Boosting the Impact of Aid Effectiveness in Asia and the Pacific | Asian Development Bank

Boosting the Impact of Aid Effectiveness in Asia and the Pacific

Article | 28 November 2011

Aid effectiveness means ensuring that aid benefits people who need it most - the poor and vulnerable.

For developing countries in Asia and the Pacific, aid effectiveness should be part of the broader development effectiveness agenda and focus on making growth more inclusive and help reduce poverty among the most vulnerable. For those receiving aid, it's not a bureaucratic issue but a personal and practical one, of gaining access to food, education and healthcare. For those providing aid, it is a matter of ensuring that the quality of aid is based on concrete targets and an effective approach, one that encourages developing countries to accept its share of responsibility and accountability in this undertaking.

Tackling the challenges of aid effectiveness is an ever-evolving agenda, expanding considerably through the three high-level forums - from a focus on donor harmonization in Rome in 2003, to country ownership and leadership in Paris in 2005 and Accra in 2008. The Paris Declaration committed the signatories to five principles of aid effectiveness, which are aimed at improving the delivery and management of aid to enhance its impact in terms of development outcomes. The Accra Agenda for Action reaffirms these principles and translates them into specific commitments. From 29 November to 1 December 2011, the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4), in Busan, Republic of Korea, will review the progress made on this framework and determine the future international aid agenda, recognizing the new players, partnerships, and challenges facing the world today. This is a key milestone for improving aid effectiveness and in achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The main themes for HLF-4 include:

  • Results and accountability
  • Transparency and predictability
  • Managing fragmentation
  • South-south and triangular cooperation
  • Fragile states
  • Climate change finance
  • Effective institutions and policies
  • Private sector and development

Approximately 2000 delegates from both developing and donor countries, will review global progress in improving the impact and value for money of development aid, and agree on a Busan Outcome Document to further enhance efforts globally and within countries to make aid more effective in reducing poverty and achieving MDGs. ADB is playing a key role to ensure that Asia and the Pacific perspectives form an integral part of the key HLF-4 agenda and outcomes.

Aid effectiveness and development in the Asia-Pacific region is diverse. The region is by far the most populous, with vast areas developing rapidly. It includes fragile states, middle-income countries, least developed countries and small island states. ADB has a strong history of commitment to the international aid effectiveness agenda. It participated in all three high-level forums on aid effectiveness and contributed to the outcomes of these forums.

ADB has mainstreamed the Paris Declaration principles in its policies and operations and in its corporate results framework adopted in 2008. ADB also monitors its performance on aid effectiveness through its annual surveys on the Paris Declaration indicators.

ADB's performance in mainstreaming the aid effectiveness agenda has been recognized in a number of international assessments of aid undertaken by aid agencies and research institutions. The Busan Declaration will thus aim to achieve a consensus on the future aid framework for development effectiveness, which is based on learning from past evidence and that recognizes changes in the aid architecture.

With the target year for MDGs only 3 yearsaway, the HLF-4 is extremely crucial as a forum for achieving a broad consensus on future cooperation and development effectiveness It is significant that the forum is being held in Busan, a bustling city that emerged from being a war-devastated port city to the world's fifth largest port today. The story of Busan showcases how much can be achieved through development cooperation. Korea itself has grown from being a major recipient of international aid, to one of the world's leading economies. This experience demonstrates that aid combined with strong ownership and effective development strategy can play a catalytic role in achieving development.