Busan: The Green priorities for a way forward for development effectiveness

Written by Ska Keller, Member of the European Parliament; Heidi Hautala, Minister for International Development of Finland and Thilo Hoppe, Member of the German Parliament[:]

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and its follow-up documents have been milestones in the international effort of making aid better. Despite some progress, the implementation of the principles on development effectiveness agreed in Paris, namely ownership, alignment, harmonization, management for results and mutual accountability is going too slow. The Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan from 29th November to 1st December 2011 creates a window of opportunity to close gaps, agree on concrete steps and obligations and thus can give new drive to development cooperation and towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals and for the development agenda post 2015.

In the outcome document of the Busan conference, we would have liked to see, among others, a stronger consideration of Human Rights and a bigger role for parliaments and civil society. We will follow closely the process that should now follow in order to implement the commitments from Accra, Paris and Busan. In order for it to be successful, we see the following priorities:

1. The process to fulfill existing committments should be inclusive and transparent, linked to the UN institutions and open to civil society. In 2012, clear and measurable indicators should be set up in order for parliaments and civil society to be able to monitor progress.

2. A human rights based approach has to be the corner stone of the development architecture; all actors need to put special emphasis on the most vulnerable groups and people in a society.

3. Real democratic ownership means that development strategies must be driven by the partner countries themselves and reflect a commitment on the part of all national stakeholders. National governments have to ensure that national parliaments, local authorities and civil society organisations are included in designing the development strategies and in the monitoring process.

4.The greater share of aid coming from new actors makes it necessary to integrate these actors into the aid effectiveness process more strongly than was possible in Busan, while firmly keeping the agreed principles like human rights and democracy.

5. A purely technical approach of measuring aid effectiveness is not enough. Development strategies need time to show results and not all risks can be avoided. The concept of “value for money” is not reflecting the need for long-term outcomes and improvements rather than short-term results.

6. A better donor coordination and the implementation of the EU’s code of conduct for the division of labour is something the EU can and should deliver; joint programming should be further developed.

7. Not only developing countries have to fulfill their obligations but also donor countries. Recent monitoring studies and assessments have shown that recipient countries have done more than donor countries to implement the commitments set out in the Paris Declaration. Furthermore it is importnat to keep the global accountability mechanisms.

8. Involvement of private sector can be of benefit but it also carries many risks. Therefore, we should continue to work towards binding rules on Corporate Social Responsibilities. At the same time it has to be ensured that private-sector investment is sustainable and consistent with agreed international development goals and does not mean a return to tied aid.

9. We need greater transparency in the development aid flows. Donors and recipient countries need to reveal all existing data in order to secure democratic scrutiny by parliaments and civil society and in order to make aid more predictable for recipient countries.

10. Donors should take action to prevent illicit flows of capital from developing countries and ensure that tax havens are eliminated.Also innovative financing mechanisms such as the financial transaction tax and the global funds for health and education must put into practice the principles of the Paris Declaration.

11. In order to not undermine the development efforts, the principle of policy coherence for development (PCD) needs to be respected.

12. We consider gender equality to be a priority in the development agenda and demand it to be fully integrated into the aid effectiveness agenda.

13. The protection of biodiversity and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures should to be fully integrated into the development agenda.

14. The need for more effectiveness does not imply that less money is needed. The 0,7% target is and mains crucial. In the same way, effectiveness is not an end in itself, but a tool to achieve povefty reduction and especially the MDGs.