Millstone Or Milestone?

What rich countries must do in Paris to make aid work for poor people


Published: 28 February 2005

On March 2nd, the world’s richest countries will meet in Paris to agree the actions needed to make aid work for one billion people living in poverty. The aid donors currently preside over a system that fails the poor. Less than half of aid is spent in the poorest countries. This money is further devalued by donor red tape, duplication, conflicting objectives, intrusive conditions and tying to overpriced goods and services. At a time when aid is increasing, it is critical that this money makes an effective contribution to the fight against poverty. Without concrete steps in Paris to make aid accountable and efficient, progress towards the Millennium Development Goals will be jeopardised. The choice facing development ministers at the OECD High Level Forum is simple: 2005 can either be a milestone in making aid work for the people it is supposed to help, or a millstone.