Civil society asks, ‘Where did aid money go?’

ManaguaOfficial development aid (ODA) reached more than $2 billion US from 2008 and 2010, yet poverty rate aggravated by almost 3%. Where did all this money go? This observation was raised by Francisco Perez, member of the academe, in a multi-stakeholder consultation on aid effectiveness held at the University of Central America (UCA), in Managua, Nicaragua.

The consultation was meant to contribute to the eradication of poverty in the country. Guillermo Bonemann, President of the UCA Faculty of Economical Studies, stressed the importance of the event for civil society and academe in relation to their social and political responsibility in contributing to develop alternative strategies of development, which are sustainable and respond to the needs of the Nicaraguan people.

A brief evaluation on aid effectiveness along the PD and AAA in Nicaragua by Julio López, President of the Federation of NGOs and Coordinadora Civil, emphasized on the lack of participative democracy by the citizenry. While there are initiatives to work together by civil society and the northern international cooperation, there is almost none yet between government and civil society. He stated development should be people-centered. The currently existing aid architecture characterized by the North South vertical relation has to change fundamentally, while South-South Cooperation is a concrete alternative.

Government representative, Alba Palacios, mentioned the difficulties and challenges the current government is encountering. She however noted there is a monitoring mechanism in place, where development plans are discussed and its implementation evaluated.

Georgina Muñoz, Executive Director of RENICC and President of Latindadd, emphasized the need to establish a national level CSO platform, as well as spaces for a multi-stakeholder dialogue to represent the interests of the Nicaraguan people in the HLF 4.

The consultation closed with the affirmation of civil society to build a national platform on development and hand over the CSO agenda to the different development actors marking the start of a more established mechanism of dialogue and cooperation.

Organized by RENICC, AMPDI and UCA in cooperation with IBON/Reality of Aid’s Country Outreach Program, saw about 140 participants from CSOs, the academe, government and donors.