Draft outcome document from HLF is inadequate, says BetterAid

Fri, 07/08/2011 - 00:00 -- content_manager02

BetterAid coordinating group members are currently in Paris representing civil society in meetings of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness at the OECD. Together with other development actors, they are reviewing the implementation of existing aid effectiveness commitments as included in the Paris Declaration, and discussing the draft outcome document from the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to take place in Busan, Republic of Korea, in November.

In response to the First Draft of the Busan Outcome Document, BetterAid released a statement claiming that the document does not address key challenges, findings and core messages.

The statement calls on the Working Party to:

Produce a multi-stakeholder evidence-based outcome document;
Go beyond “aid effectiveness plus” to genuine “ development effectiveness”;
Deepen and strengthen Paris and Accra;
Put inclusive and democratic ownership at the heart of “development effectiveness”;
Endorse the Istanbul Principles, acknowledge the International Framework and promote an enabling environment;
Use aid for sustainable development, not as an engine of growth for the private sector.

Read the statement below or download it here:BetterAid statement on Draft HLF4 Outcome

Statement from BetterAid with respect to the First Busan Outcome Document

BetterAid, appreciates the work of the Co-Chairs of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness (WP-EFF) in drafting this thought-provoking First Outcome Document for the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

While we note the language reflects a number of civil society concerns and positions, it does not adequately address key challenges, findings and core messages. The following statement raises crucial areas of concern for civil society.[1] We want the WP-EFF to:

Produce a multi-stakeholder evidence-based outcome document;
Go beyond “aid effectiveness plus” to genuine “development effectiveness”;
Deepen and strengthen Paris and Accra;
Put inclusive and democratic ownership at the heart of “development effectiveness”;
Endorse the Istanbul Principles, acknowledge the International Framework and promote an enabling environment;
Use aid for sustainable development, not as an engine of growth for the private sector.

Contextual issues

Produce a multi-stakeholder evidence-based outcome document –While welcoming evidence generated by both the Independent Evaluation and the Survey on Progress, to a large extent the draft Outcome Document ignores the huge wealth of work and evidence generated over the past three years by the broader Multi-Stakeholder process. The findings and recommendations of the various Task Teams, Clusters and civil-society led processes should be more systematically incorporated into any future drafts. We appreciate that the Co-Chairs seem to have initiated a process to do just this.

Go beyond “aid effectiveness plus” to genuine “development effectiveness” – “Development Effectiveness” should not be confused with economic growth. Rather, “development effectiveness” promotes sustainable change that addresses poverty, inequality and discrimination. With respect to aid, development effectiveness is understood as policies and practices by development actors that deepen the impact of aid and development cooperation on the capacities of poor and marginalized people to realize their rights and achieve the internationally agreed development goals (IADGs). To realize development effectiveness, measurable commitments must be taken to improve the effectiveness of aid and its impact on the lives of all people. Human rights, gender equality, decent work and environmental sustainability are at its core.

Deepen and strengthen Paris and Accra –First and foremost, the Busan Outcome Document must build on the Paris Declaration (PD) and the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) and the IADGs, and ensure that prior undertakings and commitments are both met and deepened. Both existing and additional commitments should fall within clear inclusive accountability frameworks at the country and global levels. Secondly, the Working Party’s engagement with new development actors should not be at the expense of progress achieved to date on Paris and Accra. Beyond deepening Paris and Accra, the Outcome Document should ensure that any principles and standards (“building blocks” or “side agreements”) are consistent with the IADGs and human rights agreements, conventions and standards, and that these principles guide the interventions of the range of “new actors” in international development. Any future development architecture needs to be inclusive, democratic, rights-based, and accountable. The United Nations has a crucial role to play in this new architecture, in particular the UN Development Cooperation Forum.

Primary areas of concern

Beyond these contextual issues, BetterAid also wishes to highlight three primary areas of concern:

Put inclusive and democratic ownership at the heart of “development effectiveness” - Placing people at the heart of development through inclusive and democratic ownership is essential for a rights-based approach to development cooperation. This means citizens’ voices and their concerns and rights must be the primary basis for national development plans and actions and are to be respected by all actors. It means promoting meaningful democratic ownership of development policies, planning and actions through full transparent and inclusive engagement with all development stakeholders – national and local governments, parliamentarians, civil society, independent media and the private sector actors. It also means moving beyond just mutual accountability between donor and partner governments, to a multi-faceted accountability to all stakeholders engaged in development, in particular the poor and marginalized, especially women.

Endorse the Istanbul Principles, acknowledge the International Framework and promote an enabling environment - The draft outcome document needs to reaffirm CSOs as independent development actors in their own right, as already committed in the AAA, and to differentiate CSOs from other actors such as the private sector. Since 2008, civil society has defined a normative framework to guide their work: the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness and the International Framework on CSO Development Effectiveness. We encourage the Outcome Document to endorse the Principles and acknowledge the Framework, and for donor and partner governments to work with civil society to put these principles into action by promoting an environment that enables their implementation. In Accra, governments promised to work with CSOs to provide a more enabling environment and they have not done so – in fact civil society has documented extensively deteriorating conditions in many countries. The Outcome Document must reaffirm minimum standards for government and donor policies, laws, regulations and practices that create an enabling environment for CSOs.

Use aid for sustainable development, not as an engine of growth for the private sector - Aid should be prioritized for lifting people out of poverty, to support human rights and sustainable livelihoods, and to promote productive economic development focused on job creation and Decent Work. To this end, the Outcome Document needs to consider what is an appropriate role for the private sector in the context of aid and international development, in line with the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action, and how the private sector will contribute to poverty eradication and sustainable development, support democratic ownership, gender equality, decent work, human rights standards and the realization of the IADGs. Social dialogue should be promoted as the key instrument to engage in-country dialogue with social partners on the promotion of sustainable enterprises and the creation of an enabling environment for inclusive growth. Finally, private sector support should not undermine the legitimate and pivotal role of the state in providing essential public goods and services to its people.

BetterAid reiterates the imperative of placing people at the heart of development and the focus of development cooperation on the impact on their lives. International development cooperation must promote democratic ownership and human rights standards, and squarely address the underlying causes of poverty and inequality in the world today.