For those who live on less than $1.25 a day, aid effectiveness is not a bureaucratic issue; it’s a practical one, of access to food, education and health care for millions of people worldwide. For development actors, development effectiveness is about doing our work better.
Dóchas speaks about “development effectiveness”, to highlight that effectiveness is about both the impact of development actors’ actions and the promotion of sustainable change that addresses the root causes and symptoms of poverty, inequality and marginalisation.
Shared Principles for Effective Development
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focused attention not just on the quantity of overseas aid, but they also established priorities for aid. They inspired a new commitment among aid donors to do their utmost to improve the way they coordinated their efforts.
From 2003 onwards, the members of the Organisation for Economic Co-ordination and Development (OECD) developed a set of new principles for “Aid Effectiveness”, culminating in an agreement, endorsed by 161 countries - including Ireland - offering a blueprint for maximising the impact of development assistance.
Importantly, these principles were agreed not just by Government donors, but also by the so-called “new actors” such as emerging donor countries, private sector companies and civil society organisations.
The Irish NGOs in the Dóchas network will continue to apply the Development Effectiveness principles to their work. In addition, Dóchas members have developed their own principles for “development effectiveness” as applied to civil society organisations. Dóchas’ codes of conduct and professional standards articulate standards of best practice in the sector and guide the policies and practice of all Dóchas members.
Dóchas members, and Irish Aid, consistently promote the inclusion of human rights, gender equality and good governance in their work, and in the global development frameworks that inform their decisions. They also continue to work with partners overseas to improve governance structures, at local and national level, to facilitate greater transparency, accountability and oversight, while encouraging the participation of local actors in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes. For, in the end, “development” is not about imposing solutions, but about enabling people, communities and countries to take control over their own destinies.