Morlu Off for UK

-Addresses ODI & BBC World Service Trust Forum

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
July 28, 2011


Liberia’s former Auditor General John Sembe Morlu, II, is in London, the United Kingdom to address the July 25, 2011 forum on aid effectiveness hosted by Overseas Development t Institute(ODI) in collaboration with BBC World Service Trust.

In a communication, ODI informed Morlu “it would be an honour to have you as a speaker given your in-depth knowledge and critical engagement with many of the aspects of this agenda, especially in your recent post of Auditor General.”

The communication says the broad focus of this forum is “A results take-over of the aid effectiveness agenda? How to balance multiple or competing calls for more accountability.”

According to ODI the language of results is not new – it is integral to the aid effectiveness agenda; but against the backdrop of growing financial constraints, it is receiving renewed emphasis in many donor countries.

This forum will explore possible tensions, as well as opportunities, where donors seek to reassure domestic publics that aid is being spent well, while they also endeavor to support the needs and priorities of aid recipient countries and their citizens. How can domestic accountability to both these constituencies be supported more effectively? Are there tensions between these different stakeholders and forms of accountability, and how can they be addressed?

Scores of international personalities are expected to grace this program, including Sarah Cliffe - Special Representative and Director, World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development, Sue Unsworth - The Policy Practice and ODI Board Member, Alan Hudson - Senior Policy Manager, Governance (Transparency & Accountability), Alison Evans - Director, ODI plus a host of over 200 attendants.

In March 2011 Morlu was in the UK and addressed the PwC International Development Conference on “A Donor’s Accountability to Aid Recipients” View of the Recipient Country: Challenges of Accounting for Donor’s Funds in Diffuse Framework.

Morlu, among other things, told the participants amid intermittent round of applause for insightfulness that donors should use the country systems to put more direct budget support through the National Budget System to be appropriated by the National Legislature. This he said, will prevent donors from financing NGOs that are owned by Government officials and that Donors can have more active impact on the budget transparency as they can actively participate in the budgeting process, budget execution, financial reporting and auditing with more direct budget support using country systems.

This, he further explained will force Government to become transparent and will ensure ownership and also serve as an effective carrot and stick. He noted it is far more painful for a donor to pull out of a direct budget support arrangement-pulling out because of lack of transparency and accountability will send a serious signal and create a damaging political headache for any President.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is one of the leading independent think tanks on international development and humanitarian issues. Based in London, its mission is "to inspire and inform policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and the achievement of sustainable livelihoods in developing countries." It does this by "locking together high-quality applied research, practical policy advice, and policy-focused dissemination and debate.”

ODI began life in small premises in Regent's Park, central London, and operated a library devoted to international development issues as well as performing consultancy work and contracts with the Department for International Development (then known as the Overseas Development Agency) of the UK government. Since then it has moved several times, and is currently on Westminster Bridge Road.

In July 2007, ODI was named 'Think Tank of the Year 2007' by Public Affairs News magazine. It was previously named 'Think-tank to Watch' in the Prospect (magazine) 'Think-tank of the Year' awards, 2005.

It celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2010, with guests including former ODI Fellow and current UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable.

ODI has published many books, papers and briefings, and two leading academic journals, Development Policy Review and Disasters. It has had a Partnership Programmed Arrangement with the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) since 2004.

© 2011 by The Perspective

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