Accra, Ghana - Just days before the 3^rd High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, 200 feminists and women’s rights activists across the globe came together in Accra, Ghana on 30 September 2008 to highlight the achievements and gaps on existing aid flows which are meant for gender equality and women's empowerment.

With the theme, “Gender Equality and Aid Effectiveness: What is at Stake in the High Level Forum 3, ” the Accra International Women’s Forum was the space for women to strategise their participation and intervention in the CSO Parallel Conference and at the HLF towards contributing to the process of gender equality in aid effectiveness through ensuring strong recommendations are taken across.

Issues and concerns raised in this forum included the undemocratic process of aid provision, where many women have been excluded in decision-making. The Paris Declaration or the donors' accord signed in 2005 was also criticised for its principles and implementation. The participants agreed that there is flaw in its ownership, being devoid of mutual accountability as it favours donors over marginalised citizens. The Paris Declaration is also not aligned with the content of the Beijing Platform for Action, which has been a referential document on women's human rights. The participants likewise recognised the need for capacity-building among women and other marginalised groups on development aid.

Much discussion took place around gender equality indicators in aid effectiveness. One proposal was to monitor the Paris Declaration while another was to engender the benchmarks of poverty alleviation. There was a consensus that all indicators of the Paris Declaration were gender insensitive. Gender equality and capacity-building for gender mainstreaming were also considered a rarity. Some women also raised that indicators on women's participation and position on specific issues such as landownership and security in situations of armed conflict have not been truly developed and used by governments.

Given the perennial and appalling situations in many communities in the lack of clean water, high incidence of HIV and high maternal mortality rate, there is an increasing doubt whether aid is indeed addressing these issues as well as demand to further study money flows.

The forum also called for women's meaningful participation in all CSO parallel events and more importantly at the HLF.

Acknowledging the importance of involving media in the issue of aid effectiveness and its relationship to women and gender, the participants also shared their own communications strategies which include the conduct of round table discussions, press conferences, development of media tool kit.

The meeting was closed by Ines Alberdi, the newly appointed Executive Director of United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The Accra International Women’s Forum was sponsored by Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (Netright) in collaboration with Femnet, AWID, WIDE and IGTN; and co-sponsored with African Women’s Development Fund, UNIFEM, Action Aid and Urgent Action Fund.

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