How effective is our work towards reaching the MDGs?

By Elvira Beracochea, MIDEGO

Are we really making a difference? Should we account for our work and present transparent results, good and bad to our peers, host country partners and funding agencies?

This year the IH section hosted the second panel on “Aid Effectiveness and Accountability.” This panel is a follow on to the one we had last year. I am happy that the topic of Aid Effectiveness is raising more attention. I want to thank two guest presenters: Michael Hammer, Executive Director of the One World Trust, who came from the UK for this panel and Elisabeth Sandor of the OECD, who came from Paris for this panel.

One World Trus (www.oneworldtrust.org) is a fifty-year old non-profit organization in the UK evaluating and holding accountable organizations such as DfID, Aga Khan Foundation, etc. Their accountability report is a must for those working in IH. Last year the OECD decided to include health as its tracer sector and is monitoring progress towards the MDGs and the commitments made in Paris Declaration.  

The APHA panel also included members of our section: Carol Dabss of The State Department, Jay Gribble of PRB,  Wendy Johnson of HAI, who presented the NGO code of conduct, and me, who presented a country’s perspective in implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Kate Tulenko of the World Bank could not come but sent her PPT. My thanks and appreciation to all the panelists and participants!

I believe the panel raised interest and many interesting views and ideas. We decided to create a yahoo group and  keep the dialog on aid effectiveness and accountability in health development activities. The address for the group is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aideffectiveness/ Let me know if you want to get copies of the presentations and/or join the group. We will be drafting a resolution on Aid Effectiveness and Accountability for the next Governing Council.

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One thought on “How effective is our work towards reaching the MDGs?

  1. To give or not to give, this is the debated question! Aid Effectiveness and Accountability is an important topic to continually address. In terms of aid effectiveness, William Easterly writes in “The White Man’s Burden”, that grandiose programs using massive amounts of foreign aid is hard to evaluate. If grand schemes and big ideas are hard to evaluate, it would be quite difficult for future improvement. He even includes studies which mention that aid may have no effect or even negative consequences on the aid recipient. We have to continually evaluate all aid programs so that we ensure it will only bring about positive outcomes. Perhaps, we should keep in mind our ultimate goals like providing basic human rights to every global citizen, but approach it in small steps and smaller programs which we can evaluate.

    To address accountability, all foreign aid results should be presented to host country partners, donors, and even more! As a global citizen, everyone should see the positive and unfortunate negative effects of various aid programs. Foreign aid includes any type of resources provided to another country. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t… Unfortunately, the continual teaching and implementation of Western ideas, including free markets and capitalism, don’t always benefit a country, but actually worsen their situation. We have seen various types of catastrophes happen; loans that carry along exorbitant interest rates that result in poorer countries and structural adjustment programs that ask countries to reduce national spending, the list goes on. Who will be accountable for various types of foreign aid that do more harm than good?

    All who give assistance, give out of compassion, but it doesn’t mean we cannot own up to our mistakes!

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