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Donors and Developing Countries Find Common Ground
Entebbe, Uganda 19 November 2005– Development institutions and their partner countries must continue to harmonize their policies and actions to accelerate economic growth and move toward the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
This consensus emerged at the end of a two-day workshop on ‘The Paris Declaration; Implications and Implementation’ held in Entebbe, Uganda. Participants acknowledged that donors had a responsibility to refine and improve the quality of development assistance while recipient countries must ensure that resources are efficiently and effectively deployed and managed to achieve durable results in growth and poverty reduction.
Government officials from Eastern and Southern Africa, representatives of donor institutions and civil society organizations attended the 17-18 November workshop organized by the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the UNDP in collaboration with the OECD-DAC. They discussed implementation of commitments in the Paris Declaration adopted at the March 2005 High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in the French capital.
Sixty developing and 30 donor countries as well as 30 development agencies including the ADB, committed to specific actions to further country ownership, harmonization, alignment, managing for development results, and mutual accountability for the use of aid.
Mr. Philibert Afrika, the ADB Acting Vice-President for Planning, Policy and Research, explained that the workshop provided "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 implementing 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; Recognition 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.
The Uganda Minister for General Duties in the office of the Prime Minister, 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 added, 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.
The UNDP representative 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. A similar workshop for central and Western African countries is under preparation for early 2006.
Key Paris Declaration Targets
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