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Will development aid work after the Accra High-Level Forum?


05 Sep 2008


Social Europe & Jobs

Brussels, 04 September 2008 - Over 1000 representatives from governments of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and developing countries have come together in Accra, Ghana, 2-4 September, to discuss development policies and agree on an action plan to improve aid effectiveness (Accra Agenda for Action).

On the table are key demands from Southern governments to reduce harmful economic policy conditionality which damages democratic processes in their countries, untie aid so they are not forced to purchase goods and services from donor countries, and increase the predictability of aid commitments.

As discussions take place, representatives of civil society present in Accra are engaged in a series of networking and advocacy activities.

The Caritas Internationalis delegation is headed by Rene Grotenhuis, Director of Caritas Netherlands (Cordaid) and includes, among other Caritas staff, Blandine Bouniol - Policy Officer for International Cooperation (Caritas Europa/Caritas Internationalis).

The 2008 Monitoring Report on the Paris Declaration released last week, showed dismal progress by donors on almost all of the Paris Declaration indicators and targets. Yet, donor representatives at the forum have so far failed to acknowledge the complete lack of progress made since their first performance measurement in 2005.

"Aid should not be judged by quantity, but by what it delivers on effective development", had declared Rene Grotenhuis before the forum while pointing at the necessity to go even beyond the Paris Declaration and take into consideration the actual impact on the situation of poor while measuring aid effectiveness. 

For Blandine Bouniol, it is surprising that the Members of the European Parliament finally decided not to attend in Accra, arguing that they have not been enough involved in the process leading to the Paris Declaration. Their absence has been noted throughout the different phases of the meeting and some delegates have deplored the lack of participation from their side. 

As the forum is coming to an end, Rene Grotenhuis fears that "without a real commitment for positive changes, Accra will become a representation of the tale of The Emperor's New Clothes, where government representatives will say that everything is fine and NGOs will point out that the emperor is naked".

      Annalisa Mazzella
      Advocacy and Communication Officer
      Caritas Europa       Tel: +32 (0)2 235 03 94


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