Who Should Lead the Global Aid Agenda?

    The logo of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development at the main entrance of the OECD conference center in Paris, France. Photo by: Michael Dean / OECD

    The upcoming aid effectiveness conference in South Korea should produce a declaration addressing the fragmentation of the international aid system, according to the head of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    J. Brian Atwood noted in a debate on Wednesday (July 6) in the United Kingdom that there should be “broader participation” in the international aid system and pointed out the “need for a new agenda and policy coherence,” the Guardian’s Mark Tran says in the “Poverty Matters” blog.

    But despite Atwood’s call for broader participation, he “believes that DAC is an inclusive enough organization to retain its leading role in development efforts,” Tran says. He notes that Atwood defended this position by highlighting that representatives of non-DAC member countries are already taking part in the group’s annual meetings.

    Atwood has also previously argued that DAC does not direct the international aid agenda. He was then responding to a blog by think tank expert Jonathan Glennie, who urged OECD-DAC to relinquish its control over how aid is disbursed.

    >> J. Brian Atwood: OECD Does not Control Aid Agenda

    >> Jonathan Glennie: UN is Best Body to Oversee Aid Effectiveness Agenda

    Tran notes of this debate between Atwood and Glennie and throws in a view from yet another party, Rwanda’s high commissioner Ernest Rwamucyo, who urged donors to explore more daring development strategies and for them to allow recipient countries to “try things that seemed crazy at the time”.

    Rwamucyo gave as example his own country’s experience in implementing its Vision 2020 plan, which many donors have tagged as too ambitious. Rwanda has achieved most of the plan’s targets, he said.

    Rwamucyo, meantime, rejected Glennie’s suggestion that the United Nations take the lead in setting the global aid agenda.

    “The trouble with the UN is that it is an ineffective actor,” he explained. “Let’s see how much we can accomplish in the current framework. The U.N. can be good in some situations, but not in others.”

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    About the author

    • Ivy mungcal 400x400

      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.