Development effectiveness

“Partner-led aid is harmonised, aligned and focused on the poorest, most predictable and disconnected, to be channelled through effective institutions and those focused on results (...)" (OECD/DAC)

Since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the United Nations General Assembly at the Millennium Summit in 2000, donors and partners have sought to increase and improve the level of assistance provided in terms of quality, timeliness, appropriation and impact.

In actual fact, there’s broad international consensus on the need for more effective aid which in turn has forced donors and partners to review their policies, procedures and methods for providing help. To this end, they have organised a series of important events that have shaped today’s development co-operation, namely the Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey, 2002) and the High Level Fora on Aid Effectiveness, Rome (2003), Paris (2005), Accra (2008) and Busan (2011), where the issue of aid effectiveness was definitively placed at the heart of international debate.

The meetings in Rome, Paris, Accra and Busan resulted in four essential documents: the Rome Declaration on Harmonisation, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Action Plan and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

In the Rome Declaration (2003), the emphasis was placed on the question of harmonising donors’ policies, procedures and institutional practices with those of the partner countries, not only to make aid more effective but to ensure that the results were closer to MDG targets.

In the Paris Declaration (2005), donors and partners have identified five areas for more effective aid through harmonisation, alignment, ownership, accountability/mutual accountability and result management, with each one identifying the goals to be achieved by 2010.

Along with the progress and constraints arising from the implementation of the Paris Declaration, the Accra Agenda for Action (2008), identified certain priorities, some urgent, in order to accelerate results based on the commitments made in Paris.

The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (2011) reinforces the principles of appropriation, focusing on results, inclusive partnerships for development, transparency and accountability in the pursuit of common goals and, for the first time, establishing a framework for development co-operation that covers a wide range of players, including traditional donors, entities involved in south-south co-operation, emerging economies, civil organisations and private donors that represent an important milestone in development co-operation. The key aspects of the declaration also highlight the need for greater decentralisation of land, more support for fragile states as mentioned in the "New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States" (which Portugal endorsed), commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of women as outlined in the "Busan Action Plan for Gender Equality" (also endorsed by Portugal), stronger partnerships with the private sector as declared in the joint declaration for "Expanding and enhancing public private partnership for broad-based, inclusive and sustainable growth” and a wider focus on financing climate change.

The Busan Declaration recognises that the amount of progress made in implementing this agenda for effectiveness is still far short of what was expected and that the structure of international aid has suffered profound changes over the last decade, meaning that there’s a need to enhance the aid effectiveness agenda with a broader perspective of "effective development" in the future. This kind of global partnership establishes unity under the common principles of the various elements and entities within the new aid framework with new donors and the private sector defining degrees of commitment tailored to each individual case on the assumption that public aid is just one of the elements necessary, albeit critical, for achieving sustainable development.

Aid Effectiveness Plans


Documents endorsed by Portugal in the High Level Fora on Aid Effectiveness


he EU Code of Conduct on Complementarity and the Division of Labour in Development Policy


Aid Effectiveness Reports