible that climate change finance is people-centred, giving voice to the poorest and most marginalized in society.

Climate finance needs to be a) additional, transparent, adequate and predictable, b) scaled up yearly, c) primarily come from public sourcing with private flows only contributing as supplementary, d) distributed according to countries’ needs rather than donor interests or priorities.

Both donor country (or fund manager, in the case of future GCF funding windows) and recipient country are accountable for climate action results and must be transparent in their operations, while adhering to mutually agreed commitments.

The governance of climate finance must be legitimate, effective and democratic. Climate finance transfers should primarily be under the authority of the United Nations System with accompanying reforms in the governance of UN-managed funds to ensure civil society participation and facilitate access of communities most vulnerable to climate change.

18. Private sector

The private sector must adhere to aid effectiveness principles when using Official Development Assistant (ODA). As a minimum standard, private sector engagement in development needs to conform to OECD and UN guidelines on corporate behaviour and governance. Private sector entities that are recipients of ODA must demonstrate clear development orientation and financial additionality to gain access to funds, based on an evaluation of risks and potential conflict of interest through fully participatory and inclusive frameworks.

All work of the private sector must be framed and regulated by the principles and standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and promote wealth redistribution measures, as well as guarantee transparent mechanisms to avoid tax evasion and tax havens.

Governments need to ensure that private sector engagement does not crowed out government responsibilities to provide social services and prioritize the support for the social economy, micro and medium enterprise and domestic industries that contribute to equitable and sustainable development. Observing development effectiveness principles, donor and partner governments must invest in an enabling environment for civil society and the private sector to contribute to development through multi-stakeholder dialogues, including social partners, civil society and the informal sector.

19. Agriculture

The majority of the world's poor live in rural areas, with millions of peasants and food producers being deprived of land and seed rights and access to basic agricultural services. New aid architecture needs to address this missing link in development effectiveness and promote rights-based management of agriculture and rural development programs. It must promote food sovereignty; sustainable environment; does away with tied aid and all other policies that result in the commercialization of farms, landgrabbing and human rights violations. Rural people's voices must be heard and their will reflected in planning, implementing and monitoring aid and development policies that impact on their lives.

20. South-South Cooperation

People need to be at the heart of South-South Cooperation, led by a drive for realizing human rights and poverty reduction. Based on the principles of solidarity and mutual benefit, South-South cooperation should foster conditions for self-reliant and sustainable development.

21. Conditionality

CSO reaffirms that donor policy conditions continue to be a controversial issue that was relevant in Accra however disappeared at Busan. Policy conditionality fundamentally undermines democratic ownership and the right to development. Scope for alternative and nationally developed policy choices should be guaranteed. Only fiduciary conditions, which are negotiated in a transparent and inclusive manner with mechanisms for public monitoring, ought to be attached to development assistance. Donor and partner governments share international human rights obligations to respect gender equality, women’s rights, decent work, children’s rights, the rights of indigenous people, and the rights of migrant people.

22. Untying Aid and Local Procurement

CSOs urge donors to untie all aid, including food aid and technical assistance and prioritizing local and regional procurement. Local procurement is a prerequisite for impacting the development of a national productive sector, as aid funds are retained in programme countries. Procurement policies should stress impacts on people living in poverty, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and decent work, in compliance with ILO Conventions.

23. Persons with Disabilities

Busan and beyond should contribute to ensure that all international development cooperation, is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities in accordance with the internationally agreed commitments on human rights and disability (article 32 convention of the rights of persons with disabilities). Concretely this means ensuring, through safeguards, adequate procurement policies and monitoring, that development programs and policies do not build or perpetuate barriers of discrimination against persons with disabilities, however support the participation and empowerment of such persons.