Forum on aid effectiveness an opportunity to make aid work better for poor people: Oxfam

Campaigns and Advocacy, Media Releases article written on the 02 Sep 2008

Today’s high level international meeting on aid effectiveness is an important opportunity to make aid work better for poor people, International aid agency Oxfam said today.
The forum, to be held in Accra, Ghana from September 2 – 4, is the biggest meeting to ever look at the effectiveness of international aid and will bring together more than 800 participants from countries that give and receive aid, multilateral agencies and civil society groups.
Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said the forum should commit those involved in the giving, receiving and delivery of aid to actions now rather than just targets for the future.
“We need to ensure that precious aid dollars are reaching those who need them most and are being used in the most useful way,” Mr Hewett said.
Mr Hewett said there were a number of measures that could be taken to help make aid more effective including:
• Make aid more predictable with donor countries making aid commitments over a three to five year period rather than year by year, which currently means that government’s in developing countries cannot include aid – often a substantial part of their budget – in sensible forward planning.
• Ensure Australia coordinates its aid efforts with other donors to reduce red tape and demands on recipient governments.
• A commitment from all donors to disclose all documents related to the planning, execution and evaluation of aid strategies and the provision of more accurate and timely information to recipient governments and other stakeholders.
Mr Hewett said making aid more predictable for recipient countries would mean better and more sensible long term planning.
“The impact of aid shocks on developing countries has been as large as the income shocks faced by developed countries during the Two World Wars, the Spanish civil war and the Great Depression," Mr Hewett said.
Mr Hewett said everybody involved in aid had a responsibility to make sure that aid was as useful and helpful as possible for poor people around the world.
“It is important to remember that aid is not just a line item in a developed countries budget,” Mr Hewett said. “It is money that translates into health, education, food, water and sanitation so getting it right is vital.”
Mr Hewett said at the last aid effectiveness forum in Paris in 2005 12 targets designed to improve the effectiveness of aid were set with measurable indicators, to be met by 2010.
The Accra Forum will assess progress made on those targets and will produce the ‘Accra Agenda for Action’, a communiqué evaluating progress and setting out the next steps.
“We don’t just want to see targets, we want to see action,” Mr Hewett said.
For more information or to interview Andrew Hewett please contact Louise Perry, Head of Media and External Relations at Oxfam Australia on 0414 456 015.
To speak to Oxfam’s representatives in Accra, please call Dominique Jenkins in Ghana on (+233) (0) 246 124 979