Workshop Held on Towards Ensuring Better Results and Accountability of Foreign Aid
A divisional level workshop titled `Towards Ensuring Better Results and Accountability of Foreign Aid: Reaching out to Stakeholders’ has been held in Cox’sbazar, Bangladesh on 9 May 2013 jointly organized by the Economic Relations Division with support from the multi-donor supported Aid Effectiveness Project being implemented. It was co-financed by AusAid, Bangladesh Government, Danida, DFID and UNDP. The workshop was attended by various stakeholders such as key district administration officials, heads of all major government offices in the district, local government representatives such Mayors, Upazilla Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen, academics, civil society representatives and media. The workshop aims at spreading out the aid effectiveness agenda among cross section of stakeholders, thereby creating a national demand for result oriented and transparent development cooperation in Bangladesh.
Md. Ruhul Amin, Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar, inaugurated the workshop while it was attended by Mohammad Asif-uz-Zaman, Joint Secretary of Economic Relations Division as the Chief Guest and Aftab Ahmad, Policy Support and Communication Cluster of UNDP Bangladesh as the Special Guest. Md. Ruhul Amin, Deputy Commissioner of Cox’s Bazar remaked that many qualitative changes have been noticed in the concept of development recently. Participation and access to information are important features of good governance, he mentioend.
Monowar Ahmed, National Project Manager, Aid Effectiveness Project in his welcome speech shared the objectives of the workshop highlighting the milestones in the global aid architecture and he emphasized the feedback of the local stakeholders as majority of the projects are implemented at the local level. He also emphasized that feedback from the field would be helpful to design appropriate strategies to ensure results of development cooperation.
Aftab Ahmad stated that foreign aid mangement and coordination needed to be further improved in the country. The issue of effective and transperent utiliztion of foreign aid is yet to be a part of national development discourse. Mohammad Asif-uz-Zaman told that despite Bangladesh’s impressive success in areas of social and economic development, still Bangladesh is fairly dependant on foreign aid to implement its development planning, particularly some important projects in some critical sectors. He particulalry suggested that the feedback of the district development and coordination committee (DDC) should be counted by Ministries/Divisions while reviewing and undertaking development projects for local level.
Key note presentations were made by Dr. Mohamamad Mizanur Rahman, Coordination Specialist of the Aid Effectiveness Project and Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director, VOICE, a CSO engaged in aid accountability and transparency both at local and global level. The presentations captured the broader issues of the aid effectiveness.
Dr. Mohamamad Mizanur Rahman made a presentation on “the changing dynamics of the aid effectiveness agenda and local responses” highlighting the local responses, the presentation provided a wide range of activities that Bangladesh government has undertaken to implement global commitments concerning aid effectiveness. He argued that a collaborative approach will ensure participation of different stakeholders in development planning and implementation and eventually help the government to develop nationally owned and need based development projects and strategies that the country needs seriously to graduate from aid dependency.
Ahmed Swapan Mahmud in his presentation on “implementation of aid effectiveness agenda at the country level Bangladesh: CSO perspective” argued that a collaborative approach will ensure participation of different stakeholders in development planning and implementation and eventually help the government to develop nationally owned and need based development projects and strategies that the country needs seriously to graduate from aid dependency.
The participants also engaged in breakout sessions to discuss following issues in the group. The issues discussed were, i. effective implementation of foreign aided projects: challenges and recommendations; ii. towards ensuring transparency and accountability in foreign aid: challenges and recommendations; iii. strengthening local ownership: challenges and recommendations; and iv. ensuring results of development cooperation: challenges and recommendations. The presentation made by the groups detailed the features of problems in implementing projects in the local levels and put a set of recommendations to consider to make aid more transparent, accountable and effective. The workshop ended to reiterate engagement of all stakeholders in the process and urged the support to make aid more effective for development results.