Development Crossing

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

Remembering George Harrison on the road to Busan

After sharing some development practitioners’ honest remarks on aid, Africa, corruption and colonialism last week, I thought I would also share key points made in a session hosted by Oxfam that I attended at the World Bank/IMF annual meetings’ Civil Society Policy Forum on April 15th. Entitled “The Road to Busan: Ensuring Citizens Drive Their Own Development,” the session description is below, as well as a transcript of my live tweets of the event. I leave it to readers to determine to what extent the questions posed were answered.

And yes, there will be a Beatle at the end of this post.


Session Description: The Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4), scheduled to take place in Busan, South Korea in November 2011, will consider how effectively donors are incorporating ownership principles into development practice. While previous forums in Paris and Accra advanced donor engagement with host country governments, how can the forum in Busan make sure that the voices of citizens are part of an effective development conversation?  This session will explore what measures donors can take to ensure citizens are driving their own development agenda.  For example, how has the Poverty Reduction Strategy process evolved to be more inclusive and representative of citizens?  What are the ways to enhance the role of citizens in National Development Strategies?  What lessons learned can influence the outcomes at HLF4?


#RoadToBusan Live tweets by: @intldogooder How Matters

RT: Oxfam Oxfam International: Live webcast 11am EST today on #AidEffectiveness & development. Moderated by @oxfamamerica Prez Ray Offenheiser. Stay tuned @WorldBank

@Oxfam prez Ray Offenheiser: How to balance accountability to aid recipients & to donors? Aid can undermine compact between govt & citizens

Offenheiser: restricting civil society space on the increase around the world - more legal restrictions on #NGOs

Offenheiser: not just about #NGOs, advocating that govt & donors engage citizen participation in more than just a "tick the box" activity

#RoadToBusan Panelists: (1) Barbara Lee WorldBank #aideffectiveness unit (2) Brenda Killen OECD #aideffectiveness division

(3) Marisa Lago US Treasury Dept (4) Dr. Sumara Kamara Sierra Leone Min of Finance & EconDev (5) Dalitso Kubalasa Malawi Econ Justice Network

Lee: WB as litmus test in working with citizen groups- in evolutionary process

Lee: Zoellick speech indiciates events of Middle East a big wake up call - bringing issues of country ownership & #aid mgmt

Lee: plethora & diversity of stakeholders, pushing #transparency of #aid info and #results - need to talk conflict & fragility

Killen: foreign assistance can only take us so far, development is brought by people

Killen: #RoadToBusan will be an evidence-based process, principles of #aideffectiveness remain relevant -high quality aid in a broad context

Killen: Increasing consensus on inclusive ownership for dev't, enabling environment for actors, multiple accountabilities

Lago: challenges of civic engagement is the same throughout the world, New York City or developing world

Lago: U.S. assistance expected to be based on country dev't plans, aid works best when devt priorities are determined locally

Lago: citizens must be part of culture where their efforts to participate are not undermined, U.S. will push for > consultation

Lago: mutual accountability between govt, donors, and citizens cannot be emphasized enough

Kamara: need defined pathways or gateways for civil society engagement, describing #SierraLeone planning processes

Kamara: nightmare is the issue of mutual #accountability, #NGOs must also be accountable

Kamara: proud that #SierraLeone has been successful but even citizen participation needs to be funded to keep it sustainable

Kubalasa: optimistic in #Malawi, have seen citizens continue to engage, but a long-term process, #aideffectiveness is doable

Kubalasa: information, skills & legitimacy of #CSOs are critical elements - citizens are interested in roads, schools, jobs

Kubalasa: citizens know what their needs are, practical issues - Malawi has been building frameworks for dialogue

Offenheiser: Is gender a proxy indicator for adequate civic participation? Lee: dangerous to get into debate abt whose voice more important

Offenheiser to Kubalasa: What should donors be doing? Response: support conducive environment for broad access to info #aidinfo

Kubalasa: fear of the unknown prevents information sharing? makes #CSOs into the opposition? global norm needed on #aidinfo

Killen: Making progress on #transparency makes progress on other issues possible need incentives to get Paris/Accra implemented

From @interactionorg: over 2,500 #CSOs have worked on Istanbul principles for #CSO effectiveness

From @aidtransparency: let's not look at transparency as silver bullet, don't over-technicalize civic engagement

Kamara: mystery of transparency: level of admin costs of #aid-donors willing to reveal theirs? direct budget support needed too

Kamara: education/illiteracy an issue - how do I translate my budgets/plans into vernacular for citizens to understand?

From #IMF: every bit of aid is someone's tax $: how must citizens of donor countries relate to citizens of recipient countries?

From #IMF: one framework will not serve the wide range of dev't finance, since much is now flowing outside of official channels

From @WorldVisionUSA: INGOs are donors and are operational -what about the new investment to them through the corporate sector?

From @anticorruption: #CSOs must be capacitated to read/process #aidinfo but this can be fully integrated into the aid process


Maybe this is the nature of such high-level policy discussions. Many more questions than answers. Many more “should”s than “would”s or “can”s. Our session following this one at the Policy Forum aimed to discuss these issues from practitioners’, rather than a policy, perspective. A key issue that surfaced from attendees at our session was the “culture” of the World Bank and just how difficult change really was in such large institutions and development agencies.

…which is what made me think about George Harrison.

His song, “Got My Mind Set On You,” was playing on the van radio after my first trip to the World Bank in graduate school, a decade earlier. At the time, I remember entreating my classmates to pay close attention to the lyrics.

“Listen,” I said. “This should be the international development anthem.”


(If the embedded video is not functional, click here.)

I still agree that it’s gonna take a plenty of money and a whole lotta precious time. And though my mind remains set, I’m still trying to figure out how to do it right, child.

We all are.

This post originally appeared at:


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