In February 2005, the International Community came together at the Paris High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to improve the quality of aid and its impact on development priorities and to support partner country efforts to strengthen development performance. The International Community formulated five principles on Aid Effectiveness which are Ownership, Alignment, Harmonization, Managing for Results, and Mutual Accountability; and twelve indicators to assess the progress of the five benchmarks. It was agreed to conduct country-level evaluations on aid effectiveness, where Governments would take a lead.
Afghanistan officially became a Paris Declaration (PD) signatory in 2006 to manage the flow of funds to meet the set-priorities and demonstrate its consistency on effective delivery of aid. As a follow-up to the first phase, the second phase of the Evaluation of the Implementation of the Paris Declaration was undertaken by the Aid Management Directorate of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to assess the effectiveness of aid based on the PD principles.
Key Findings of the Evaluation:
The evaluation reveals that the principles of ownership, alignment, harmonization, managing for results and mutual accountability are important, but the principles alone are not enough to achieve aid effectiveness in Afghanistan. The report indicates that continued insecurity in most parts of the country, multiple and duplicate agendas by donors which result in sectoral and geographical preferences, poor coordination between the members of the International Community and Afghan Government, capacity constraints, corruption, lack of rule of law and confidence of donors in Afghanistan Institutional Capacity have impacted the PD implementation in Afghanistan. In addition PD’s second evaluation findings show that out of 12 PD indicators only one of them has met the global target. According to the findings health and education sectors have had better results and there has been strong donors’ coordination, alignment and harmonization with government programs.
The Evaluation Report explains that Afghanistan has prioritized its development needs and identified National Priority Programs(NPPs) aligned with the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) at the Kabul Conference and the international community agreed that 50 percent of donors’ assistance, over the course of two years, will be provided through the national budget to finance the NPPs. It was also agreed that donors need to align 80 percent of the resources they spend to the NPPs. Another issue being highlighted is that donors design, fund and deliver programs through their separate mechanisms, while, Government of Afghanistan (GoA) needs greater ownership of these programs.
According to the report, gaps between donors’ pledges, commitments and disbursements vary and aid predictability and development planning remain challenging. More importantly, there is need for provision of detailed information by donors to the GoA on their investments, activities, budgets and expected/achieved results.
Looking Forward to the Busan High-Level Forum
As a follow up to PD and ACCRA Agenda for Action, Ministers from both developing and donor countries, parliamentarians, civil society organisations and private sector representatives will come together for the Fourth High-Level Forum (HLF-4) on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea, from 29 November to 1 December 2011. The purpose of the forum is to review global progress in improving the impact of development aid and make new commitments to further ensure that aid helps reduce poverty and supports progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs). MoF has set aid effectiveness priorities to be discussed in Busan. Recognition of complexity of countries in conflict situation, country-tailored systems and development of practical mechanisms for accountability of commitments are the messages that Afghanistan would carry to HLF-4 in Busan to further increase the effectiveness of aid delivery consistent to Afghanistan’s prioritized programs.
One of the core objectives of the UNDP Making Budgets and Aid Work Project (MBAWP) is to support the Ministry of Finance, Government of Afghanistan to ensure that external assistance is better aligned to GoA's development priorities and results and to promote the principles of aid effectiveness