Stresses Implementation of Joint Cooperation Strategy (JCS) Inclusively with CSOs
The JCS itself declared that it was made ‘in order to implement our commitment made in Paris and Accra’ where the major part of these forums of including CSOs in the process was overlooked. Moreover, the JCS described a monitoring flow chart keeping Aid Effectiveness Working Group in the middle of Policy Making and Implementation. However not a single Working Group includes a single representative of CSOs in the process," said the speakers at the multi-stakeholders consultation on Aid Effectiveness on the Context of Joint Cooperation Strategy held in CIRDAP auditorium at Dhaka today, jointly organized by Aid Accountability Group (AAG) and The Reality of Aid Network.
Chairman of Pally Karmasahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr. Quazi Khalikuzzama presided over the meeting. Former Finance Advisor Mirza Azizul Islam, eminent economist Professor Anu Muhammad, Joint Secretary of Economics Relations Division (ERD) Bijon Kumar Baishya, Former Secretary of Finance and Team Leader of Paris Declaration Evaluation-phase-2 Siddiqur Rahman Chowdhury, Representative of Reality of Aid Ava Danlog, Deputy Country Director of DFID Diana Dalton, European Union Attache of Aid Effectiveness Julia Jacoby, Women Leader Khusi Kabir and Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Convenor of AAG were present among others.
Dr. Qazi Khalikauzzaman in his speech said, at present the aid stands at less than 2 percent of national budget, but the conditionalities of aid is sometimes unbearable, referring to the jute sector, which has been nearly destroyed due to conditionalities imposed by the World Bank. The government of Bangladesh should think about getting out of aid process, he added.
According to Professor Anu Muhammad, as per the statement of Bangladesh Bank, the net foreign aid in Bangladesh is 1b USD and 90% of aid money never comes to Bangladesh, rather it is spent in the name of logistics, travel and consultancy. Supporting Dr. Khaliquzzaman, he said, we should close the process of getting aid while the country should concentrate on domestic resource mobilization and using remittances.
On the other hand, former Advisor of Finance of Caretaker Government, Dr. ABM Mirza Azizul Islam said that the country is not in a position to reject aid, because because it will lead to more inflation, pressure on foreign currency reserve and hamper development process. He emphasised using aid money more effectively following the commitments of Paris Declaration and Accra Action Agenda, holding government and donors accountable.
Bo Sandstrom of DFID said, the JCS was developed to strengthen the cooperation between the government and the Development Partners (DP). To implement the JCS, broader dialogue between the government, development partners and CSOs is required. He said, the CSOs doesn’t mean only NGOs, but the media and other private organizations. They should play an active role for advocacy and the monitoring process of aid and development effectiveness. He added that the donors and government are acting together on how to effectively use aid money for Bangladesh development.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Convenor of Aid Accountability Group and also the Executive Director of VOICE, in his presentation said, the role of NGOs and CSOs is to ensure their accountability and develop a set of principles to make aid more effective vis-a-vis development effectiveness. He said, based on Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and Accra Agenda of Action, ensuring CSOs participation in the process of JCS is extreme necessary as they can contribute for the effectiveness of aid and development. Emphasizing the CSOs role in aid effectiveness agenda, he urged CSOs to come together to act as a pressure group to hold donors and government accountable.
Member of Parliament Anisul Islam Mondal, said, to ensure the effectiveness of aid a combined monitoring system including all concerned parties is necessary. At the present government, the access to information and freedom to express is better than any other time, he added.
Julia Jacoby of European Union said that European Union is committed to carry forward aid effectiveness and it has started a global consultation process where it engaged CSO participation.
Diana Dalton, Deputy Country Representative of DFID said, the UK government is very much committed to realizing aid effectiveness as the government will enshrine to fulfil the commitment of providing 0.7 per cent of gross domestic income to ODA.
Bijon Kumer Baishya, Joint Secretary of ERD and also the National Coordinator of Paris Declaration Implementation, said that government and donors are very much on track realizing aid effectiveness and at present both the parties are working on JCS, which is a good start.
Siddiqur Rahman Choudhury, former finance Secretary, and Team leader of the Paris Declaration Evaluation Phase 2 said that the JCS lacks democratic ownership while it should exercise the participation of CSOs and government officials of other ministries and department for to achieve better results.
Women leader Khusi Kabir urged donors to make the decision making process more democratic, engaging the parliamentarians. She criticised donors and bureaucracy for not making public the aid negotiation process.
Among others, Abdul Awal, Chairperson of Supro, Arup Rahee from Lokoj Institute, KM Enamul Haque, Programme Manager of CAMPE, Uma Choudhury, Director of Supro, Professor Abdul Hye spoke during the occasion.