Vastuuta, kumppanuutta ja työnjakoa

Ministeri Hautalan puheenvuoro Pariisin julistuksen toteutusta arvioivan evaluaation julkistustilaisuudessa 30.8.2011. Puheessaan Hautala muun muassa muistutti, että paremmat tulokset ovat mahdollisia vain, jos avunantajat ovat valmiita rehelliseen arviointiin ja muutokseen.[:]

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Paris Declaration is one of the most important frameworks for international discussion on development. The importance of the Declaration stems from its unique characteristic: it is accompanied with a follow-up mechanism. This makes the implementation process that followed Paris more action oriented and measurable than most – if any – political declarations on development.

Due to this unique follow-up mechanism, the discussion on the Paris Declaration often gets dominated by technical details of measurement and process management. Discussion on methodology is important – we need solid and reliable evidence. But we should not lose sight of the bigger picture. The Paris Declaration evaluation is – among its other merits – a welcome reminder of the comprehensiveness of the Declaration. In addition to quality standards for aid management, the Declaration links development to an enabling environment.

Enhanced accountability of donor and partner countries to their citizens and parliaments is critical. What I find important in this context, is to find a way to reconcile Partner Country ownership with a healthy conditionality for human rights and democracy – remembering that standards for human rights and rule of law have not been set by donors, but have been commonly agreed in the UN context.

Interdependence between donors and partner countries and their mutual accountability form the core of the Declaration. While donors must improve their own practices, partner governments must strengthen inclusiveness, increase transparency and fight corruption. Strengthening partner country systems needs to go hand in hand with donor efforts to use those systems.

Better aid and better results for development are possible only if all partners are ready for frank self-reflection and for change. Development is not a technical, bureaucratic exercise but involves hard political choices. The active involvement of all relevant parties is therefore important.

A solid basis for monitoring and independent evaluation was Finland’s objective when the declaration was negotiated in 2005. Today, we have the opportunity to make the most of the follow-up mechanisms unique to the Paris Declaration.

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To begin with, a few words on the evaluation…

Finland contributed actively to both phases of the evaluation. The first phase in 2007 concluded that Finland is fully committed to the implementation of the Paris Declaration at political and operational levels. It gave useful recommendations to enhance planning with continued respect for ownership of our partner countries.

In the second, most recent phase of the evaluation, Finland supported the country studies in Afghanistan and Mozambique. The Evaluation succeeded in producing important information on how more effective aid has contributed to development results- to making a difference in poor peoples’ lives.

As to the Monitoring Survey…

It gives us an in-depth analysis of how we have succeeded in implementing agreed commitments. For Finland, the results provide an important tool for feedback and self-reflection. You will hear a first analysis of Finland’s results later this morning. In brief, I am happy to say that we have made good progress since 2005. Within our most obvious reference group, the EU, we belong to the better performing half of EU donors.

Nevertheless, Finland needs to take an honest and hard look in the mirror. Since the previous monitoring of 2007, instead of progressing, we have regressed on several indicators. What is positive and encouraging is that we have made progress on the themes that we have prioritised: we have increased the use of our partners’ public financial management systems and we have strengthened the predictability of our aid. This goes to show that with real focus and effort, we can implement change.

An interesting survey finding is that we perform more effectively in our priority partner countries. It is fairly logical that there is a link between the scale of operations and the quality of aid. But we now also have evidence on this. It gives me important food for thought for addressing the challenge of fragmentation.

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I would like to highlight another key characteristic of the Paris Declaration: the idea of partnership. The concept of partnership was enriched in the Accra Agenda for Action to emphasise the role of national parliaments in the development processes. It also recognises civil society organisations as independent development actors complementing the efforts of governments and the private sector.

We are now preparing for the fourth high level forum on aid effectiveness in Busan. Inclusiveness is on the agenda again. The Evaluation clearly states that without the engagement and cooperation of other actors, the benefits of aid and aid reforms to developing countries will be reduced. In Busan, we must succeed in engaging emerging and new providers of development finance around common principles that support development results.

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Effectiveness, impact and results are the primary function of development cooperation. When asked for feedback, Finnish taxpayers raise the same concern time and again: “Does the money reach the poor – is the help delivered?”

The Evaluation finds that the Paris reform process has actually made a difference for aid. This is an essential message for all of us. It gives us the necessary drive to keep working hard and continue reforming aid to achieve better development results.

Our government is committed to strengthening the effectiveness and impact of development cooperation. Our Government Programme states that Finland’s assistance will be less fragmented and coordination with other donor countries and organisations will be increased. But effectiveness alone does not yet ensure impact. All policies should support the attainment of common development goals. Therefore, our government will also continue to emphasise coherence of Finland’s policies for development, both in national and international contexts.

Within the coming months, we will prepare a new Development Policy Action Plan for Finland. We will also be issuing a report on the effectiveness and coherence of Finland’s development policy. In these endeavours we will take into account what the evidence of the Paris declaration monitoring and evaluation tell us.

While targets and indicators provide the necessary framework for strengthening aid management and delivery, we must remember that they are not ends in themselves. They are rather means – tools – to strengthen development results at country level. Country level implementation of Paris commitments is, and should continue to be, the corner stone of aid reform.

The evaluation and monitoring exercises form the key building blocks for Busan. They will also be an important resource for us, when taking decisions on the future of Finland’s development policy and cooperation. I thank our prominent Guests for their valuable input to these exercises and to the Busan preparations in general, and wish you all a fruitful seminar.