Source: The Guardian
Despite opening-day jitters over whether China would sign up to a global aid partnership at the fourth high-level forum on aid effectiveness in Busan, the country's leaders did finally come to the table to agree a deal that sought to marry the agendas of traditional aid donors with those of the emerging economies.
The conference in South Korea – a country that could be described as a model of development, according to Mark Tran – attracted big names. Among them were the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who declared US support for a global aid initiative, former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who spoke of his optimism for Africa's future, and Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who led the charge to set a deadline for an end to tied aid.
But what of the outcome? Jonathan Glennie wrote that the conference highlighted the shifting geopolitical realities, saying the increasingly prominent role of the Bric countries was critical in forging the new global partnership. However, whether the lives of the world's poorest improved as a result of the conference would depend on how leaders put documented words into practice.
Elsewhere on the site
While Busan concentrated on aid, in Durban, South Africa, world leaders met to thrash out a new deal on climate change. Writing on the Poverty matters blog, Martin Khor urged the conference not to lose sight of the principles agreed in Bali.
Ahead of the conference on the future of Afghanistan, held in Bonn, Claire Provost interviewed Selay Ghaffar, executive director of Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan, who said she feared the fragile gains won by Afghan women over the past 10 years could be compromised if the international community rushed into closed-door peace talks with insurgent groups and the government.
To mark World Aids Day – and the 30 years since the first cases of what we now know as Aids emerged – we published a timeline tracking the spread of HIV, an audio slideshow about the stigma some HIV-positive people still encounter, and interviews with people whose lives have been affected by the disease. Catch up on all our coverage in our 30 years of HIV and Aids section.
We also reported that the NGO Global Witness had quit the Kimberley Process in protest at "diamond laundering".
Meanwhile, the EU warned that the Sahel faced a major food crisis in 2012.
And to mark the 16-day global activism campaign to end gender violence, we published the ideas and thoughts of five readers on how that could be achieved. Our readers' panel talk point prompted debate about how change can happen.
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Coming up on the site
In the latest of our Global development voices interactive series, we hear from people living with disabilities around the world.
In our December Global development podcast, we will take a look back at key events of the past year and look ahead to 2012.
On Monday, we will publish the first blog from key development thinkers who we've asked to share their thoughts on development progress over 2011 and their hopes for the year ahead. More will follow next week and over Christmas and new year.
And look out for our end of year quiz.
The number of banana growers in the Windward Islands of St Lucia, St Vincent, Dominica and Grenada is dwindling after a hurricane devastated crops in 2010. Simon Rawles hears how fair trade rules are helping remaining farmers recover from the disaster.
In pictures: Pakistan floods: Sindh province still in need of assistance
Pakistan was still recovering from severe flooding in 2010 when this year's monsoon rains caused flash flooding in the south, affecting more than 9 million people and destroying more than 1.58m homes in Sindh province alone. Relief efforts in the area are ongoing and remain a major challenge.
Researchers recently held a series of workshops in east and west Africa to find out what matters to farmers, how they perceive their present and future challenges and how they can be empowered to tackle them. We show how farmers from Othidhe village, in Nyanza province, south west Kenya, responded.
What you said: some of the best comments from our readers
On Mark Tran's piece on Rwanda's role at the Busan aid conference, DesBremnerwrote:
Too much discourse on development gets stuck on the difficulty that, on the one hand, many developing country governments are unaccoutable to their citizens and prone to serial violation of human rights and, on the other hand, donor states have no claims to the moral high ground due to colonial history and more recent practice of tied aid.
Responding to Charles Abugre's blog about how Africa can make significant progress towards the MDGs, CeeWood argued:
The MDGS have no explicit goal for good governance and this is the black hole which may impact the overall success, or not, of the MDGs. Good governance isn't necessarily guaranteed through democracy in this very muddled world where aid can distort lines of accountability. The MDGs could have been an opportunity to address this. They haven't. Their impact will be less because of it.
William Easterly's blog about why US aid programmes should not be taken over by national security interests, drew the following response from Nancy Birdsall:
Oh dear it's complicated. In Pakistan, the United States could do far more to promote development by changing our trade policy and supporting US investment there than via any aid programme. And by channeling most of whatever aid money there is – for infrastructure, agriculture, water, education, health and energy – all both compassionate poverty-reducing and nation-building for the long run – through the World Bank or the African Development Bank, or via co-financing with the UK's poverty-driven aid programme.
The International Institute for Environment and Development's Anju Sharmaquestions why the needs of those most vulnerable to climate change were not a primary concern in Durban. He writes that the most climate-vulnerable people were "mostly unsupported, unprepared and uninformed about the complexities of climate change".
Owen Barder writes that, while the Busan aid conference did little to shape the future of development co-operation, he found four important outcomes and five future topics of discussion "which may prove important in future".
And on Poverty to Power, Duncan Green flags up a report on India's growth, written by Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze. The report, Putting Growth in Its Place, "draws you in with some great questions, and then uses league tables to taunt India's decision-makers into action – so you think we're an emerging world power? Think again," writes Green.