Impact of global development aid

High-ranking officials from donor and recipient nations meeting in South Korea later this month expect to discuss a new global mechanism that can better manage and improve the impact of global development aid, key organizers said Sunday.

About 2,500 government delegates and leaders of international organizations, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will start a three-day conference in the southern port city of Busan on Nov. 29.

The 4th High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness will assess progress in improving the handling of global aid funds, following previous meetings in Paris, Rome and Accra, and set forth a new paradigm for global development aid, said Park Enna, director-general for development cooperation at Seoul’s foreign ministry.

Park, who will serve as South Korea’s chief negotiator at the Busan conference, said Seoul strongly supports the establishment of a new global mechanism to oversee and support commitments set by the Busan conference.

The new mechanism, dubbed the “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation,” will improve aid “at a political level and will be steered by a high-level committee,” Park said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

South Korea also “expects the Global Partnership to serve as an inclusive space for dialogue, mutual learning and accountability,” Park said.

The Busan conference is the largest follow-up, involving some 160 countries and around 70 international aid agencies and non-governmental organizations, since the Forum was launched in Paris in 2005.

At the Paris meeting, donor and recipient countries agreed on a number of principles to improve aid quality amid growing concerns that development assistance was being fragmented and aid delivery was often hampered by bureaucracy.

To reduce costly fragmentation of aid and improve the effectiveness of aid, donor and recipient nations implemented a number of measures, including the coordination of technical cooperation and the freeing aid from bureaucratic stumbling blocks. However, progress in some other areas remains slow.

Globally, development-aid is predominantly provided by two international organizations — the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In the wake of the Busan forum, the U.N. and OECD are expected to build a partnership for a synergistic effect, Park said.

South Korea is also focusing on encouraging the private sector to actively engage in global aid, said Cho Tae-yul, Seoul’s ambassador for development cooperation.

“Given the increasing role of the private sector in international development, its integration into broader partnerships is essential to increase development effectiveness,” Cho said.

“We need to make fuller use of the private sector as a source of innovation and a broker of local and global partnerships,” he said.

To that end, the Busan conference has invited more than 70 representatives from the private sector as “full members of the broader effectiveness partnership,” the ambassador said.

Hosting the Busan conference is a symbolic occasion for South Korea, which achieved what is considered an economic miracle, rising from the rubble of the 1950-53 Korean War to become a vibrant democracy within the ranks of the OECD.

By 2015, South Korea will nearly triple its official development aid (ODA) to about US$ 3 billion. The ODA is designed to help Asian, African and Latin American countries establish economic and industrial infrastructure.

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