What has happened, or not happened, so far at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea? Some of the key buzzwords after two days of talks and speeches are investments, national security and transparency. A proposal for a new way of assisting fragile states has also been circulated with backing from the Australian government.
Aid as investment, national security priority
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both emphasized the importance of continuous aid programs and development efforts despite the economic slump in most donor countries. Ban urged countries to send an “unequivocal message” that they are committed to efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals by their 2015 deadline.
Clinton, meanwhile, described aid in times of economic crisis as a national security priority, explaining that countries with stable economies are less likely to force citizens to flee as refugees, The Associated Press says. The secretary of state also stressed development and aid should help reduce the risks to doing business in developing countries and the barriers to private sector development.
The global aid transparency movement, meanwhile, is shaping to be among the winners in Busan as more donors announce support for a global initiative to improve how aid information is tracked and presented. A key challenge to aid transparency, however, remains: Emerging donors such as China are less than enthusiastic to make their aid programs more open and transparent.
New way of helping fragile states
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd endorsed on Wednesday (Nov. 30) an agreement that outlines a new way for helping fragile and conflict-torn countries. The agreement outlines five priorities for aid to fragile states: legitimate politics, justice, security, revenue and services, and economic foundations.
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