• Donor resistance threatens aid talks : Breakthrough on real reforms urgently needed, says Oxfam

    Accra, Ghana:  After a day of intense negotiations in Accra, Ghana,
    pressure is building for a breakthrough at a crucial global summit on how
    aid works. Key issues at stake include agreement from donors that they
    will make longer-term commitments of aid and use existing national systems
    rather than setting up parallel bureaucracies to deliver aid, according to
    international agency Oxfam.

    Negotiators from donors and developing countries continue to meet behind
    closed doors to break the deadlock as the High Level Forum on Aid
    Effectiveness began its formal sessions today. But frustrations are
    growing as the deadline for an agreement approaches.

    Making more long term aid commitments has been a sticking point in
    negotiations with the United States and Japan.

    ?The issue of reliable, long-term commitments of aid is critical,? said
    Oxfam International delegation head Robert Fox. ?For developing countries
    to invest in health and education, they need to know what funding they
    will have available for the next three to five years. You can?t train
    teachers or extend health care services to rural areas if you don?t know
    whether you?ll have the funds next year to pay salaries.?

    Another contentious issue is how directly donor countries should be
    involved in delivering aid programs. Most donors and virtually all
    developing countries agree that aid should be delivered through local
    systems wherever possible. However, at present less than half goes through
    country systems. When developing countries have improved their systems,
    donor aren't using them.

    ?The sooner we ensure our aid dollars are strengthening the capacity of
    developing countries to meet their needs, the better,? said Robert Fox.
    ?Good development builds on the abilities and assets of national
    governments and local communities. Aid should strengthen local capacity
    rather than spawning parallel aid empires or relying heavily on
    contractors and consultants from the North.?

    In Mozambique, for instance, donors were spending a staggering $350m a
    year on 3,500 technical consultants, more than four times the annual
    salaries of 100,000 Mozambican public-sector workers.

    Governments from developing countries have every reason to be
    frustrated,? said Robert Fox. ?They?re clear we urgently need big changes
    to the way we deliver aid and that tinkering with the status quo just
    isn?t good enough. Real commitments and action are needed. The key to a
    breakthrough is to put front and centre the interests of women and girls,
    men and boys living in deep poverty.?

    Dominique Jenkins: 0246 124 979 (+233 246 124 979)
    Robert Fox (Oxfam Canada): 0246 125 165 (+233 246 125 165)
    Paul O?Brien (Oxfam America) in Accra: +1 202 290 0335

    At the a previous High Level Forum in Paris in 2005, the ?Paris
    Declaration on Aid Effectiveness? was signed. It set 12 targets, with
    measurable indicators, to improve the effectiveness of aid, to be met by
    2010. The 2008 OECD monitoring report on aid effectiveness* (to be
    officially launched in Accra) shows that there has been little progress by
    donors on meeting many of the Paris targets.

    Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 organizations working
    together to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. We work with
    more than 3,000 partner organizations in over 100 countries.

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