Tujan on civil society’s role in Busan outcome document
Posted on 29 January 2012
UN NGLS interview:
"Editor's note: The following is an interview with Antonio Tujan Jr., IBON International Director, Co-Chair of BetterAid and sole civil society representative in the negotiations on the outcome document of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) held in Busan, South Korea in late 2011. The interview was conducted by the United Nations’ Geneva-based Non-Government Liaison Service (NGLS) and was first published in the NGLS e-Roundup, January 2012, pp. 6-7. The NGLS e-Roundup issue is accessible at http://www.un-ngls.org/IMG/pdf/RU_HLF4.pdf. We are posting below the full text of the interview, with several clarificatory brackets for spelling out acronyms".
NGLS: What were some of the most fervently debated issues during the preparatory process within civil society?
There were of course a million and one issues that CSOs [civil society organizations] around the world wanted to address. But the most common concerns revolved around a) democratic ownership of the development process and policies, b) human rights?based approaches to development as the standard operating principle and procedure, c) better and more ambition in donor commitments to ensure equitable development cooperation partnerships including transparency, untied aid, alignment to country systems, predictability and rights?based results.
NGLS: What was civil society’s main achievement in the HLF4 process? What is the biggest issue that remains unachieved?
It was able to move the agenda from only aid effectiveness to an expanded and deepened agenda of development effectiveness that is more premised on democracy and human rights?based results. We need better commitments in equitable, transparent, people?focused aid from OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] donors. We need commitments for accountability and regulation of the private sector and better commitments from new BRICS [emerging countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa] donors to effectiveness.
NGLS: In light of the answer to the question above, how would you assess the civil society mobilization process in the lead up to this Forum? What could be improved for the next global?level discussion?
CSOs were very effective in bringing diverse voices together, acting from the country levels up to the global level, working on technical issues at par with governments in a very critical and constructive way so that CSOs were recognized as key to achieving success in the preparations for and at Busan. Key to this was the commitment and capacity of several organizations and networks, the construction of BetterAid (and also Open Forum) as an “open platform,” a mechanism for inclusive participation that is new and different from networks and platforms in the past.
We would like to coordinate our work better by constructing a unified global platform that is interlinked to several open platforms in work streams and open platforms at all levels down to country level, which will be the focus of work after Busan.
NGLS: For the first time in the history of the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, a civil society representative could take part in the actual negotiation process. What will this entail for civil society and other actors in the implementation