Workshop 22 - Aid Effectiveness and Accountability
2pm Saturday May 26
Board Room Crowne Plaza
This workshop, sponsored by the Reality of Aid Network and the UK Aid Network, will discuss the
Paris Declaration, its implications for accountability, and its implications for the role of CSOs in
How is the Paris Declaration being monitored? What are donors and recipient governments
doing to promote real country ownership of development policies with participation of citizens,
including CSOs, private sector and parliamentarians?
Can the Paris Declaration increase the accountability of donors and recipient governments?
How can CSOs work with donors and recipient governments to make aid more accountable?
What important issues are missing from the Paris Declaration that is important for the
effectiveness of aid in reaching marginalized populations and those living in poverty?
How do current donor policies and practices influence, positively and negatively, the potential
quality of international CSO aid partnerships and their effectiveness as development actors?
How can CSOs prepare themselves for effective participation and influence at the High Level
Forum in September 2008 in Ghana?
Tony Tujan, Reality of Aid
Yao Graham, Third World Network Africa
Olivia McDonald, Christian Aid
The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness is the culmination of ten years of donor discussion on ways
to improve aid effectiveness. It was adopted in March 2005 at a High Level Ministerial Forum
organized by the Development Assistance Committee of OECD (OECD DAC). The Paris Declaration
was signed by over 100 donors, international institutions and recipient governments; and sets out
reforms by both donors and recipient governments intended to “increase the impact of aid… in
reducing poverty and inequality, increasing growth, building capacity and accelerating achievement of
The Declaration is built around five main themes, with corresponding commitments, targets and
1. Ownership: “Partners” (recipient) countries exercise effective leadership over their
development policies and coordinate development action
2. Alignment: Donors base their overall support on partner countries’ national development
strategies, institutions and procedures
3. Harmonization: Donors’ actions are more harmonized and transparent
4. Managing for results: Countries have transparent and monitorable performance assessment
frameworks for national development strategies
5. Mutual accountability: Donors and partners countries are both accountable for development
The way aid is delivered has profound implications for accountability. There is a risk that high levels of
aid, while essential for reducing poverty, undermine accountability at the local level by imposing
external accountability to donors in place of local accountability to citizens. There are also increasing
demands that donors be held to account for the effectiveness and impact of their aid at the
international level and in the countries where they work. The Paris Declaration is, in part, an attempt
to address these accountability challenges, although it is not yet clear how much it will deliver.
Since 2005, the Declaration has come under scrutiny by civil society organizations, both with respect
to the implementation of commitments made in Paris and the failure of the Declaration to address key
issues for effectiveness (e.g. conditionality, gender equality). CSOs are particularly concerned about
issues of accountability, and are working together to influence the next High Level Forum, which will
take place in Accra, Ghana, in September 2008. This will be an important opportunity to hold donors
to account for their performance, and to push for more ambitious commitments.
In the context of the preparations for the 2008 High Level Forum in Accra, the OECD DAC has
initiated a consultation with civil society groups from the South and the North. CSO representatives
are working with the DAC to ensure that the process is open and participatory; and also to consider
the implications of the Paris Declaration for the ways in which CSOs work to hold governments to
account, and to deliver services on the ground.
To know more:
The Paris Declaration text: www.oecd.org/dataoecd/11/41/34428351.pdf
An overview of the Paris Declaration from a donor’s perspective: www.ccic.ca/e/002/aid.shtml