Stakeholders in Development Aid

Author: Alia Papageorgiou
8 September 2008 – Issue : 798
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Who listens to the commentators on how development aid should be effectively given? Do governments or the European Commission take advice into account when it comes to effectiveness in aid? The European Commission is responsible for over 50 percent of the world’s aid giving and yet key players seem to think that with more effectiveness their job and money would be allocated much wiser and more effectively for the receiving parties. The spokesperson for Belgium’s Development Minister Charles Michel (son of Commissioner of Development Louis Michel) in a statement to New Europe described that “the review of development procedures by independent bodies is of course very important for policymakers.
However, pressure groups as Alliance 2015 and Action Aid can not really be seen as independent bodies. Political decision-making is established through a dynamics of various parameters. The opinion of similar lobby groups is one of the parameters, but certainly not THE parameter,” clarifying the situation further. A source from the World Bank headquarters in Washington described how she sees the situation on groups commenting on Development Aid efficiency “I’m sure the commission takes some recommendations into account, as efficiency is really in their own reputational interest. However, there are core elements in the very nature or structure of how international development organisations operate, that constitute obstacles to efficiency. “For instance, staff responsible for certain policy or project loans feel pressured to justify aid projects even when they are not working out because if they admit to failure, their budgets will be cut and it will be more difficult to obtain money for new and improved projects the following years.
The Bank for instance has 25,000 employees that include 14,000 consultants. My 80 person department alone, runs something like 40-50 projects a year,“ the source said. Adding further to talks on aid and Development the French Presidency of the European Council has called an informal meeting of all Development Ministers to be held on September 29. Discussions are to be held on the EU’s response to food security, health, and climate change challenges in developing countries; aid effectiveness following the Accra conference; and preparations for the Doha Conference on Financing for Development. While the rise in food prices jeopardises efforts to reduce poverty in developing countries, the European Union must provide a response that fully addresses the issues at hand. The French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in close collaboration with the European Commission, will propose to the Member States that the EU response be based on the three pillars of the “International partnership for agriculture and food,” put forward by the President of the French Republic in Rome.
The French EU Presidency will strive, in the follow up to the conclusions of the June European Council and the European Commission’s draft regulation, to mobilise financial resources to support agriculture in developing countries. Experts of agriculture in Africa and financing of the sector, together with MEPs, will be invited to contribute to the ministers’ discussions bearing in mind the decisions the Council will take before the end of the year.
Two other global challenges will also be on the agenda: the needs of developing countries in terms of adapting to climate change and strengthening health systems. The French Presidency, with the European Commission’s support, will continue discussions begun at the international conference of 7 May 2008 on access to care and long-term financing of health systems through the use of tools suited to the conditions in each developing country. Three weeks after the Accra High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, ministers will discuss the European aid structure in depth looking at better coordination, recipients and all matters crucial to their aid.

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