The global aid system is at a crossroads. 2010 is the target year for implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, a commitment by the international aid community to reform the way it delivers aid to developing countries. Despite progress in some areas, and renewed pledges made in Accra two years ago, most of the targets set under the Declaration will not be met. At next year’s Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4), to be held in Busan, Korea, the international aid community must find a way of breathing new life into the effectiveness agenda or else risk losing credibility, as well as wasting countless more aid dollars.
On July 29 and 30, Brookings co-hosted a private workshop entitled Catalyzing Development: A New Vision for Aid to consider the future of the aid effectiveness agenda. This event is part of a joint project being conducted with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), to explore how the opportunity presented by HLF4 can be seized.
The workshop agenda was organized around three themes and 10 topics, which capture changes in the environment in which today’s aid industry operates. Today, there are new challenges for aid to solve (climate change, capacity building, fragile states) which remain poorly understood; new players in the aid industry (international NGOs, private businesses, non-DAC donors, coordinating networks) who are too important to leave out; and new approaches being used (South-South cooperation, transparency, scaling up) which need to be further encouraged. These changes mean that while the ideals enshrined in the Paris Declaration remain important, they do not cover the full scope of today’s aid system.