Aid Effectiveness in the Health Sector

Progress and Lessons

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Aid plays an important role in reducing poverty and inequality, stimulating growth, building capacity, promoting human development and accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Effective aid is critical both to maximise the impact of aid and to achieve long-term, sustainable development.

Aid to the health sector has increased substantially over the last 20 years from USD 5 billion in 1990 to USD 21.8 billion in 2007. Consisting of a growing and diverse range of actors, aid to the health sector faces complex governance and management challenges: for example, donors inadvertedly invest in duplicate and fragmented efforts, while partners are unable to take full responsibility and leadership. By reviewing these challenges against the aid effectiveness principles outlined in the landmark 2005 Paris Declaration and 2008 Accra Agenda for Action, this report provides insight and expounds lessons from the health sector to the broader challenges of aid effectiveness. Health, then, is used as a “tracer” sector to help assess the risks and benefits of the diverse range of actors, and promote co-ordination and coherence among development programmes.

This work is the result of a collaboration between the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness – an inclusive, international forum with the aim of improving aid delivery – through its Task Team on Health as a Tracer Sector and the World Trade Organization.

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The Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4), held in Busan, Republic of Korea from 29 November to 1 December 2011, presented a critical opportunity for all development partners to work together on a new global compact to broaden and deepen the global development partnership. It was an opportunity to re-energise the development agenda, so that developing countries supported by their development partners can achieve better results and reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The work on aid effectiveness and health, which has been developed and regularly reported on for the past four years in the context of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, has been the most tangible effort to bridge the debate on the quality of development co-operation partnerships and the one on development results, including the MDGs.

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