Improving UK aid – where next for development effectiveness?

Ahead of the next High Level Meeting (HLM) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in Nairobi 30 November- 1 December, UKAN has published a new discussion paper outlining some of the key challenges ahead as well as opportunities.

The new Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals agreed in 2015 in the United Nations set an ambitious agenda for the world to achieve by 2030 and one that will require substantially more in the way of resources both aid and other, coherence of policy and approach within and between countries, and solutions to intractable or inherently political challenges that will require both political will and the resources to pay for it.  Ensuring that those resources are used effectively – ensuring value for money in terms of impact and development outcomes – and that all development stakeholders are included, accountable and responsible for delivering on development goals, is fundamentally what the development and aid effectiveness agenda and principles[1] are about.  The High Level Meeting (HLM) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) in Nairobi in 2016 is a key moment to strengthen commitment, take stock of progress and challenges and take action to deliver on this agenda.

Aid is a limited and valuable resource for sustainable development.  While other ‘beyond aid’ resources and flows are rightly increasingly emphasised in the new post-2015 era, aid will remain a vital source of financing for many countries[2] who would struggle to fund crucial social services, for example, purely from internal resources.  Aid will also be a necessary – but again not sufficient – part of efforts to tackle the complex and interconnected global and national challenges laid out in the SDGs from fragility and conflict to climate change.

This paper lays out some key questions, concerns and recommendations from UK civil society ahead of the HLM.  It will outline key areas and ‘wins’ of the agenda and process, why this should matter to us all and some areas that require further elucidation.  In particular, this paper will seek to draw out some of our analysis as to why aid and development effectiveness has lost traction in recent years and how this might be addressed.  One thing is clear, the principles and commitments laid out in the Paris agreement and subsequently refined through the high-level processes in Rome, Accra, Busan and Mexico, remain relevant and a critical underpinning for effective, high value and high impact development.

[1] The Busan Partnership Agreement, building on global agreements in Paris, Rome and Accra, lays out the principles of development effectiveness as country ownership, transparency and mutual accountability, focus on results and inclusive partnerships.  See Busan Partnership agreement for more information here http://www.oecd.org/dac/effectiveness/49650173.pdf.

[2] See for example, ActionAid, Real Aid 3, 2013, available at https://www.actionaid.org.uk/sites/default/files/doc_lib/real_aid_3.pdf.

Read the full paper here.