Thursday, September 4, 2008

Donor governments continue to ignore developing country demands for aid reform The Better Aid coalition calls for concrete commitments and timelines a

As ministers arrive in Accra for meetings of the reform of aid, donors continue to block Southern governments’ pleas for reform.

Governments have gathered at the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Ghana to agree an agenda for action for improving aid. New evidence from the OECD shows that donors in particular are not meeting their side of the bargain. Negotiations have stalled as some donor governments, particularly Japan and the United States, are refusing to agree real actions to meet the commitments.

“If developing country concerns are not genuinely addressed, then donors are paying little more than lip-service to the promises of partnership,” says Yao Graham of Third World Network Africa, “Once again we see global power relations being reinforced and the demands of civil society and developing country governments sidelined.”

All governments present in Accra accept that developing countries need to determine their own priorities if aid is to work. But the proposals made by developing country governments to reform aid are being ignored in last minute closed-door negotiations.

Developing countries have set out their key priorities where they want to see real action.
• Removing harmful policy conditionality that undermines democratic processes
• Ensuring aid doesn’t bypass domestic processes and scrutiny
• Making aid much more predictable over the medium term so that they can plan effectively
• Untying all aid from the purchase of rich country goods and services, including food aid and technical assistance. 75% of food aid comes directly from rich countries, undermining local markets and developing countries are often forced to contract expensive consultants from donor countries rather than drawing on their own expertise.

The Better Aid coalition of civil society organisations is calling for Ministers to agree concrete commitments and deadlines for delivering on these commitments. More fine words will not suffice.
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