Ensuring donor accountability

Ensuring donor accountability (Photo: UNHCR)

“The international economic crisis is being claimed for non-fulfillment of ODA commitments. But the fact remains that ODA commitments were never fulfilled even before the crisis… I look forward to a fruitful discussion on what can be done to ensure that commitments made, will be commitments kept,” said Ambassador Momen, Second Committee Chair, as he opened the event on “Financing for Development: Donor accountability in increasing international financial and technical cooperation for development”.

Arranged by DESA’s Financing for Development Office yesterday, the event aimed at exploring how to implement the internationally agreed commitments on “increasing international and financial cooperation for development”, one of the six leading actions of the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration on Financing for Development. Many delegations emphasized the need for a strengthened intergovernmental follow-up process on Financing for Development to ensure the implementation of the commitments made in the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration, including those on ODA.

The event highlighted how the net Official Development Assistance (ODA) ratio of many larger donor countries remain below the UN target of 0.7 per cent, despite the impulse for revival in contributions following the conferences in Monterrey (2002) and Doha (2008). However, five countries were mentioned for their contributions exceeding this target – Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

“Looking ahead, the forecasted future trend for aid growth looks weak. Most donors plan to increase aid over the coming three years at a sharply reduced pace. Aid to Africa is likely to decrease in per capita terms since the projected increase in ODA (1 per cent per year in real terms) will be outpaced by population growth,” continued Ambassador Momen.

ECOSOC President Lazarous Kapamwe also highlighted that ODA has reached a record level of 128.7 billion dollars, but at the same time he underscored that this “remains a far cry” from the UN target of 0.7 per cent. He noted that “fiscal austerity weighs on aid prospects while the impact of the world food, economic and financial crises, makes it even more necessary.”

Several delegates emphasized that ODA commitments should be seen as a shared responsibility. In this context, many delegations highlighted the need for donor countries to finally implement their commitment to provide 0.7 percent of their GNI to development assistance.

Speakers highlighted that the commitment was first made more than 40 years ago in a 1970 General Assembly Resolution (2626) and had been reaffirmed in many international agreements over the years, including the Monterrey Consensus. At the same time, it was stressed that recipient countries should follow a holistic development strategy that leverages the development impact of ODA as much as possible.

The event was moderated by the Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN Morten Wetland and the panelists included the Chair of the Group of LDCs and Permanent Representative of Nepal to the UN Gyan Chandra Acharya, former Director of DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development Tariq Banuri, and the Head of Delegation of the EU Thomas Mayr-Harting.

The fifth GA High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development will take place in New York on 7-8 December.

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