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PHOTO:  Isaiah Rustad. Unsplash

10 actions to protect aid’s integrity and transform development cooperation

4 March 2019

In the context of Agenda 2030, aid providers must live up to their promise that aid is a resource devoted to reducing poverty and inequalities. They must transform their allocations and aid practices in ways that support collaborative initiatives as well as equal and inclusive partnerships for these purposes. 

In our last blog, we looked at how some current uses of aid undermine its very essence as a concessional resource dedicated to human rights and the eradication of poverty. Now, the Reality of Aid Network is putting forward a ten-point action agenda for retooling Official Development Assistance (ODA) for the positive transformation of development cooperation. These come from our recent report on the Changing Faces of Aid, which draws together views on aid from over 30 civil society organisations.

  1. Achieving the 0.7% target: DAC providers that have not achieved the 0.7% of GNI UN target for ODA must set out a plan to do so without further delay. 
  2. Addressing the needs of the least developed, low income, fragile and conflict-affected countries: As DAC donors move towards the 0.7% target, they must also meet the long-standing commitment to allocate up to 0.2% of their GNI to Least Developed Countries (LDCs). 
  3. Establishing a rights-based framework: The allocation of all forms of development finance, but particularly ODA and other concessional sources, must be designed and measured against four development effectiveness principles, human rights standards. 
  4. Mainstreaming gender equality and women’s empowerment: Providers of ODA and other forms of concessional development finance (e.g. SSDC) must demonstrably mainstream gender equality and women’s empowerment in all dimensions of development cooperation projects, programmes and policies.
  5. Addressing other identity-based inequalities: Providers of ODA must develop strategies to guide increased efforts to tackle all forms of inequalities, such as those based on economic marginalisation, disabilities, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or age. 
  6. Reversing the shrinking and closing space for CSOs as development actors: All actors for development – governments, provider agencies, parliamentarians, INGOs – must proactively challenge the increasing regulatory, policy and physical attacks on civil society organisations, human rights defenders, indigenous groups and environmental activists. 
  7. Implementing clear policies for ODA to improve its quality as a development resource: Development and aid effectiveness principles require practical reforms to strengthen partner ownership to achieve the priorities of ODA. 
  8. Deploying ODA to support private sector initiatives and catalyse private sector funding: ODA should only be deployed for provider Private Sector Instruments (PSIs) in projects/activities that can be directly related to building capacities of developing country private sector actors to demonstrably improve the situations of people living in poverty.
  9. Rejecting the militarisation and securitisation of aid: In responding to humanitarian situations and the development needs of countries with high levels of poverty, conflict and fragility, providers should avoid shaping their strategies and aid initiatives according to their own foreign policy, geo-political and security (migration and counter-terrorism) interests.
  10. Responding to the acute and growing challenges from climate change: All parties should reach agreement on a post-2020 climate-financing framework for developing countries that meets the growing challenges they face in adaptation, mitigation as well as loss and damage. While concessional climate finance meets the criteria for ODA, the DAC should account for principal purpose climate finance separate from its reporting of ODA, acknowledging the UNFCCC principle of “new and additional.” The UNFCCC should develop clear guidance for all parties on defining finance for adaptation, mitigation and loss and damage.

Discuss poverty eradication, the role of aid, the future of NGOs and much more at the Bond Conference 18-19 March

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About the author

Lyn Angelica Pano
The Reality of Aid Network

Lyn is the global coordinator at The Reality of Aid Network and is based in The Philippines.