The OECD/DAC Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness

Date: 28 Nov 2011

Outcome document | Statements & Speeches | About the Conference

Making international aid work better for people and development was on the agenda at the OECD/DAC Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, or HLF4 from 29 November to 1 December 2011. About 2,000 delegates from both donor and receiving countries of official development assistance (ODA) gathered in Busan, Republic of South Korea. Participants came from a wide range of sectors including representatives from governments, civil society and the private sector.


Outcome Document

After extended negotiations stakeholders reached an agreement The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. The Outcome Document emphasizes that gender equality and women's empowerment are critical to achieving development results. This marks a turning point for international development cooperation. The text reads:

20. We must accelerate our efforts to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women through development programmes grounded in country priorities, recognising that gender equality and women's empowerment are critical to achieving development results. Reducing gender inequality is both an end in its own right and a prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive growth. As we redouble our efforts to implement existing commitments we will:

a) Accelerate and deepen efforts to collect, disseminate, harmonise and make full use of data disaggregated by sex to inform policy decisions and guide investments, ensuring in turn that public expenditures are targeted appropriately to benefit both women and men.
b) Integrate targets for gender equality and women's empowerment in accountability mechanisms, grounded in international and regional commitments.
c) Address gender equality and women's empowerment in all aspects of our development efforts, including peacebuilding and statebuilding.

Read full document here

Speeches and Statements

Remarks of Michelle Bachelet Executive Director of UN Women at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness — Special session on Gender. Busan, South Korea, 30 November 2011.

About the Conference

Related Links


What's on the conference agenda?

HLF4 reviewed targets set in the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, intended to reform the management of ODA and improve its quality and impact. Discussions will build on the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action, which committed to making development and aid policies consistent with human rights and gender equality standards.

A third element on the Busan agenda will involve discussing aid and development cooperation beyond the 2015 endpoint for the Millennium Development Goals.

What are key gender equality issues?

Despite some signs of progress, much more needs to be done to make aid and development fully responsive to gender equality goals. Only 4.5 percent of aid has gender equality as a principle objective; nearly 67 percent does not target gender equality at all. The gender equality financing gap may be as high as US $30 billion a year.

HLF4 was the place to advocate that governments and international organizations address some key challenges that undercut aid and development effectiveness for women include:

  • Weak frameworks for ensuring that economic policies uphold women's rights;
  • Mechanisms for managing aid and development that do not adequately translate commitments to gender equality into planning, programme design, implementation and assessment; and
  • The concentration of gender-focused aid on a small number of issues, mainly in the social sectors, with limited targets and indicators to measure impact.

What does the draft Busan outcome document say on gender equality?

The draft outcome document (as of 23 November) that governments was used as a platform for negotiations in Busan- on gender equality issues - has a prominent role in the aid effectiveness agenda for the first time. It included the following:

We must accelerate our efforts to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women through development programmes grounded in country priorities, recognizing that gender equality and women's empowerment are critical to achieving development results. Reducing gender inequality is both an end in its own right, and a prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive growth. As we redouble our efforts to implement existing commitments we will:

a) Accelerate and deepen efforts to collect, disseminate, harmonize and make full use of data disaggregated by sex to inform policy decisions and guide investments, ensuring in turn that public expenditures are targeted appropriately to benefit both women and men.

b) Integrate targets for gender equality and women's empowerment in accountability mechanisms, grounded in international and regional commitments.

c) Address gender equality and women's empowerment in all aspects of our development efforts, including peacebuilding and statebuilding.

What changes is UN Women proposing?

Drawing on a decade of broad experience around the world with gender-responsive budgeting and gender and aid effectiveness, UN Women has advocated for women at global aid effectiveness debates since 2005, including by highlighting successes in integrating gender equality in aid and development policy processes. In preparation for Busan, UN Women has worked very closely with national governments, donor agencies, civil society and women's organizations and the host country Korea to ensure that gender equality is recognized for its central role in effective development. UN Women is also calling for a number of concrete measures including:

  • Scaling up investment in gender equality and broadening the scope of support to women;
  • Adopting special policy measures for financing women's priorities in fragile and post-conflict countries, in line with UN Security Council resolutions;
  • Strengthening the capacities of people and institutions to mainstream gender in national plans and budgets, and in aid management instruments and processes; and
  • Improving and institutionalizing systems to track resources and monitor results to ensure accountability in financing for gender equality.

Are there side events on gender equality?

A Global Women's Forum, sponsored by UN Women, took place as part of a Civil Society Forum on 27 and 28 November 2011. The Women's Forum provided the space for highlighting key demands that have been developed over the course of 2011 through extensive consultations amongst women's organizations and building on evidence collected at country level.

On 29 November, UN Women and OECD GENDERNET organized a side event on “Progress on gender equality and women's empowerment since the Paris Declaration. Recommendations from this side event fed into the Special Session on Gender on 30 November and the Busan Joint Action Plan on Gender Equality and Development. This side event addressed questions related to national ownership and financing for gender equality in economic sectors and results and accountability for gender equality outcomes. It also highlighted good practices from various actors.

On 30 November, the first day of the official forum, a special session on “Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment for Development Results took place. The event co-hosted by the United States and the Republic of South Korea, in collaboration with UN Women, the World Bank and OECD Gendernet was moderated by Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women. The session included opening remarks by United States' Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, interventions by President of Timor Leste, and representatives from women's organizations and the private sector. South Korea Minister of Gender Equality and Family, Kum-lae Kim provided the closing remarks.