Accra, Ghana - About 700 participants mainly from civil society organisations (CSOs) gathered at the forum, “Civil Society Voices for Better Aid” during the Conference on Aid Effectiveness, held from 31 August to 1 September 2008 in Accra, Ghana.

With the goal of strengthening a civil society position on the final document, “Accra Action Agenda on Aid,” the event emphasised civil society's role in policy dialogues and celebrated the stakeholders' contribution in development effectiveness.

While the first day was devoted for civil society issues and concerns, the second day was more for dialogue and learning. Much of the event was devoted to presentations of CSO perpectives and their work, through independently organised workshops and fora, all under the theme “Village Voices in Aid Effectiveness.”

The civil society event was organised in preparation for its intervention at the Third High-Level Forum which was scheduled from 2 to 4 September 2008. CSO participation in this meeting was well-received as stakeholders from feminist and social movements number around 80, the highest so far.

Expressions of support from government and UN bodies came from guest speakers such as Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Ghana Minister of Finance and Economic Planning; Mary Robinson , Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Chair of the Philippine Peasant Movement and Rafael Mariano, Member of the Republic of the Philippines House of Representatives.

Other parallel events organised during the conference dealt with: Country Ownership, Harmonisation, Managing for Results and Development Impact; Alignment, Making Mutual Accountability Real, Applying a Sectoral Approach; Aid Effectiveness in Fragile States and Conflict Situations; and The Changing Aid Architecture.

A significant output of this conference is the CSO statement, “Civil Society Statement in Accra Warns Urgency for Action on Aid” which was delivered during the HLF Ministerial dinner. The statement primarily stressed the need for transparency and accountability among donors and national governments.

“Effective aid supports the development of transparent and accountable systems. It needs to be predictable to allow recipient countries to make medium and long-term plans, and then be aligned to those plans. It needs to be untied. Yet many donors continue to deliver aid in order to promote their own interests – tying aid to the purchase of goods from their own national firms or setting conditions which promote their own economic interests,” the statement read.

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