WASHINGTON DC, Sept. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - Commonwealth finance ministers,
meeting in Washington DC on 21 September 2011, called on the
international community to strengthen mutual accountability backed by
transparency in delivery and use of aid, in order to make it effective
in creating jobs, improving livelihoods and combating poverty.
The ministers noted that the manner in which aid is delivered can impact
domestic accountability of both partner and donor countries, and
therefore said that there is need for greater openness and better
tracking for both parties.
"We agreed that the achievement of results often hinges on factors
beyond the control of partner countries and that care needs to be taken
to prevent the escalation of conditionality for external assistance
based on these results. We also recognised the inherent tensions which
can emerge in the interplay between political systems and
administrative and bureaucratic systems, each with differing
expectations, processes and accountabilities," said Pravin Gordhan,
South Africa's Finance Minister who chaired the meeting.
The ministers noted that aid reforms have been uneven, with recent
evidence signalling relatively stronger progress among partner
countries, where reforms have taken hold and momentum sustained through
political changes and through external crises; while with some
noticeable exceptions, many donors have proved risk averse and
reluctant to make a number of anticipated changes.
On his part, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said that
the Commonwealth contains an increasing share of the world's poorest
people, placing significant importance on the ability of the
association's poorest, smallest and most vulnerable members to secure
reliable, consistent and additional sources of financing for
development, including protecting existing flows of aid.
"The sustainability of such aid therefore remains crucial to the
Commonwealth's developing countries," Mr Sharma said.
Ministers also discussed the role of the G20 - the group of the twenty
most industrialised countries - in accelerating global recovery, and
pointed out that while the G20 represents a systemically important
group, it does not possess all the elements of a solution to global
"Many solutions can in fact be found in a wide range of other developing
countries. The G20 has the responsibility to ensure that the voices of
those not in the G20 are continuously heard, and the Commonwealth is
well placed to reflect the views of these countries, particularly the
smallest and most vulnerable, because of the organisation's potential
and effectiveness as a forum through which consensus on global policy
issues can emerge," Mr Gordhan said.
Ministers shared experiences in both providing and utilising existing
sources of innovative finance for development, and noted that securing
new funds is crucial for developing country members of the Commonwealth
as they strive to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals targets
by 2015. They noted that within the Commonwealth there are a wide range
of examples of successful development and use of innovative finance
instruments and practices, which deserved closer analysis and which
offered the potential for scaling up and broadening the use of
innovative finance instruments across the Commonwealth. Ministers
agreed that the Commonwealth Secretariat will pursue a focused
programme of work to widen the sharing of experience and knowledge
within the Commonwealth on current and potential future sources of
innovative finance for development.
SOURCE The Commonwealth Secretariat
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