06 Mar 2014
A post-2015 consultation with young indigenous Brazilians. (Photo: Juliana Wenceslau)
In Washington, D.C., a number of U.S. Government agencies and think tanks are preparing for the forthcoming Mexico Ministerial Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.
At a recent prep meeting, I met enthusiasts and skeptics. The optimists pointed at the progress achieved from Monterrey 2002 to Busan 2011 and how the Paris Declaration started to align programs with developing countries’ priorities. This brought more harmonization and accountability between donor and recipient countries. The process now includes inter-governmental, civil society and private-sector actors and addresses gender equality, climate-change financing and the fight against corruption.
The skeptics think that the “aid business” is beyond repair, that the so-called aid effectiveness agenda does not measure "effectiveness" but "efficiency" — looking at bureaucratic processes rather than the actual impact of aid on reducing poverty. One of their spokespersons, American scholar William Easterly, attributes a good share of aid’s failings to a lack of feedback and accountability: “The needs of the poor don’t get met because the poor have little political power with which to make their needs known and they cannot hold anyone accountable to meet those needs.”
But optimists and skeptics seem to agree on one thing: the need to …