By Ruth Owino
A Pan-African Multi-stakeholder Conference on Consolidation of African Position towards Busan – Korea, was held on 7th – 8th November 2011, in Entebbe, Uganda. The two day conference was convened by African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), Uganda National NGO forum, Reality of Aid Africa Network, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development. The purpose of the conference was to consolidate key messages from Africa on Aid and Development Effectiveness into one position paper which will be used for lobbying at the Fourth High- Level Forum on aid effectiveness (HLF-4) to be held in Busan, Korea from 29th November-1st December, 2011.
The decade has witnessed dramatic changes in development of finance and aid architecture. The changes have resulted from the need to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and making aid more effective in the context of the global economic crisis. The ensuing changes have been characterized by the demand for aid to be delivered in more quantities and better quality than before. It is with this in mind that review of reforms aimed at improving ownership, harmonization, coordination, management for results need to be intensified to inform the next set of action beyond Busan, Korea.
The HLF4 will provide an opportunity for African CSOs to demand for aid to be delivered in more quantities and better quality than before and also call for reforms aimed at improving ownership, harmonization, coordination, management for results for the aid. During the conference, the Minister of Finance, Uganda noted that “as we prepare for Busan and beyond, there is need for our governments to scale up policies that look beyond aid through effective and innovative use of domestic resources…”. The Minister highlighted three key areas that African governments must focus on in growing domestic resources and moving away from deficit financing:
• Generate more hydroelectric power to sustain our industries
• Increase agricultural production and productivity through water production initiative such as building more dams and
• Up-scaling our road and railway infrastructures to enhance cross-border trade within the continent
The multi-stakeholders conference brought together, African governments, regional bodies’ women’s organizations, civil society organizations selected to represent African Civil society in Busan and those with interest in influencing the outcome of Busan, Korea and beyond. The women’s voice was represented by FEMNET, through the Ag. Executive Director Roselynn Musa, FEMNET reiterated the “Key Demands from Women’s Rights Organizations and Gender Equality Advocates to the HLF-4″. She emphasized the importance of women participating actively in the processes leading to the HLF IV. She said, “It is critical for women to engage in the various processes taking place before the Busan meeting in order to ensure that the gains made in the AAA such as the recognition that that gender equality is critical to development are not lost and also in order to ensure that this recognition should now translate into allocation of money to bridging gender inequalities and also addressing various challenges that women experience in Africa”..
Democratic Effectiveness must be about promoting democratic ownership. African institutions must mobilize the voices of citizens – who must be empowered, and protected to take charge of their own development. The Executive Director of Uganda NGO Forum, Richard Ssewakiryanga said that, development effectiveness is about the citizens and any development agenda must be meaningful and beneficial for citizens – people matter, it’s not just about aid! He reiterated that “Leaders who ignore citizens concern are in essence ignoring their own existence”.
The CSOs rallying called on the Unfinished Business ahead of Busan meeting, on the five principles of Paris Declaration—ownership, alignment, harmonization, mutual accountability and management for results. During the conference citizens were called upon to add their voice in asking governments to support people’s organizations to do their work in development, and to ensure that citizens’ voices are heard in development and aid decisions for better aid policy.
To add your voice, sign the petition on: http://www.betteraid.org/campaign/