Conference "Partnerships for Aid Effectiveness in the Western Balkans", Sarajevo, 2-3 March 2006

The regional consultative meeting on "Partnerships for Aid Effectiveness in the Western Balkans" was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Eastern Europe and CIS, in collabooration with the UNDP Bureau for Development Policy Capacity Development Group and the UNDP Country Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The conference was the first effort by UNDP in the region to push the global harmonisation agenda, now high on the UN reform priority list. The location of Sarajevo may have been chosen for its central location but it is worth noting that UNDP BiH has just taken the lead on the harmonisation agenda with the support of the EC Delegation. The Development Forum is the newly started mechanism for donor-government discussion. UNDP BiH was keen to make contact with the DTS.


The conference was attended by a number of UNDP high-level officials, several consultants and perhaps most noteworthy by Christian Lehembre, OECD DAC’s Head of Aid Effectiveness. Chris Hall, Vice Chair of the DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness made a presentation via videolink from Washington. The mainstay of the 70 participants was government representatives from the Balkans or donor representatives based in Bosnia.


The goal of highlighting the need for capacity development for the harmonisation work was not too successful though it clearly came across. The success of the conference was in clearly linking the Paris Declaration to aid management and to PFM reform. The surprising outcome of the conference was the strong emphasis on European Integration as the centre of it not the same as the national development strategy. Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia came out as totally focused on European Integration. They were trying to get all donors to basically help speed up the integration process.


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