Workshop on the Paris Declaration Opens in Uganda

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Entebbe, Uganda 16, November 2005 – A two-day workshop on how to improve the effectiveness of development assistance

organized by the African Development Bank, the World Bank, UNDP and in collaboration with the OECD-DAC opened at Entebbe, Uganda, on Wednesday, to discuss implementation of the Paris commitments and policy harmonization by development institutions and their partner countries to enhance development.

The workshop, being attended by representatives of Eastern and Southern African countries, donor institutions and civil society organizations is a follow-up on the Paris Declaration, the historic document with a range of time-bound actions approved in the French capital in March 2005, to improve the effectiveness of aid and enhance progress toward the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Philibert Afrika, the ADB Officer-in-Charge of the Planning, Policy and Research Vice Presidency, said that the workshop provides "an opportunity to share our country and institutional experiences as a means to help refine our implementation plans and agree on the best ways forward for follow-up and monitoring mechanisms for implementing the Paris commitments at the country level".

It was important, he said, that development partners come together at the country level and strengthen their support to government-led processes and consolidate a framework for the implementation and monitoring the progress and achievements of the countries.

"Today, we can all agree that the harmonization and alignment agenda goes beyond harmonizing and aligning internal procedures and processes; Rrecognition and efforts are directed at both donors and partners countries to work together in a framework of mutual accountability as well as managing for results," Mr Afrika emphasized.

In the opening speech, the Minister for General Duties in the office of the Prime Minister of Uganda, Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, said his country strongly supports increased use of budget support as an important way aid can be rendered most effective,

He said Uganda was able to assume leadership of its development agenda through its Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) adopted by the government eight years ago and other budgetary measures providing the structure for donor aid alignment and harmonization.

The budget discipline of the government’s Mid-term Action Framework and the focus on its Poverty Action Fund gave donors who themselves, were accountable to their tax payers, the confidence to channel aid through direct budget support, he said.

"This modality ensures real alignment of aid with government priorities, and effective harmonization, overcoming the transactions costs for government in dealing with a multiple of programmes and projects", Prof. Kagonyera said, explaining that it was for this reason that Kampala continues to advocate for increased use of budget support.

On her part, Ms. Judy O’Connor, the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania and Uganda, said the Paris agenda was critical for growth and poverty reduction for countries in Africa and in other parts of the developing world.

"We must focus not on first principles but on issues of implementation. We are well past the stage of principles. Our key purpose of coming together here is to focus discussion on operational issues. Let us make the Entebbe workshop a groundbreaker on this front," she emphasized.

On its part, the UNDP described the workshop as an important and concrete step towards a collective endeavor to make aid work for African development and for progress toward the achievement of the MDGs in Africa.

"If poverty reduction strategies, and especially PRSPs (Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers) are really becoming the tool for donor alignment with national priorities, then, they have to be one of the most important instruments for integrating the MDGs fully within priorities, policies and resource allocation", the head of the UNDP Strategic and Regional Initiatives Unit, Mr. Lamin Manneh, said in a statement read on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the ECA, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh.

This, he added, imposed the need to strengthen national leadership of policies and processes that will render aid effective and also the imperative to strengthen national capacity for the achievement of the MDGs and poverty reduction.

Participants in the workshop are discussing implementation of the Paris commitments – what they mean for countries and for donor institutions; how implementation can be enhanced; how progress can be monitored, measured and reported; and how donors and African partner countries can work effectively together.

A similar workshop for central and Western African countries is under preparation  for early 2006.

Key Paris Declaration Targets

  • 75% of countries with high quality national budgets
  • Financial Management 50% countries improve
  • Procurement - 60% of countries improve
  • 90% of aid on-budget
  • 50% of technical cooperation through coordinated programmes
  • 66% reduction in PIUs
  • 90% aid predictability
  • Continue to untie aid
  • 66% of aid uses program-based approach
  • 40% of missions are joint
  • 66% of analytical work is joint
  • 33% of countries have quality results framework
  • Mutual assessment of aid in 100% of partner countries