Seoul, South Korea – Hon. Eric Byrne, TD, Irish MP and Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, AWEPA Governing Council Member shared his views during the workshop “Global Partnership, Local Action: Implementation Strategies for Effective Development Co-operation at Country Level”, in Seoul, South Korea.
Hon. Byrne was one of the over 100 participants who met in Seoul on November 18-19 to share experiences and challenges in implementing the Global Partnership principles of effective development cooperation in their countries. In keeping with the discussions at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011 (Busan, South Korea) to sustain political dialogue on issues relating to the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation, Hon. Byrne brought up the subject of the role of parliamentarians for aid effectiveness. He was the only sitting MP who attended the Seoul conference, and in general he encountered resistance to the role of parliamentarians in validating and implementing development effectiveness. The main emphasis in the discussions was on civil society and private sector involvement, rather than parliaments.
Hon. Byrne asked “Where was the democratic involvement of elected politicians in the process?” and cited the outcome document from this month’s Africa’s Legislative Summit in Abuja with the recommendations of over 100 African MPs asking for greater capacity and finance for African parliaments’ work on development effectiveness – this was copied and distributed to all participants.
The counter argument from participants was that African parliamentarians should use their own parliaments’ existing funding for this ‘core task’.
When AWEPA led a party of MPs to the Global High Level Forum in Accra in 2008, they also had to fight to make their voices heard and demand the role of parliaments be recognised.
However, the difference now is that the role of parliaments has been formally recognised in the inter-governmental global agreements – most strongly in Article 21 of the Busan Partnership Agreement on Development Effectiveness (2011) to strengthen the role of parliaments “including by supporting capacity development – backed by adequate resources”.
“It is essential both that we see these commitments are implemented and that they are not withdrawn in the outcomes of the Global Partnership Ministerial meeting in Mexico in April 2014”, Hon. Byrne said.