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Busan forum to address key aid agenda

Main issues include ODA alignment, harmonization, accountability

The global economy has changed enormously since September 2008, when high-ranking officials from both donor and recipient countries gathered in Accra, Ghana to discuss improving the effectiveness of aid and development cooperation.

Recent global crises including food shortages, inflation, the global financial crunch and economic downturns have aggravated the global efforts for development in less-developed countries.

The Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, taking place in Busan from Tuesday to Thursday, should address unfinished tasks such as how to ensure better alignment of overseas development aid to national priorities and consistent policies in developing countries, according to the position paper on partner countries’ vision and priority issues for the forum.

“We must further address issues of alignment, harmonization, managing for results, mutual accountability, capacity development, aid predictability and transparency, and aid fragmentation,” said the paper, which was finalized by members of the Drafting Team, including officials from Egypt, Ghana, Honduras, Columbia, East Timor, Vietnam, Mali and Pacific Islands Forum Countries.

Managing for development results refers to taking the 2005 Paris Declaration principles into a series of actions.

The five principles of the Paris Declaration are to encourage developing countries to set their own strategies for poverty reduction; to make donor countries align behind those strategies and use local systems; to make donors share information and simplify procedures to avoid duplication; to shift focus to development results and measurements; and to make donors and partners accountable for development results.

In 2008, the Accra Agenda for Action set the agenda for accelerated advancement towards the Paris targets.

Another key issue for the Busan forum will be taking a “common but differentiated approach” rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to countries with different levels of poverty ― fragile states, middle income countries and lower income countries ―, the paper noted.

While the rich nations have been suffering from mounting debt and negative growth, newly industrialized economies such as China, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa have emerged as new global powers for international development aid.

The Busan forum is the first of its kind in which non-DAC donors and private-sector participants will participate together.

“The recent decline in ODA as a result of the global recession and developing partners’ exit from some countries is forcing some of our countries to seek more bilateral and multilateral debt, to bridge the gap in development financing,” the paper said.

In bridging a dialogue between long-time donors and new contributors, Korea is expected to play an important role, as a country that has gone from an aid recipient to a donor, observers said.

Korea’s position with regard to development is clearly demonstrated in the Seoul Development Consensus, which was endorsed during the 2010 G20 Seoul Summit.

The Seoul Consensus focuses on economic growth and government intervention to achieve the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, such as eradicating extreme poverty.

The main outcomes of the Busan forum will be published in a document on Thursday. The Working Party on Aid Effectiveness ― a group of sherpas ― will finalize the document after considering any final comments from all delegations.

The delegations of the working party include Bangladesh, BetterAid, China, the European Commission, France, Honduras, Japan, South Korea, Mali, Mexico, Rwanda, South Africa, East Timor, the U.K., UNDP, the U.S. and the World Bank.

By Kim Yoon-mi (
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Korea Herald daum