Fulfilling right to development a weak spot in development cooperation

Twenty-five years after the Declaration on the Right to Development, making this right a reality for the world’s poor remains a huge challenge as developing countries and international development partners fall short in creating conditions to foster real development.

This can be gleaned from a new report from the Reality of Aid Network titled “Democratic Ownership and Development Effectiveness: Civil Society Perspectives on Progress since Paris.” The report focuses on two critical areas in development and international cooperation: “democratic ownership” of country development plans and strategies, and “development results for people”.

With 35 contributions, 32 of which are reports from aid-recipient countries, the report collates evidence from in-country research, meetings and interviews with government officials, donors and civil society organizations.

Democratic ownership, which places people at the center of aid and development, is not only about inclusive participation but centers the legitimacy of development priorities and processes on the rights of people to access democratic institutions, according to the RoA report.

Development results, meanwhile, are not only determined by aid and resources allocated to achieve such results, but are also often limited by power relations within societies and between countries.

The RoA 2011 Report points to undeniable evidence that the lack of progress in realizing democratic ownership and human rights, including the right to development, has undermined the potential of aid reforms undertaken since 2005 through the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the subsequent 2008 Accra Agenda for Action to contribute to poverty eradication, gender equality, decent work and environmental sustainability.

RoA is a nonprofit initiative of Northern and Southern non-government organizations focusing on poverty reduction and development assistance. The RoA 2011 Report was officially launched on October 5 at the OECD Conference Centre in Paris, France during the DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness Week.

For copies of the RoA 2011 Report, please email secretariatrealityofaid.org. The electronic version of the Report can also be downloaded from the RoA website.