London, United Kingdom – AWEPA members led a session of the sixth Westminster Workshop on Parliamentary Financial Oversight of Aid Effectiveness. The workshop ran from 4 to 7 July 2016 and explored how to strengthen the knowledge and skills of parliamentarians and staff in conducting effective financial oversight of aid flows.
During the ninth session of the workshop, participants discussed opportunities to strengthen parliamentary oversight through peer-to-peer south-south and north-south cooperation, with specific examples drawn from the AWEPA Joint Monitoring Team (JMT) Project.
The Session was chaired by Lord David Chidgey, Head of the AWEPA Section in the UK Parliament, and the first speech was given by Ireland’s Hon. Maureen O’Sullivan, Head of the Irish Section. These members are joint Political Coordinators for the AWEPA Development Effectiveness programme. Hon. O’Sullivan stressed the need for an equal partnership between donor and recipient countries. She highlighted to the theme of accountability, calling on donors to appear before parliaments and parliamentary committees.
There was a great reaction from the MPs of the Commonwealth countries to Hon. O’Sullivan’s speech about the findings of the AWEPA “Joint Monitoring Teams” programme, which has worked to build a template of parliamentarians’ actions for development effectiveness.
“You have brought this conference to life,” said one Indian MP, while others from Asia, Africa and the Pacific countries asked how they could create similar joint monitoring programmes.
A leading member of the AWEPA Joint Monitoring Teams from Mozambique, Hon. Eneas Comiche, was also invited to speak with Hon. O’Sullivan and he recommended the continuation and expansion of this “specific concept” for greater accountability and information on development projects – the AWEPA Joint Monitoring Teams.
From the Paris Agenda on Aid Effectiveness (2005) to the Accra Agenda for Action (2008) and later international forums, the global community has started to acknowledge the role of parliamentarians in ensuring development effectiveness and efficiency by holding governments to account on aid spending. Outcomes from these high level meetings acknowledge the need to better include parliaments in the aid management processes and strengthen the commitment of donors to build up the technical knowledge and skills of parliamentarians in financial oversight, including both ex-ante and ex-post scrutiny.