Action to boost aid effectiveness must be accelerated says UN official

The three-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, which began yesterday, seeks to review progress of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, which was signed by 100 donors and governments in March 2005.Positive steps have been taken since then, “but not enough to meet the 2010 targets set in Paris,” said Lennart Båge, President of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). “We must do more, and we must do it faster.”He pointed to new hurdles stemming from soaring fuel and food prices, which will be exacerbated by climate change. A further 100 million people will drop into poverty, while 850 million people are hungry worldwide. In a little over a decade, a further 50 million will face food insecurity due to climate change.“Given the urgency of the situation, failure to meet the Paris commitments is not an option,” Mr. Båge stated.The IFAD chief stressed the need for countries to “have the will and the leadership” to take ownership of their development and underscored the importance of donor support through incentives.But he warned that weak institutions and limited participation by donors and others could thwart nations’ attempts to take control of creating development strategies. “Changing organizational behaviour – within donors and partner countries – is an essential element in improving development effectiveness,” he added.Yesterday at the Accra event, the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the European Commission (EC) underlined the need for governments and donors to make bigger strides in address gender inequality to successfully combat global poverty.“Over a billion women worldwide continue to be trapped in poverty,” UNIFEM Director Inés Alberdi told participants.“Where women can’t thrive, national development strategies and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals [MDG] are in jeopardy. There can be no aid effectiveness without a focus on gender equality.” 3 September 2008As more than 1,000 ministers, authorities and representatives of aid agencies gather to discuss development targets, the head of the United Nations rural agricultural arm today called on the international community to speed up action to boost aid effectiveness. read more