BUSAN - From 29 November to 1 December, development aid is a high-ranked topic on the international agenda. More than 2,000 representatives of governments, multilateral organisations and NGOs will work in Busan, South Korea, on making development aid more efficient. In a complex, fast-changing world with emerging powers, financial crises and massive austerity measures, the ambition in Busan is to create a new global partnership for development. Will that actually succeed? Selma Zijlstra travels to Busan with the support of the Pascal Decroos Fund in search of the challenges facing development aid in 2011 and the new trends that are emerging in the global development landscape.

Busan comes after previous international aid effectiveness summits in Rome (2003), Paris (2005) and Accra (2008). At these summits, agreements were made by donors and aid recipient countries to make aid more efficient. In the Netherlands, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not have a clear position on this issue. The importance of achieving (measurable) results was also underlined and citizens should be held accountable for these results. However, a recent evaluation shows that many of the goals have not been achieved. The international conference in Busan is the time to take stock of the situation and set out the next steps.

But Busan goes beyond aid effectiveness alone. At a time when global crises are succeeding and power relations are changing, the forum wants to formulate a renewed framework for development cooperation. New donors such as China and Brazil are arriving, and companies are also becoming increasingly involved in development cooperation. The importance of global public goods such as climate, food security, financial stability, security and energy issues and their impact on development call into question the relevance of development cooperation. Will an answer to these challenges be found in Busan? And what does that tell us about the future of development aid?

Selma Zijlstra

Selma Zijlstra is editor/journalist at Vice Versa, journalism platform on global collaboration.
€ 2.000 allocated on 6/09/2011.

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