CSOs against policy intervention, strings on aid

Kathmandu, November 2:

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have developed a set of recommendations to be presented to the donors and the government representatives at the Accra High Level Forum meet next year. The CSOs were engaged in a preparatory meet in the capital since October 29.

Major recommendations include recognition to CSOs as a leading development partner, increase in grants over loans, considerations for debt payment in instalments or even debt cancellation, promotion and respect for the leadership of the Third World countries and recognition to the ownership of people over aid.

In this regard, well-known civil society members from home and abroad spoke to this daily on issues confronting development and aid effectiveness and the role of CSOs in furthering development goals.

Brian Tomlinson, member of the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness, said lending agencies such as the World Bank are ‘not totally open’ to the idea of accepting the CSOs as development actors. “We will in Accra push for recognition of our work.”

On the conditionalities attached to the aid, Brian said, “Terms will be there. But there should be no policy intervention by the lending bodies.” He further said that the donors should respect the right of the people to receive aid. The socio-cultural and economic rights enshrined by the International Human Rights law too ensure the right of every government to receive aid.

Saying that aid has become a controversial issue because of debt recovery and conditionalities attached to it, Antonio Tujan, the chaiperson of the Philippines-based Reality of Aid Network, “It is the responsibility of the international community to recognise our right to development.”

Tujan laid stress on ‘restructuring’ of the world bodies like the WB, which he said is highly undemocratic and conservative.

Responding to a query on high corruption rate in developing countries like Nepal that compels donors to attach strings, Dr Arjun Karki, president of the NGO Federation of Nepal, said, “Conditionalities do not reduce corruption, rather we are pushed to compromise on national sovereignty due to the strings attached to aid.”

The CSOs have also called upon the international community to increase the Official Development Assistance, as promised during the 2005 Paris Declaration. “Take EU for instance. It has promised 1.68 per cent of the gross national income in ODA by 2015, but EU

has not even met the current standard of 0.7 per cent,” Karki said.