Aid Effectiveness


The aid effectiveness agenda seeks to reform the aid system with the objective of making it more transparent, accountable and effective at helping the poorest countries and the most marginalised people by supporting recipient countries to lead their own development.  From the donor’s perspective this also has the added benefit of helping to increase the impact and value for money of their aid.

The core principles of effective aid are:

Ownership: “Partner countries exercise effective leadership over their development policies and strategies, and co-ordinate development actions.”

Alignment: “donors base their overall support on partner countries’ national development strategies, institutions and procedures.”

Harmonisation: “Donors’ actions are more harmonised, transparent and collectively effective.”

Managing for Results: “Managing and implementing aid in a way that focuses on the desired results and uses information to improve decision-making.”

Mutual Accountability: “Donors and partners are accountable for development results.”

In 2005 the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness committed countries and organisations to increase efforts in ownership, harmonisation, alignment, mutual accountability, and managing aid for results, with targets set around a range of monitorable actions and indicators. In 2008 the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA) aimed to strengthen and deepen implementation of these commitments, and accelerate advancement towards a 2010 deadline.

In 2011, the Fourth High Level Forum in Busan looked both backwards at the progress made in implementing the Paris and Accra agendas, and forwards at a new or amended framework for ‘high quality aid’. Though progress against the Paris targets had been disappointing, with only one target of the 13 met globally, it is still important to note that significant progress had been made towards meeting many of the other targets. More information on measuring progress on aid effectiveness targets can be found here.

Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

The Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness was held in Busan, South Korea, 29th November – 1st December 2011.

The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation  was released on 1st December 2011, after extended negotiations. For the first time, it establishes an agreed framework for development cooperation that embraces traditional donors, South-South cooperators, the BRICs, CSOs and private funders.

The Busan Partnership also saw the end of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness that has been replaced by the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.  The Global Partnership is currently working on an implementation and monitoring framework as well as on several other priority areas including increasing revenue for developing countries including tax, knowledge-sharing, how to involve the private sector in development cooperation, country ownership including case studies and inclusive development (human rights, gender inclusivity, democratic accountability, etc.).

The Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action

Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness

The 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PD) is the most comprehensive attempt to date to mobilise the international aid community to define the core principles of effective aid, identify a set of reforms to put these principles into practice and agree a range of measurable targets to promote progress on these reforms.

The Paris Declaration promotes more effective aid based on five inter-related principles: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, results and mutual accountability. The Declaration includes a set of quantified targets for 2010, monitored bi-annually to assess progress and to hold signatories to account for achieving results.

These targets aim to increase; aid recorded in country budgets, co-ordinated technical assistance, use of country financial management systems, use of country procurement systems, aid predictability, untied aid, use programme-based approaches, joint missions and joint country analysis, and to decrease the number of parallel implementation units.

Although donors have made progress in implementing these reforms, they still have some way to go to deliver what are basic reforms and face calls to deliver more ambitious and other related reforms in the future.

Accra Agenda for Action

Designed to strengthen and deepen implementation of the Paris Declaration, the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA, 2008)  takes stock of progress and sets the agenda for accelerated advancement towards the Paris targets.

It proposes the following three main areas for improvement: Ownership; Inclusive partnerships; and Delivering results.

Useful Resources