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General News of Thursday, 4 September 2008

Source: GNA

Organisations ridicule Aid Effectiveness conference

Accra, Sept.4, GNA - As representatives of governments of developed and developing countries and selected civil society organizations crack their brains at a high level forum on how to make aid more effective for poor countries, a group of civil society organizations has put out pictorial expressions that ridicule the entire conference. There were a total of eight pictures showing a human pyramid tied with a red rope in a tangled manner with the one at the top of the pyramid holding on to the knot tightly, preventing those at the bottom from reaching the top and from freeing themselves. "The acrobats in the pictures highlight how the Accra Third High Level Forum (HLF3) is a 'show', with the appearance of negotiations taking place, but with few progressive outcomes," a statement accompanying the pictures said.

The statement said the human pyramid was a civil society expression of the current aid architecture, adding that, as the pictures demonstrated, the aid hierarchy tied developing countries in knots, thereby threatening progress towards effective aid and development. The pictures were taken by International Photo Journalists Flint Duxfield.

Each of the pictures depicted how the aid effectiveness talks had failed to deliver on the five main principles of the Paris Declaration. The pictures variously demonstrated failed commitment to the principle of ownership in particular, persistence of the complexities of tied aid through donor conditionalities and the continuous victimization of citizens of poor countries who are rather supposed to benefit from aid.

The statement noted that the current aid system was hierarchical and the people at the bottom, whom aid is supposed to benefit, had little or no ownership of aid programmes. The ropes, the statement noted, represented the tied nature of aid, saying that the poor were bound by conditions on the aid given to them, and they were subtly compelled to cede control of much of their own development to donors at the top. "The tangled nature of the ropes represents the complexity of the current aid system, rendering the funds inaccessible by those who need it the most," the statement said.

The civil society organizations therefore insisted that the aid system could only succeed if it were a circle in which donors and beneficiaries engaged on the same level. They argued that in order to move the aid effectiveness talks forward, there was the need for the tripartite, comprising donors, beneficiary countries and civil society to unite and engage more closely on how to make aid benefit the actual targeted group, the poor and most vulnerable.

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