(HN, November 30, 2011) This week approximately 3,000 delegates are in Busan, South Korea for the opening of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness
Representatives of NGO’s, the private sector and philanthropic organizations are among the delegates as are officials such as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Britain’s International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The purpose of this forum is to evaluate the state of development aid and negotiate measures to improve the quality and management of that support by partner countries. In addition to emerging donors, including Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Russia, the delegates will try to achieve a consensus on the delivery of aid.
Over the past decade, three international meetings on development assistance have convened by the OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The targets set at those meetings, in Rome, Paris and Accra, were aimed at improving the results of aid. Delegates in Busan will focus their discussions on whether and how to stick to them.
The so-called Paris Declaration principles is a commitment by donors to harmonize their development plans in an effort to cut costs and avoid duplication.
To maintain a level of accountability recipient nations have agreed to improve their financial management and procurement systems. Donors and their national partners also agreed to adopt a system to measure results and hold each other accountable.
Approximately $129 billion of aid is given yearly to the developing world, of this about on third is estimated to be tied to the purchase of goods and services in donor countries. A network of NGOs from nineteen European countries, the European Network on Debt and Development, estimates that tied aid reduces the purchasing power of aid by 40%.
The European Union, Japan, and the United States as well as several other OECD members continue to support tying aid to development. Supporters say ensuring the involvement of businesses from donor countries in development projects makes it easier to earn public support for foreign aid.
Delegates to the Forth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness will be looking at the adoption of a system to improve the tracking of aid flows and monitor impact, called the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Countries including France and Japan, prefer the current system, which activists say is insufficient; saying that the failure to adopt the new system will be a blow to donor support for greater transparency.