I represented the Government at last month's inaugural High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in Mexico. For Ireland an overriding priority for the partnership, and one which informed our participation in Mexico, is to renew momentum on strengthening aid effectiveness at country level. Ireland has a strong record on making aid more effective, on harmonising and aligning our aid behind the development efforts of our partner countries. This has been recognized clearly by the OECD's Development Assistance Committee. A continuing commitment to aid effectiveness is a key element of the Government's policy on international development, One World One Future.
The progress that has been made in delivering on the principles and commitments of effectiveness since the Paris Declaration has improved the impact of aid and strengthened partner countries' own development efforts. Joining donor support together behind national policies and programmes and using it to strengthen country systems has been critical to achieving the enormous progress we have seen in improved health and education services, in effectively dealing with the challenge of HIV and AIDS and in the greater efficiency, oversight and accountability of public expenditure and services.
However, our experience at country level since the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011 shows that, in some contexts, the momentum behind the effectiveness agenda has waned. The quality of dialogue has declined; mutual accountability mechanisms seem to be less important, there are fewer examples of joint programmes and collective analysis and a risk of increasing fragmentation of development efforts. The emphasis on development results is often being understood as solely about donors' domestic accountability, rather than also as a means of strengthening partner country systems' ability to deliver development results for their citizens.
With this in mind, I hosted an event at the Mexico meeting, at which an initiative was launched by Ireland, Mozambique, Finland and Switzerland to develop and implement a Joint Agenda for Action to renew momentum on effectiveness in Mozambique. The objective of this event was to build on the relationships and structures that have been put in place, to further strengthen Mozambique's development cooperation architecture, which already involves donors, Government and civil society, and to adapt it to better deliver on the principles adopted at Busan in 2011.
The Joint Agenda for Action will consist of a number of measures, to be implemented over the next two years that will:
- Enhance national Ownership and Leadership of development cooperation partnerships
- Focus Results and Policy Dialogue on national development priorities
- Incentivise, and better specify, Accountability and Transparency
- Build a more Inclusive Partnership by opening up existing mechanisms to new players.
The Embassy of Ireland in Mozambique will work closely with the Government of Mozambique in supporting the implementation of this initiative in the years ahead.