A child from a village in Preah Sihanouk province that was forcibly evicted in 2007 returns from the beach with a sack of bottles and plastic containers to sell to recyclers. More than 100 families have become dependent on aid since the eviction.
While civil society applauds the development agreement struck in Busan, limited progress has been made in the aid delivery process and more is still needed as this goes forward to better the lives and livelihoods for people, said BetterAid, the global civil society platform represented in the negotiations.
The agreement, which brings in emerging donors like Brazil and China for the first time, seems to broaden aid effectiveness principles, and also sets out a range of commitments and responsibilities for a range of development actors, including civil society and the private sector.
“The challenge now is to ensure that there is a better way to hold governments and businesses to stick to their commitments - the proof of the pudding is in the eating, especially for those who are starving,” said Emele Duituturaga, co-Chair of the Open Forum on CSO Development Effectiveness.
For BetterAid key advances made at Busan are:
- Tackling corruption by making donors explain where aid money goes
- Reaffirming commitments to promote a rights-based enabling environment for civil society
- Giving local civil society more leeway to run their own development work
- Increasing efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment
Although initially reluctant, China also threw its weight behind the deal. But development organisations were disappointed that Beijing imposed conditions on its agreement by making the agreement voluntary. “It’s a big step forward that China is as the table, but it’s a pity that they aren’t yet ready to promise to act on what they say, said Antonio Tujan, Chair of BetterAid.
Estimates put new donor flows at around US$11 billion per year and rapidly growing.
However the lack of a rights-based approach, nor ensuring that aid is spent wisely in the most fragile states, such as Somalia, Haiti and the Ivory Coast, has left a sour taste for many in how the real problems for the poorest in the world, particularly women and children, will be seriously addressed.
The UN reports that women represent over 70 per cent of the world’s poor, yet their rights, needs, voices and contributions are often invisible.
“Women’s empowerment is much more than just using them as engines of growth. This document failed to recognse women’s rights” said Kasia Staszewska from BetterAid.
Civil society also notes with concern that the agreement :
• Has no explicit commitments to adopt human-rights based approaches.
• Has not significantly addressed the unfinished business and lack of implementation of Paris and Accra commitments.
• Reduces commitments to common principles as mere voluntary reference for BRICS development partners in South-South Co-operation.
• Retains overall private sector-led growth as framework for development.
The final assessment on how the promised will be monitored and followed from Busan will be made in six months time.
For more information visit: www.betteraid.org.