Women’s Forum Statement

Published on betterAid.org, as Women’s Forum Statement, 01 September 2008.

… Promises of aid made by donors have not been fulfilled: Today the aid industry – defined, designed and mainly implemented by donors – is failing to fulfil the right to development as stated in 1986 UN Declaration, as well as the right to gender equality and the right not to be poor. The Paris Declaration is another expression of the unequal aid architecture, lacking a holistic approach to build sustainable development and social justice. Aid assistance should truly support nationally owned and democratically adopted plans towards implementing these commitments, rather than imposing them through aid. To assure sustainability, it is urgent that the relation between the multilateral trading agenda and the aid agenda is made explicit. Aid cannot be detached from the larger context of global trade and the financing system.

While the Paris Declaration is not a binding agreement, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) among others, pose legal obligations to governments regarding issues of development, human rights, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. International treaties endorsed by governments in the last decades must be the framework for development policies and practices. Governments should be held accountable for these commitments. Any efforts to implement the Paris Declaration should be aligned with these international standards and goals …

… Another world is possible: Our vision is a world where aid is no longer necessary, where transformed relations of power and democratic redistribution of wealth continually challenge norms and structures of injustice and war and create new forms of relations based on respect, solidarity and justice for all. Where the existing aid system is not an instrument for oppression and policy capture nor for the support for any armed conflicts, but an instrument for promoting democratic sustainable development agendas which support the equitable distribution of productive resources, decent work, and the provision of social security for all, particularly for women. Last but not least, aid must be delivered to catalyse sustainable dynamics of social organizations and strengthen local productive structures in the face of globalization …

… Women’s recommendations to the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness: The Aid Effectiveness process continues towards 2010 by which time the Paris principles will need to be met. Yet, there are no clear actionable commitments to set up work-plans for the coming phase. To affirm that there is political will to move forward in Accra, women’s organizations call donors and developing country governments: … (full long text).

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