Patchy progress by world’s donors in reforming aid, warns new report of EURODAD

A major new civil society report launched today “Turning the Tables: Aid and accountability under the Paris framework” shows that the world’s rich countries have only made patchy progress in making aid more effective for helping the poor, despite high-profile commitments to reform aid. The report, by Eurodad in collaboration with nine other African and European NGOs [1] , showcases fresh evidence from 7 developing countries. It reveals that some development agencies have introduced new policies and procedures, but many are slow to change.

2008 is a critical year for evaluating how aid is helping tackle global poverty and inequality. It is time to review the commitments that 61 rich countries and multilateral agencies signed up to in Paris three years ago. This agreement was a step in the right direction, but donors still have a long way to go to implement their pledges for a more effective, transparent and accountable aid system.

Aid is still too often dominated by rich country agendas and spent on their consultants. When those programmes fail to produce results, nobody is held accountable”, said Lucy Hayes from Eurodad, the European Network on Debt and Development. “Donors such as the European Commission and European governments must deliver on their aid commitments. They have the power and the major responsibility to take the first steps to making their aid money work better for poor people”.

This report is based on case studies that have been carried out in Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Honduras, Nicaragua and Cambodia.

The report highlights current successes and failures by European donors, and sets out recommendations for changing practices. Some of the findings include:

- Heavy bureaucratic procedures by the European Commission continue to hamper its aid, and make its payments very unpredictable.

- France has been financing its aid to Mozambique by recycling its debt service

- Spanish debt relief to Honduras is boomeranging back to benefit Spanish companies and organisations.

- The World Bank is still using its aid to try and force controversial economic reforms in Mali.

It is very hard for us to see what aid is coming into our country” said Christian Lawrence, from the Campaign for Good Governance in Sierra Leone, “Donors are not transparent enough about their aid and do not account to citizens in developing countries. Without good information about the money coming in, we cannot scrutinise whether it is being well spent”.

For more information contact : Lucy Hayes, Eurodad Policy and Advocacy Officer: +32-478-556877 Laura Sullivan, Actionaid Media and Advocacy Officer, +32-2-503-2422

Notes to editors:

You can find more information including the report at:

A number of key official events will take place in the first week of April for which the findings from this report are extremely relevant:

- 2nd/ 3rd April – Representatives from OECD and developing countries will meet at the OECD in Paris to discuss the Communiqué that is being prepared for the Ministerial High Level Forum on aid effectiveness in Accra

- 4th April – The OECD DAC will announce how much aid the world’s rich country governments delivered for poverty reduction in 2007. Despite commitments to increase their aid, it appears that aid both globally and from the EU aid will in fact go down. The European Aidwatch coalition, of which Eurodad is a member will release a press statement to respond to these figures on the 4th April. Contact Jasmine Burnley at +32-473 478806

- 9th April – The European Commission will release its Communication on Financing for Development and Aid Effectiveness. This will include the EU’s priorities for aid reform.

About Eurodad: Eurodad is a network of 54 development NGOs from 17 European countries, based in Brussels and working on issues related to debt, development finance and poverty reduction.

[1] These organisations are: from Europe - ActionAid, CAFOD, CNCD, Ibis, Oxfam and Trocaire; from Africa – Campaign for Good Governance (Sierra Leone), FECONG (Mali), RODADDHD (Niger).

Nasi Partnerzy Amani Kibera Instytut Globalnej Odpowiedzialności Counter Balance Polska Akcja Humanitarna Grupa Zagranica Bankwatch Network Polska Zielona Sieć