High-level Forum Discusses Ways to Boost Aid Impact Amid Economic Crisis

At a time when aid budgets are being slashed and governments are implementing austerity measures to cope with financial problems, it is all the more important to boost development cooperation and ensure aid programs are effective. This was a point senior U.N. officials stressed at a recent event, where concerns over an emerging focus on private sector development and South-South cooperation were also raised.

“In these times of fiscal austerity measures, it is worrisome that aid budgets are often the first targets. We must resist this trend,” U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said. “At the same time, we must work together with renewed dedication to maximize the development impact of aid.”

The symposium, which focused on the theme “Working Together to Increase the Development Impact of Aid,” is the second in a series of high-level meetings in preparation for the Development Cooperation Forum the ECOSOC is set to convene in June 2012. The Development Cooperation Forum was created in 2005 to help make development activities of the United Nations and its partners more coherent and streamlined. The meeting in Luxembourg is also expected to inform the upcoming Fourth High-level Meeting on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Busan, South Korea.

At the meeting, more than 150 U.N., government and civil society representatives engaged in interactive and informal discussions about how investments, trade and domestic revenues can be effectively mobilized and utilized to increase aid impact.

Participants also raised concerns over how the current world economic situation is affecting aid levels and the sustainability of development projects.

“In addition, some are worried that the interest in the role of the private sector or South-South cooperation may signal a retreat in North-South commitments,” ECOSOC President Lazarous Kapambwe noted in his closing remarks.

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.