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Negotiations on global aid down to the wire

Negotiations on global aid down to the wire

November 28, 2011

Poor countries try to hold the line

Government negotiators meeting in Busan, South Korea are working on a last-ditch effort to reach a deal on the future of global aid, international agency Oxfam said Monday. New and emerging donors are trying to water down commitments to deliver aid that works better for poor countries and their citizens.

Talks were due to be concluded ahead of a meeting on aid effectiveness hosted by the OECD and the South Korean government in Korea this week. The meeting will be attended by more than 3000 delegates, including US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and UN head Ban Ki-moon.

Oxfam Canada executive director Robert Fox, who is attending the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, said: “We believe that a rights-based approach to development will help ensure priorities are informed by the needs and views of women and girls men and boys living in poverty. Their voices must be heard.

“ With the increased focus on ‘results’ we need to ensure that we are targeting the results that matter most, tackling inequality and ending discrimination that leaves women, indigenous peoples, rural communities, disabled and other marginalized groups at an even deeper disadvantage.”

Oxfam spokesperson Gregory Adams said: "Donors are refusing to concede to calls for an agreement which would give poor countries and their people greater say in how aid is spent.  By rejecting language that protects the rights of poor countries and their people, donors are trying to protect their own narrow interests."

“Right now, too much aid that donors provide is opaque, unpredictable, or tied to purchase of donor country good and services.  Better aid that is easier for poor people to track, access, and use could support much greater progress towards fighting poverty.”

”This has become a conversation among donors about what kind of aid they want to give, not what the world’s poorest people need.  Poor countries are holding the line in these negotiations, but they’re being ignored.”

“Donors are trying to dial back on commitments to make their aid transparent, untie it from donor country procurement deals, and use monitoring systems that track the performance of their assistance. This will make it harder for poor people and countries to lift themselves out of poverty.”

The OECD’s latest monitoring report shows donors have made significant progress on only one of their 13 targets on improving aid, agreed to at a global aid meeting in Paris in 2005.

“Aid plays a role in saving millions, but poverty continues to cast a shadow over the lives of 1.4 billion people worldwide. Instead of trying to negotiate their way out of deals they’ve already made, donors should focus on making aid work better.”

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More information:

For an interview with Robert Fox, Oxfam Canada Executive Director, please contact:
Juliet O’Neill


For other interviews:
Caroline Hooper-Box

+1 202 321 2967

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