The Fourth High Level Forum (HLF) on Aid Effectiveness (29 November – 1 December ) has the significant challenge of building upon agreements from HLFs, in Rome, Paris and Accra that have (at best) a variable record of delivering real results. So why do we think Busan is any different? As potentially the most significant international aid meeting of the past decade, the truth is, it needs to be and the tentative signs are that it is.
At the meeting, over 2000 policy makers and practitioners and over 100 government ministers are putting the spotlight on development aid and its role in reducing poverty. And as they look, they will find a bright spot. To date, 26 organisations, together accounting for around just over half of global aid spending, are now International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) signatories. In addition, 22 developing countries have endorsed IATI, and other organisations and developing countries participate as observers. As a debate on the next steps to improve transparency of information is one of high level discussions happening as we speak, it is pleasing to report there is already some positive news. With the right application, commitments at these forums really can matter.
IATI aims to make information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand, and to help donors and recipients meet their commitments on aid transparency. It has created a common standard for the publication of aid information and has produced an online registry where aid information published by donors can be located.
Development Initiatives (DI), through aidinfo, has a presence at the Busan meeting and is helping to make sure that IATI receives the attention it needs to improve aid transparency on a global scale.
Busan’s legacy in this area will be how well it sets a compelling agenda for the future of transparency whilst the remit of the Millenium Development Goals (MDG’s) enter their final three years, donor countries undergo financial retrenchment at home causing pressures on aid budgets (and public support), and new and emerging non-DAC countries rightfully take an ever more influential role in negotiations and impact. There is a lot to balance. Within this turbulent context, the impact, value for money, and role of aid in improving lives are to be closely examined alongside progress towards meeting those MDGs.
At DI, we’re working with many partners to ensure that resources are more effectively directed, and that people are empowered to make evidence-based, data-informed decisions. We believe greater transparency about what resources are going where, from whom, when and by what means will enable donors to more appropriately plan budgets and allocate resources to make the greatest contribution possible to poverty reduction.
Our dual programmes aidinfo and Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) contribute to this agenda. aidinfo focuses upon increased transparency and accountability of aid and helps drive the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) agenda. The GHA programme works to provide better visibility of the resources available to people in humanitarian crises.
The next two days will undoubtedly be a challenge, but it is one that is still there for the taking.
 OECD 2011 2011 Survey on Monitoring the Paris Declaration. http://www.oecd.org/document/1/0,3746,en_2649_3236398_48725569_1_1_1_1,00.html
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