Reality of Aid 2010: human rights, social justice and democracy

Reality of Aid 2010: human rights, social justice and democracy

2010: assessing aid and development

Millions of people worldwide have insufficient food to eat, are vulnerable to disease and disaster, and receive minimal income. However, rich countries have already made a series of pledges on poverty reduction and environmental protection. This report therefore, seeks to provide rigorous analysis for challenging accustomed notions on aid and development cooperation, as well as suggest practical measures for moving forward on urgent reforms.

The report presents findings such as:

  • Governments have signed international human rights and environmental treaties and in principle accept that development must be about enabling people to fulfil their rights. But in practice they too often overlook the rights agenda

  • Donors frequently fail to understand the complex dynamics of national institutions. This can lead them to undermine grassroots engagement and consolidate government power

  • The aid system which has grown over the past few decades has many inefficiencies and perverse incentives which frustrate sensible planning and delivery of aid programmes on the ground. These must be changed if individual officials are to be enabled to use aid to empower local groups to change lives for the better

  • With just five years remaining to realize the Millennium Development Goals, donor aid performance has stalled. Official aid levels in 2010 are expected to fall far short of the pledges made in 2005. If all donors had honoured their longstanding commitment to provide 0.7% of their gross national income, aid in 2009 would have been US$272 billion, providing significant resources for the poorest countries to achieve goals in health, education, and environmental sustainability.
This report provides the following recommendations:
  • National governments must also accept responsibility for opening channels for community engagement, whether about projects or policies. Only when they do so will it be possible to achieve development effectiveness
  • A more comprehensive and equitable approach to development cooperation is urgently required. All stakeholders must embrace development effectiveness as a “third reform agenda” focusing on results to achieve the goals of poverty reduction and human rights-based development
  • Reforms should address the urgency of policy coherence for development, with a renewed development cooperation architecture that promotes the centrality of the poor and their developing countries in the aid system through equality and mutuality in development cooperation
  • Rather than aid being provided as a charitable contribution to the wellbeing of others, it should be a formal commitment to empower poor and vulnerable communities to claim their rights.