Between 2 and 4 September 2008, the international development community gathered in Accra (Ghana) in order to discuss the progress of and future steps for aid effectiveness. While the 2005 Paris Declaration sets technical standards for achieving better development results, political issues had an important impact on its implementation over the last three years.
This backgrounder by Stefan Meyer and Nils-Sjard Schulz takes a historical point of departure to track development trends and pathways of development policy principles leading to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. It describes agenda setting by the World Bank, the United Nations and the OECD/DAC. Thereby it critically traces the genesis of the five principles of aid effectiveness: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, results-orientation and mutual accountability.
It then documents the evolution of the debate from Paris to Accra and identifies issues of contestation for the future aid agenda. Amongst these, political dimensions, such as conditionalities, the independent monitoring of mutual accountability between donors and governments, emerging patterns of South-South cooperation and a general call for democratisation of the new aid architecture.
Finally, the document describes a series of key issues that donors and partner countries will have to attend to in order to maintain the momentum of the aid effectiveness agenda. In the aftermath of the High-Level Forum in Accra, it might be necessary to pay greater attention to the politics of development partnership, which should feed more consistently into the evolving global governance of aid.