Transparency International (TI) voiced its disappointment at the outcome of the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which closed yesterday in Accra, Ghana. The meeting concluded with few firm, time-bound commitments on fighting corruption, jeopardising the global campaign to end poverty. Still, civil society and donor initiatives on greater aid transparency gave cause for hope.
Despite stated support by many attendees for aid transparency and accountability, the Forum’s communiqué, the Accra Action Agenda, ultimately fell short on specific timelines and concrete commitments to increase accountability and transparency in the development process. The lack of progress threatens to undermine aid as an effective tool for supplying medicines to clinics, building schools and attacking the roots of extreme poverty, which plagues more than 1.4 billion people around the world.
"The big step forward at the Accra Forum was the focus on transparency both in the run-up and during conference deliberations," said Craig Fagan, a Senior Policy Coordinator for TI. "Unfortunately, though, this did not translate into the firm, specific and time-bound commitments on accountability, transparency and fighting corruption, needed to make aid more effective."
Figures show that in Africa alone, more than US $148 billion (€102 billion) is lost annually to corruption. Total global official aid flows in 2007 amounted to US $104 billion (€72 billion).
Although the official proceedings betrayed earlier momentum towards greater accountability and transparency in the development process, there were rays of hope from both the civil society and donor communities. Ahead of the Forum, a group of civil society organisations – including ONE (formerly DATA) and ActionAid - launched the Publish What You Fund Initiative, which lays out principles for greater transparency in the delivery and funding of aid.
Further reflecting the growing consensus that transparent aid is more effective aid, the UK government’s Department for International Development simultaneously presented its International Aid Transparency Initiative. The new transparency framework calls for donors to publish detailed information on financial assistance, by country and project, and provide better information on future aid flows, enabling low-income countries to plan more effectively.
Civil society is regrouping to take advantage of the UN Millennium Development Goals review in New York on 25 September and the UN Financing for Development meeting in Doha, Qatar, in November. Both offer a window of opportunity to find funding solutions for poverty eradication and sustainable development.
For any press enquiries please contact
Craig Fagan / Accra, Senior Policy Coordinator
T: +233 240 230 274
Jesse Garcia / Berlin, Senior Communications Officer
T: +49 30 3438 20667