J. Brian Atwood: OECD Does not Control Aid Agenda

The Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development does not direct the aid agenda, the committee’s chairman says, in response to a column by a U.K.-based research fellow urging DAC to relinquish its control over how aid is distributed.

J. Brian Atwood says he agrees with Jonathan Glennie, of the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute, on the importance of the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action to the overall aid agenda but opposes the notion that OECD-DAC controls such an agenda.

>> OECD Encouraged To Relinquish Control Over Aid Effectiveness Agenda

“If this were the case –if there were one centralized aid mechanism – then it would be easier to change. But ODA – which accounts for the vast majority of what we refer to as ‘aid’ today – is not centrally managed,” Atwood explains. “It is, rather, the sum of numerous countries’ and organizations’ total – yet individual and independent – efforts to promote the development process.”

The committee was created to coordinate these individual mechanisms and efforts “not for the donors but for the countries trying to work their way out of poverty and all it entails,” Atwood adds.

Atwood agrees with Glennie that there has been progress in advancing the aid effectiveness agenda but that the job is incomplete. This is why the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which will be held in Busan in November, is the “true turning point” in this pursuit.

“If Busan is successful, it will show us exactly where we need to focus to make good on those commitments. But more than that, it will signal a renewed global commitment to attack poverty as a central source of the world’s problems,” he says.

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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.