On the eve of the Accra High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF) being held on 2-4 September in Ghana, Transparency International (TI) warned that corruption would continue to undermine poverty reduction efforts without immediate action on transparency, accountability and citizen participation by aid recipient and donor countries.
“At the last Forum, in 2005, countries signed the Paris Declaration, which pledged to boost aid effectiveness through citizen participation, and greater government accountability and transparency in the development process,” said Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International. “But, three years on, progress remains wanting as evidenced by the continued lack of democratic accountability to citizens in recipient countries. We see this as a major corruption risk and a serious threat to the global fight against poverty.”
The 2005 Paris Declaration laid out the principles of ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results and mutual accountability to make aid more effective. With 2010 set as the deadline for full implementation of these principles, evidence shows that progress is lagging dangerously. The upcoming meeting in Accra, under the Auspices of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC), must shift the process into high gear if it is to be salvaged.
The draft communiqué for the Accra HLF, however, the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), does not adequately address the shortfall with the time-bound commitments and provisions for civil society participation necessary to revive progress. And although the statement - endorsed by the representatives of 100 developed and developing countries, as well as multilateral development banks and agencies – clearly mentions fighting corruption as a condition for greater aid effectiveness, it provides no framework for action.
“The persistent levels of poverty and corruption across the globe amount to an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe,” continued de Swardt. “We need to see a targeted and global strategy to tackle corruption in the development process, or we will continue to see lives spent in misery and preventable deaths because public institutions and the provision of health and education services simply do not work. We need to see greater local ownership of aid programmes, a clear voice for civil society in the process and an end to purely donor-driven aid policies.”
With the fight against corruption as a pre-condition to achieving greater aid effectiveness and reaching the goals of the Paris Declaration, TI advocates:
- Improving access to and the disclosure of public information
- Enabling citizens, legislatures, journalists and investigators to ‘follow the money.’
- Cleaning up public procurement and sanctioning violators
- Maximising development resources and ensuring better public services.
- Strengthening institutions of oversight and engaging civil society
- Enabling parliament, auditors and civil society to demand accountability.
- Harmonising donor activity to prevent abuse
- Harmonised aid programmes – and transparency practices – means fewer opportunities for theft, corruption and abuse.
Note to editors:
More detail on Transparency International recommendations on to the Accra High-Level Forum is available in a one-page concept note on aid effectiveness.
For more information on Transparency International’s national chapter in Ghana, the Ghana Integrity Initiative, and its activities, please go to www.tighana.org.
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