Parliamentarians study accountability in Overseas Development Aid
6 May 2006 6:00 pm
Parliamentarians and political parties have a role to play in the accountability of Overseas Development Aid (ODA) in their respective countries.
To study issues related to Public Accountability of the ODA, 60 parliamentarians, political party members, academic and international experts and civil society representatives joined the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) in a conference held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 26-29 April.Parliamentarians and political parties have a role to play in the accountability of Overseas Development Aid (ODA) in their respective countries.
To study issues related to Public Accountability of the ODA, 60 parliamentarians, political party members, academic and international experts and civil society representatives joined the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) in a conference held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from 26-29 April.
CALD is a forum of liberal parties and organisations in Asia which have come together to promote the basic values of liberal democracy (www.cald.org)
The conference, which was hosted by Honorable Sam Rainsy – leader of the national opposition party and member of the Cambodian parliament – highlighted the role of parliamentarians and political parties in ensuring transparency, responsibility and effectiveness of ODA.
At the official opening of the ceremony, he expressed hopes that Cambodia, having the largest share of ODA among Asian countries, can truly benefit from accountability mechanisms being advocated by the group.
Among the prominent speakers of the event were Lord Alderdice John, President of Liberal International, the global federation of liberal parties; Mr. Karl Ziegler, Director of the United Kingdom Centre for Accountability and Debt Relief, Professor Ryokichi Hirono, former Chairperson of the Committee on Development Policy of the United Nations Economic & Social Council and Dr. Friedrich Hamburger, head of the regional delegation of the European Commission.
During discussion, Hamburger defended his Commission against possible suspicion of corruption inside the EU Aid regime itself.
Meanwhile, FORUM-ASIA’s programme coordinator for ESC and Development program coordinator, Pia Oberoi, presented a substantial conceptual framework on the role of human rights civil society in strengthening accountability in Aid programmes.
Ms. Oberoi pointed out that the primary recipients or “beneficiaries” of ODA are the individuals who experience poverty and associated development shortcomings.
Oberoi said they have an inalienable entitlement to these rights, as opposed to being passive recipients of commodities, services and charity.
“Mere charity is not enough in the process and delivery of ODA.
“The role of human rights NGOs is primarily to act as a voice for those individuals who, because of their socio-economic or other status such as gender and age, or other circumstance such as their nationality, are unable to articulate their rights and demand that they be fulfilled,” she added.
Oberoi further said that civil society will also assist in translating the obligations vested in international human rights instruments into national policies, regulations, legislations and budgets to make real the commitments made by governments to their people.
“Equally important, civil society acts as a watchdog to ensure that these standards and commitments are adhered to in the policy and practice of donor and recipient governments, and also private actors.”