As many of those gathered here in Busan, I feel very excited about the chance we have to collectively shape the way in which development is practiced.
The International Health Partnership (IHP+) has done an exceptional job the last three years in bringing together countries, donors, international financial institutions, civil society, the United Nations, and many other partners to agree on how, concretely, we would implement the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. It’s a complex, demanding, and crucial task.
We support countries’ efforts to improve the lives of millions of people—but we often accompany this support by burdening countries with many different reporting, fiduciary, monitoring, evaluation, and other systems. Five years ago, we didn’t have a venue to discuss, or know, what good harmonization and alignment could look like, and we hadn’t agreed to common fiduciary, monitoring, and evaluation systems.
But today, in large part to our shared efforts in the context of IHP+ and country leadership, we’ve agreed on a joint assessment of country health strategies, a common financial management approach, and on some aspects of monitoring and evaluation. And we have outstanding country examples such as Nepal.
Why, then, isn’t this happening at a speed compatible with the urgency of the task? If we have examples and agreements, what’s stopping us?
I have some good and some not so good news about aid. First, the good news. The aid landscape has seen three important changes during the last decade that have had a transformative, positive effect on the very nature of aid.
One of these changes has been the increased focus on the quality of aid—especially on the results being achieved on the ground. The World Bank and IDA, the Bank’s fund for the poorest, have placed a premium on having a real impact in the work we support, and the results show.
An old black and white photograph taken in 1944 at the Conference in Bretton Woods that gave birth to the World Bank and the IMF shows a roundtable of men in grey suits meeting to design the future multilateral system.
Today, the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) will open in Busan, Korea. The HLF-4 is an opportunity for the global development community to come together and showcase the results that our partner countries have been producing, and to shape the future course of the aid effectiveness agenda in a dramatically changing global development landscape.
Even skeptics admit it: effective aid works. In the last 25 years, the share of poor people in developing countries has been cut by half, and the last decade has witnessed impressive development successes in countries once thought beyond help. read more...
Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2011.
The World Bank and IMF have received much press attention in recent weeks in Kenya. The Kenyan Kazi Kwa Vijana (“work for youth”) initiative, which the Bank was supporting through its Youth Empowerment Project, and Government’s decision to request substantial IMF funding to support macroeconomic stability have been the source of heated debates in parliament.
In recent years, the aid industry has been a focus of critical examination and the object of debate.
The participation of civil society representatives at the World Bank and IMF’s Annual Meetings, which brings together the world’s finance ministers to discuss international development policy, has grown steadily over the past six years. The most recent Annual Meeting, held in October 2011, saw the largest CSO participation to date, with a total of 600 CSO representatives from 85 countries in attendance. They represented a variety of civil society constituencies: non-governmental organizations, youth groups, foundations, faith-based groups, and trade unions. They came to discuss a broad range of issues ranging from financial transactions tax and aid effectiveness, to energy policy. In order to ensure that Southern CSO voices are also heard, the Bank and Fund sponsored 60 CSO and Youth Leaders from developing countries to participate in the Meetings.
He said it in Washington; now he has said it again in London. Who? Former UK premier Tony Blair, speaking at ODI on governance and leadership for development in Africa.
What has he been saying? That the better governance low-income Africa needs is about getting better leadership (here understood as ‘effective capacity to get things done’) – not just a matter of more transparency and greater accountability.
Last week, President Zoellick gave a speech at George Washington University in which he outlined his vision of how the aid agenda should adapt to what he described as “shifting tectonic plates,” which has seen the world change dramatically since 1944 when the Bretton Woods system was established. This shift has created a world in which developing countries are now the drivers of the world economy while the developed world is facing severe economic headwinds.
In Zoellick’s vision of a “world beyond aid,” international assistance would be “integrated with—and connected to—global growth strategies, fundamentally driven by investment and entrepreneurship. The goal would not be charity, but mutual interest in building more poles of growth.”