AidWatch Philippines

AidWatch Philippines
Press statement / 3 September 2008
Reference: Dr Giovanni Tapang, AidWatch Philippines convenor

Long Way To Go Before Aid Can Truly Help Poor

As donors and stakeholders meet this week at the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Ghana, a network of Philippine civil society groups on aid says it is still a long way before the world’s poor can truly benefit from foreign aid.

According to Dr Giovanni Tapang, Convenor of AidWatch Philippines and chair of the Council for People’s Development and Governance, aid has yet to be truly effective in delivering real progress for many of the world’s poor despite the signing of the Paris Declaration in which donors and governments pledge on making aid actually work for development.

Citing the 2008 Reality of Aid Report on Aid Effectiveness, Tapang said that after three years of implementing the Paris Declaration, donors and recipient governments have only achieved the following, among others:

• Less than a third of all bilateral official development assistance (ODA) since 2003 has been available for programs for which developing country partners can set their own priorities.
• From 2000 to 2006, only 28% of new aid money was channeled to assist developing countries inpoverty reduction and meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

Tapang said that one of the reasons for the poor performance is the failure of donors and governments to recognize that aid can be effective when there is democratic ownership of aid and that people’s rights are respected and prioritized in the aid process.

Even as the Paris Declaration commits governments to ensure that there is stronger ownership of aid by poor countries, the way it is measured is based on World Bank standards, and places too much emphasis on donor requirements. Tapang also said that the continuing practice of donors of imposing policy conditionalities on their aid to developing countries has prevented communities to assert their right to development.

AidWatch is calling for new ways to measure ownership which would recognize that the aid process must be driven by affected citizens and not by donors or the World Bank. Together with other civil society groups participating in Ghana, it also recommends that donors and governments agree on an Accra Agenda of Action. This agenda is expected to set in motion ambitious initiatives over the next two years to deepen the commitments of all aid players to aid reform beyond the Paris Declaration.

“We believe that aid can help the poor but only if leaders in Accra agree on concrete actions to improve the transparency of both donors and developing country governments, to end the policy conditions donors attached to aid, and to end the practice of using aid to promote donor economic and foreign policy interests,” said Tapang. (end)

AidWatch Philippines is a national network of grassroots-based non-government groups working on ODA issues in the country. It has over 150 members in more than 50 provinces nationwide, including 10 national networks, and regional formations.

AidWatch Philippines aims to deepen relationships and develop various levels of collaboration between NGOs on aid-related issues and concerns. It also looks forward to constructive engagement with official government and donor agencies on the basis of fundamental development principles.

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