Making aid pledges and commitments is great, but they need to materialize.
Suzanne Ehlers, president and CEO of Population Action International, is determined to hold donors accountable for the pledges they make, and that those commitments are properly disbursed and reach the beneficiaries instead of just becoming empty promises.
“There’s a lot of pledges and commitments made [but] we’re not always sure they’re followed through on,” she told us during an interview at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. “[What] we’re doing at the donor country level [and] at the recipient country level is making sure that when a government voices support for an initiative … that someone is there on the ground making sure that commitment is followed through.”
Ehlers explained that much of PAI’s work in sub-Saharan Africa is precisely holding governments to account for the pledges they are making “and making sure we get some traction in terms of those commitments playing out.”
The PAICEO also reflected on the importance of supporting family planning programs in the developing world, not only through bilateral donors like the United States but also multilateral partners such as the World Bank, as well as the private sector. In addition, she stressed the importance of not making the same old mistake of just focusing on numbers and delivery, but making sure these programs are truly empowering womens’ human rights and helping them achieve the highest sustainable level of health.