Thursday, June 02, 2011

O2 Global Development Briefing: At Deauville Summit: G8 Outlines New MENA Partnership, Reaffirms Aid Commitments

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Global Development Briefing: At Deauville Summit: G8 Outlines New MENA Partnership, Reaffirms Aid Commitments
The Development Executive Group - The Global Briefing

We dont want the Arab Spring to be followed by an African winter.

- Adrian Lovett, global campaign director of Save the Children, arguing that financial support for the modernization and stabilization of Middle East and North African countries should not cause a reduction in donor financing for development initiatives in other developing countries.

Global Development Briefing: At Deauville Summit: G8 Outlines New MENA Partnership, Reaffirms Aid Commitments

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At Deauville Summit: G8 Outlines New MENA Partnership, Reaffirms Aid Commitments

G-8 leaders ended their 37th summit in France on Friday (May 27) with the announcement of a new partnership with countries in the Middle East and North Africa and a confirmation of their commitment to global development efforts. Both partnership and overall G-8 development plans drew mixed reactions from experts and members of the international development community.
The Deauville Partnership is the G-8s response to the so-called Arab Spring and outlines the leaders commitment to support stabilization and economic modernization in Egypt and Tunisia, and possibly other MENA countries that will be open to reforms. The partnership commits $20 billion worth of economic aid from multilateral banks, and G-8 leaders said they aim to mobilize up to $20 billion more from bilateral sources.
Some experts praised the Deauville Partnership for laying out an important vision for engagement with MENA countries, but others criticized the G-8 for not outlining a detailed aid timeline or specific financial contributions per country There were also others who voiced concern that the partnership and the assistance G-8 countries plan to channel through it could affect budgets for development programs in other regions of the world.
The G-8s commitments to global efforts to improve health and food security were also outlined in the groups final communique. These included calls for a successful pledging conference for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and an announcement of support for reform efforts at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The leaders also affirmed their commitment to fulfill past pledges to increase aid for agricultural development and to boost the effectiveness and transparency of their aid information.
Members of the international development community were mostly disappointed with this part of the G-8 communique, which most aid groups said was vague and largely lacking in concrete targets.
World leaders have got the right words, but until action is delivered, their dither and delay will continue to cost lives, Chris Page of World Vision U.K. noted.
Person of the Week
Kirsten Johnson
As program director of the Humanitarian Studies Initiative at the McGill University in Canada, Dr. Kirsten Johnson is in charge of helping to make sure humanitarian aid workers that respond to emergencies and disasters such as the Haiti earthquake are adequately prepared for the crisis situations they would deal with.
Johnson oversees a three-day disaster simulation program that aims to teach aid workers from the around the world the ins and outs of disaster response. She usually work with graduate students and midcareer humanitarian workers about to be sent to their first mission.
We shouldnt be sending kids who dont know how to manage in a crisis its inexcusable. And counterproductive to effective aid delivery, she says of the program. Some of these people have never even camped, and we take them into the forest to cope with a disaster scenario.
Johnson recently established her own company through which she further pursues this goal of preparing and teaching academics and aid workers what to expect during humanitarian missions.

Devex would like to honor the unsung heroes working in some of the most difficult environments in the world to bring about a better life for the people there, as well as the top aid officials making difficult decisions at headquarters.

Tell us who you think made an extraordinary impact this past week by e-mailing, subject line: Person of the Week. Very important: Explain your choice in no more than 300 words. Dont forget to include your name, affiliation and location, and make sure to create a personal profile on, so we can give you proper credit.
Your Thoughts
Devex is the most comprehensive source for international development news. Join the debate by visiting and commenting on a news article or blog post. The most thought-provoking reader comments will be published right here.

Corruption and transparency
Recently, many articles refer to corruption and transparency. Unfortunately, donors ignore the private sector business model where efficiency and direct personal accountability lead to full transparency and lowest corruption. The efficiency and personal accountability ingredients are very week and loosely built into aid programs. In my view, the main drawbacks affecting corruption and transparency are: 1. Donors' failure to properly define the specific program objectives, required results/outcome, timeframe for the project and total programs budget. (Longer term programs are subject to variable yearly budget allocations rather than a fixed upfront amount. Considerations such as true value for the money against the results are rarely applied.) 2. Failure to appoint a professional and experienced project manager and an assistant project manager who will be personally responsible for implementation, results, timeframe and staying within the budget. 3. Setting within the project design few milestones for independent M&E of the project as well as of the project managers. It may be nave to assume that the above steps may completely eliminate corruption and lack of transparency but there would produce a measurable improvement.
Peter T. in the United States, commenting on our blog post Australian Government Urged to Tighten Corruption Safeguards in Aid Program

Can a Sector Change be the Third Age?
I'm glad to hear that the nonprofit world values skills and knowledge gained in the private sector. If international development is the "Wild West" of employment, how realistic is it to assume that baby boomers who have gained a lifetime of skills and knowledge would be willing take a risk to change to another sector for the Third Age?
Barbara C. in United States, commenting on our blog post How to Transition from the Private Sector to International Development

It is indeed for real
I agree with very specific phrases in Grahams response, such as, full of officers who are useless wastes of space and local experts feel frustrated when working with them and the need for the the officers of UN and ILO and OECD deliver value for their exorbitant incomes. However, the tragedy of his rant belies the same kind of pettifogging that he accuses these agencies of being guilty of. The aid industry, as it currently stands remains another subsidy channel for developed economies, and opening up the aid industry to real market forces akin to the Smith legacy would probably throw up some very interesting findings and real changes to the effectiveness of the industry. Alas, as an experienced foreign aid worker, who has been paid both international and local salaries, I sincerely doubt this would happen for generations to come. But, one way of balancing out a very imbalanced system, would be to both increase the pay and retain high-quality local staff AND significantly reduce the salaries of foreign aid workers, who are for the most part, 'useless wastes of space'. Considering that foreign aid workers have been receiving exorbitant salaries for decades, and yet the aid industry still has little to show in terms of actual value added, we could see this initiative as an opportunity to find a mix of measures that truly improve effectiveness and productivity, whilst reducing a very real 'brain drain'. Although, having recently acquired the fat cat status myself, why should I want to change a system that keeps me in the cushy job and ensures the minions slave away? Why upset the natural order of things??
Katie P. in Guinea-Bissau, commenting on our blog post New Global Task Force Aims to Promote Equal Salaries for Local, Foreign Aid Workers

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Devex.

Devex is seeking talented writers and journalists in key European cities to cover international development, humanitarian relief, food security, global health and related issues. We are looking for regular contributors in the following cities: Brussels to cover the European Parliament, ECHO, EuropeAid and its contractors. London to cover DfID and various development nonprofits, think tanks and consultancies. Geneva to cover various U.N. agencies and other human rights and development groups. Paris to cover AFD and French government aid, as well as the Francophone aid community. Rome to cover various U.N. and food agencies as well as Italys bilateral aid. In addition, we are looking for occasional contributors located in other major development hubs in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The ideal candidate is a seasoned reporter with a proven track record in covering agencies such as EuropeAid, DfID and the U.N. who has a deep understanding of the international development industry, a basic sense of hiring trends and procurement procedures, and a web of sources in government as well as the private and nonprofit sectors. Fluency in English and other relevant languages is essential.

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Donor News
G-8 leaders pledged on Friday (May 27) to mobilize up to $40 billion worth of economic aid for Egypt, Tunisia and possibly other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. Of this sum, $20 billion is expected to come from multilateral development banks, while $10 billion will be provided by G-8 countries as bilateral assistance. Qatar and other Gulf states will cover the remaining $10 billion.
The G-8 unveiled this assistance package as part of the Deauville Partnership, which outlines the countries commitment to support economic development and political transitions in the MENA region. The partnership is expected to build on the MENA assistance plans already announced by the United States, United Kingdom, World Bank, African Development Bank and European Union, among others.


- Jim Clarken, chairman of Dochas, the umbrella organization of all Irish overseas aid groups.
- Atul Khare, head of the U.N. Change Management Team, which is tasked to implement measures to streamline and enhance the efficiency of the global bodys operations.

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