We came, we saw, we conquered! Busan reflections by Richard Ssewakiryanga

Thursday 15 December 2011,

Open Forum Global Facilitation Group Member Richard Ssewakiryanga (Uganda National NGO Forum) has contributed his insights on the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to the Devex portal - we are glad to share his opinion piece and invite you to read it in its entirety:

"I leave the city of Busan in Korea with a new development cliché: “country heavy-global light.”

That is the character of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, which is the outcome document from the Busan Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held from Nov. 29 to Dec.1, 2011. This was the conference that formally brought the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of 2005 and the Accra Agenda for Action of 2008 to an official end. These two earlier declarations were supposed to define how the world was going to use aid and development cooperation resources to fast-track the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

It is interesting that we came ready to erase the words “aid effectiveness” from the development vocabulary and replace them with the words “development effectiveness.” But we left with a more convoluted process and document whose title had little to do with the aspirations of the meeting. Nevertheless, we leave this high-level forum with a nice collection of metaphors like “enabling environment,” “triangular cooperation,” “social entrepreneurship,” and “results focus” as new words that will define the new era of development cooperation.

The Busan outcome document has been received with mixed feelings. Just like the Korean dishes that are made with sugar and salt, it has some progressive language, it has very little in terms of specifics, and it is imbued with contradictions about what the world would like to do about aid and development. For instance, the title speaks to the issue of effective development cooperation when we all agreed that what we are coming together to speak about development effectiveness. When that was raised by civil society in the final negotiation on-site in Busan, there was outright resistance to make any changes to the text. Then China suggested language at the eleventh hour and it was hastily inserted in the second paragraph of the outcome document to appease a global power. So the Busan outcome document was a modest win, an interesting paradigm shift and a compromise-laden document....

Read the rest of the Opinion Piece by Richard Ssewakiryanga on the Devex portal