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PCFS Holds Asia-wide CSO Conference on Aid and Development Effectiveness in ARD

Peasant organizations and support non-governmental organizations from all over Asia came together and exposed the intensifying problems on food and land despite the increasing stream of development aid from developed countries and international funding institutions to third world countries in a conference held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in January 20, 2011.

Peasant organizations and support non-governmental organizations from all over Asia came together and exposed the intensifying problems on food and land despite the increasing stream of development aid from developed countries and international funding institutions to third world countries in a conference held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in January 20, 2011.

The participants agreed to deepen further the awareness of stakeholders in agriculture and rural development from the grassroots and intensify their mass movements towards the High Level Forum for Aid Effectiveness (HLF IV) to be held in Busan, South Korea in November 2011.

Mr. Antonio Tujan Jr, co-Chairperson of PCFS and director of IBON International took a critical look on aid and development effectiveness to provide the framework in analyzing the issues at hand. He delved into the real agenda of development aid donors in the era of neoliberal globalization and the demands the CSOs are bringing up to challenge the effectiveness of development aid. ).

Sarojeni Rengam, also co-Chair of PCFS and Executive Director of Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific discussed three key trends in aid to agriculture today such as the dipping value of aid to agriculture despite its surge in absolute figures; the control of few donors in agricultural aid and the disregard of the food security needs of developing countries in aid allocation; and corporate agriculture being the model promoted by major aid donors.

Dr. Ujjaini Halim of Institute for Motivating Self Employment and P.V. Satheesh of the Deccan Development Society exposed the inefficiency of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and questioned the effectiveness of the development agenda of both institutions in its failure to address the real issues confronting small holder farmers and rural development in general.

As testimonies to points laid by major speakers, Arjuna Seneviratne of the Green Movement of Sri Lanka and Mahbub Hassan of the Coastal Development Partnership shared their country experiences on agricultural aid and the affected marginalized sectors’ response to its negative effects.

Dr. Azra Sayeed of Roots for Equity from Pakistan, then presented concrete proposals on three critical areas- completing and deepening current aid effectiveness commitments; operationalizing development effectiveness; and promoting a more equitable development cooperation architecture, with systemic changes in global governance of international development cooperation- that should be posed to the Busan HLF IV for it to come up with a meaningful Busan Declaration on Development Effectiveness. The conference concurred on the proposals.

Sixty one participants from 11 countries such as Kenya, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines, Mongolia, Senegal, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Columbia attended the conference. Betteraid, a global platform challenging the aid effectiveness agenda sponsored the event.

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