A 2-day long capacity building workshop titled “Development Results: Engaging CSOs in Aid Effectiveness” was held at the CBCB Auditorium in Dhaka on 7-8 August 2010. The workshop was jointly organized by Aid Accountability Group (AAG) and The Reality of Aid Network. Fifty participants from different civil society organizations and activists from different parts of the country took part in the program.

Among others, Ahmed Swapan, Convenor of AAG, Abdul Awal of Noakhali Rural Development Society (NRDS), Mohosin Ali of Wave Foundation, Arup Rahee of Lokoj Institute, Rashed Titumir of Unnayan Onneshan, Ratan Sarker of INCIDIN-Bangladesh, Dipu Shamsul Islam of Speed Trust, Mousumi Biswas of SUPRO, Nayela Akter of BNPS, Md. Atiqul Islam Chowdhury of Equitybd, Sajjad Ansari of ISOL, Rejaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Trust, Subal Sarker of Bangladesh Bhumiheen Somity, Mohiuddin Md. Akber of KORMI (Pabna), Dahar Khan of Interaction, Madhab C Dutta of SODESH were present.

The workshop covered different perspectives of Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (PD) and Accra Agenda of Action (AAA) and analysed the issues of aid architecture. The speakers said, the donor countries and agencies should respect the PD and should be accountable and transparent according to the principles of ownership, mutual accountability, harmonization, alignment and development results. Moreover, from the process of Accra Ministerial Conference, civil society has been an integrated part of channelling aid, so CSOs should be given concern in any action on aid both in national and international arena. The workshop asked to reform delivery and management system of aid for more effectiveness towards poverty reduction and achieving the MDGs.

Ahmed Swapan said, “A comprehensive plan of action should be taken by government, donors and civil society organizations together to ensure aid and development effectiveness. Activities and capacity building of CSOs should be increased for the advocacy, lobbying and creating pressure on policy makers as well as donors to ease the conditions getting aid”. A comprehensive research and survey should bring on aid including exercising the Accra Action Agenda monitoring matrix, while a seven-member working group has been formed, he added.

Abdul Awal, Executive Director of Noakhali Rural Development Society (NRDS) and member of AAG said, CSOs have to play a vital role to ensure accountability and improve effectiveness of aid. Projects funded by different donors’ aid could be monitored at local level, he suggested.

Arup Rahee, Executive Director of Lokoj Institute, in his speech, said, “Aid is not politics-free so is development. To ensure the development of the people, we have to demand accountability and effectiveness of aid from people’s-interest perspective”. We have to question current development paradigm which is pro-corporate and pro-neo-liberal ideologies”, he added.

Rashed Al Mahud Titumir, Chairperson of Unnayan Onneswan and a member of AAG, criticised global capitalist system which is unable to reduce poverty. He suggested reforming the whole global system for effective development. He emphasised to strengthen the social organizations to work in a more coordinated way.

Rejaul Karim Chowdhury, Executive Director of COAST Trust explained the open forum process for CSOs and called on CSOs to participate in the process for the improvement of the effectiveness of aid.

Mohosin Ali, Executive Director of WAVE Foundation, in his speech urged CSOs to unite and make aid useful through engagement in the aid effectiveness process both nationally and internationally.

A comprehensive country plan has been prepared to work further on the issue both at the policy and grassroots level engaging the communities, CSOs, NGOs, research organizations, women organizations, professional organizations and so on.

The workshop announced the next meeting-Consultation on CSOs Engagement in Aid Effectiveness to be held at the VIP Lounge of National Press Club at 10 am on 25th August 2010 and the Multi-stakeholder consultation on 20th September in Dhaka.

Aid Accountability Group (www.voicebd.org/accountibility) is a national civil society platform formed in 2008 working on aid effectiveness agenda in order to remove dependency on aid. The Reality of Aid Network (RoA) is an international non-governmental initiative focusing exclusively on analysis and lobbying for poverty eradication policies and practices in the international aid regime. It brings together 172 member organizations, including more than 40 civil society regional and global networks.

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