Thirty in 30

The Reality of Aid Network looks back at its 30-year history working on aid and development cooperation. Scroll down to see how the network, through its major publications, projects, and engagements, has amplified Southern voices thirty years ago until today.

The Reality of Aid Report 1993

The Reality of Aid Report 1993 highlights the dwindling commitments of donor countries to eradicate poverty after Rio. This Report found that instead of focusing on the needs of the poor, aid was largely shaped by political, commercial, economic, and historical considerations of that time.

The Reality of Aid Report 1994

The Reality of Aid Report 1994 highlights the misaligned commitments and agendas of donor countries to reduce poverty. This edition criticizes the OECD-DAC's, their economic adjustments, and governance reforms rather than directly allocating resources for poverty reduction. The report also proposes several alternatives to truly respond to the overwhelming crises of that time.

The Reality of Aid Report 1996

This Report focuses on the lack of actions from donor countries to deliver their commitments to global South nations amidst severe poverty in the late 1990s. In 1996, aid effectiveness was put on the sidelines, putting peoples' development agenda on the backseat. The entry of commercialization was also apparent in the late 1990s where foreign direct investments (FDIs) were prioritized over effective public spending.

The Reality of Aid Report 1997-1998

In light of increasing globalization during the late 1990s, a significant increase in private finance entered the development finance arena. However, they have also contributed to the widening gap between the wealthy and the poor. The 1997-1998 Report argues that globalization is not inherently bad. Rather, it must be maximized creatively in order to address poverty and inequalities in a changing world during that time.

The Reality of Aid Report 1998/1999:
Focus on Basic Education

The 1998/1999 edition of the RoA Report focused on the need for donor states to deliver their commitments concretely and effectively, not through lip service. This edition tackled the importance of a shared responsibility between global North and South countries, democratic ownership of aid and political will, and credibility from both donor and recipient countries.

The Reality of Aid Report 2000: Focus on
Basic Education Policy Implementation

At the turn if the millennium and with the impacts of the Asian financial crisis, the 2000 edition of the RoA Report challenges the then-existing dynamics of the neoliberal order. Despite structural reform programs by multilateral development banks (MDBs) and other economic measures by development actors, development finance did not serve the interests of the marginalized. The edition highlights the importance of criticizing the longstanding impacts of the neoliberalism, still dominating today and is perpetuating the disenfranchisement of the global South.

The Reality of Aid Report 2002: Focus on
conditionality and ownership

The 2002 edition of the RoA Report focuses on challenging orthodoxies and an international order based on short-terminism and profit-seeking, sifting alliances and self-interest. The 2002 edition asserts that long-term partnerships that respect self-determination and promote rights-based approaches and solidarity should be the norm to attain justice, peace, and people-centered socioeconomic growth.

The Reality of Aid Report 2004: Focus on governance
and human rights in international cooperation

In 2004, the world was deeply off-track from achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). RoA Report 2004 asserts that all actors in the global aid regime must entrench the discourse of human rights, both in policy-making and in the practice of international cooperation. This edition also emphasizes that effective governance can only be achieved by respecting and upholding people's rights.

The Reality of Aid Report 2006: Focus on conflict,
security and development cooperation

Five years after 9/11, the discourse around the "war on terror" became stronger than ever. Security and geopolitical agendas dominated donor interests over peoples' development demands. RoA Report 2006 analyzes the impacts of policies and actions of aid donors on the rights, needs, and interests of populations affected by conflict.

The Reality of Aid Report 2008: Aid Effectiveness:
Democratic Ownership and Human Rights

In 2008, donors and developing country governments have failed to deliver on even the modest commitments made in Monterrey and in Paris. RoA Report 2008 shows the continued use of policy-based conditionalities by donors. Tied aid continues to hamper development in many countries and democratic ownership of development processes and outcomes are mainly shaped by donor countries. not recipients.

The Reality of Aid Report 2010: Aid and Development
Effectiveness: Towards Human Rights,
Social Justice and Democracy

RoA Report 2010 demonstrates that the implementation of aid effectiveness reforms under the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action are lacking. Fragmentation among cooperation efforts and the dichotomies of North-North and South-South cooperation perpetuate ineffectiveness and anti-development power relationships.

Civil Society Engagement on Aid Effectiveness

On August 21, 2010, Reality of Aid Network, together with Aid Accountability Group (AAG) and other CSOs held the "Civil Society Engagement on Aid Effectiveness" in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Stakeholders discussed critical matters related with aid effectiveness, accountability processes, and the role of CSOs in keeping donors in check especially in the context of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and Accra Agenda of Action. Thirteen years after, such discussions remain relevant and urgent as the global community struggles to achieve Agenda 2030.

The Reality of Aid Report 2011: Democratic Ownership
and Development Effectiveness: Civil Society
Perspectives in Progress since Paris

RoA Report 2011 focuses on the progress made on implementing democratic ownership and development effectiveness initiatives to aid recipient countries. The report shows how several development cooperation policies and practices affect democratic ownership and obstruct progress in achieving effective development results for the marginalized.

In Busan and beyond: Claiming the
People’s Right to Development

On April 29, 2011, The Reality of Aid Network participated in a strategy meeting, "In Busan and beyond: Claiming the People’s Right to Development". Held before the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in South Korea, the meeting aimed to further advance Filipino people’s development issues in the global community. From 2011 until now, issues on low wages and genuine agrarian reform remain to be two of the most crucial matters that the development cooperation arena must address.

The Reality of Aid Report 2012: Aid and the Private Sector:
Catalysing Poverty Reduction and Development?

RoA Report 2012 focuses on the relationship between the aid regime and the private sector. It emphasized the sector's role in development finance to address multiple global crises. The report clarifies the need for strong coherence between achieving development effectiveness and the creation of inclusive national development plans. The report highlights the need to center the focus of ODA from public and private financing on the eradication of poverty over economic and market interests.

Asia Pacific Consultation: CSO Partnership for
Development Effectiveness

From June 8-9, 2012, The Reality of Aid Network, together with Better Aid, Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN), and the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness held an Asia Pacific Consultation in Hanoi, Vietnam. This meeting primarily aimed to bring together different CSOs to talk about the importance of solidarity within civil society to promote development effectiveness amidst intensifying global crises.

The Reality of Aid Network announces new chairperson

On January 2013, the late Rev. Malcolm Damon was announced as the new Reality of Aid Network chairperson. Rev. Damon believed that the struggle of the marginalised sectors was foremost in the church’s work. Even after his chairmanship in the network, he made valuable contributions to the network’s future for being part of its strategic planning efforts in 2016.

The Reality of Aid Report 2014: Rethinking
Partnerships in a Post-2015 World: Towards
Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Development

RoA Report 2014 reflects on the established and emerging partnerships in development cooperation in the context of the final years of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This edition also tackled the importance of inclusive partnerships, new ways of working together for effective development outcomes, and preconditions for equitable partnerships to achieve sustainable development goals.

Asia Pacific CSOs call for rights-based and
people-centered sustainable development financing

From June 10 to 11, 2014, the Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific joined UNESCAP's "Asia Pacific Outreach Meeting on Sustainable Development Financing". Members of the network and the Secretariat shared about the urgent need for effective climate finance and the increasing role of private entities in development finance.

Asia Pacific Takes Stock of Progress on CSO
Enabling Environment and CSO Accountability

On March 25, 2015, Reality of Aid, together with other CSOs convened the "Stocktaking of Progress on CSO Enabling Environment and CSO Accountability". This event emphasized that gaining progress in CSO enabling environment depends in large measure on the extent in which other development actors live up to their commitments and responsibilities. Now more than ever, these concerns remain to be concerns as the world grapples with a 'polycrisis'.

The Reality of Aid Report 2016: Technical cooperation as
an aid modality: Demand-led or donor-driven

RoA Report 2016 analyzes the extent to which technical assistance in development cooperation is aligned and consistent with development effectiveness and the demands of the global South. Especially with the newly entrenched SDGs and the Paris Agreement during this time, how does technical cooperation address global challenges? Is it on the basis of donors or of their recipients?

Reality of Aid at UNESCAP'S First High-Level
Follow-up Dialogue on Financing for
Development in Asia and the Pacific

From March 30 to 31, 2016, The Reality of Aid Network participated in UNESCAP's First High-Level Follow-up Dialogue on Financing for Development in Asia and the Pacific in Incheon, South Korea. CSOs during this important event discussed the importance of citizen's and CSO engagement in development processes. The network also emphasized that South-South Cooperation should be guided by SSC principles - respect for national sovereignty, non-conditionality, mutual accountability and transparency, among others.

Reality of Aid joins the BRICS Civil Forum in 2016

From October 3 to 4, 2016, The Reality of Aid Network and other CSOs participated in the BRICS Civil Forum which took place in Goa, India. The late Rev. Malcolm Damon, then Executive Director of Economic Justice Network and former RoA chairperson spoke about inclusive multilateralism and stated the need for a framework that will institutionalize civil society engagement in BRICS processes.

Reality of Aid's Global Assembly 2017

On September 13, 2017, The Reality of Aid Network convened its 2017 Global Assembly in Paris, France. It aimed to discuss potential themes for the RoA Report 2018, share country and regional experiences among members, and examine trends and bottlenecks in the development cooperation arena. The Assembly was also a space to forge stronger solidarities among members from different parts of the world.

The Reality of Aid Report 2018: The Changing Faces
of Development Aid and Cooperation: Encouraging
Global Justice or Buttressing Inequalities?

RoA Report 2018 takes stock of the current debates and narratives on the role of ODA and examines how these debates are translated at the national level. The report focused on maximizing contributions of ODA to poverty eradication, within a framework that is defined by human rights standards, including strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment, and ensuring that members of marginalized groups are not left behind. The report draws lessons and conclusions from both positive and problematic practices and assesses the role of ODA in meeting the financing needs of Agenda 2030.

Southern CSOs form alliance to advance
people-oriented principles in SSC

In 2018, The Reality of Aid Network, together with 21 other CSOs formed the Southern CSO Alliance on South-South Cooperation after discussions on the relevance of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action (BAPA) on its 40th year. The Alliance was formed in CSOs’ fulfillment of their role as independent development actors, recognizing the need to ensure that SSC does not replicate the flaws of traditional North-South aid and development cooperation.

Civil society calls for people’s inclusion in
South-South Cooperation processes

On March 21, 2019, The Southern CSO Alliance on South-South Cooperation (SSC), CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) and The Reality of Aid Network organized an official BAPA+40 Conference side event in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The activity sought to promote a people-centered approach to SSC, and gather insights and gain champions and allies from state actors. The event also aimed to promote the notion of a people-centered South-South Cooperation, where communities are fully included in decision-making processes.

For the first time, CSOs were represented at
the OECD-DAC's Senior Level Meeting in 2019

In 2019, CSOs were represented at the OECD-DAC's Senior Level Meeting for the first time ever. Urantsooj Gombursen, former The Reality of Aid Network chairperson represented civil society. She echoed the concerns of the people, especially from the global South.

The Reality of Aid Network – Asia Pacific launches
the CSO Aid Observatorio

On December 2020, Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific launched its CSO Aid Observatorio. The platform aims to be a space where funded initiatives are recorded and monitored through stories from the field and evidenced-based data and analyses. With the data from the Observatorio, civil society and the general public will be informed about the impacts of mega-scale infrastructure projects as well as have an insight about the many on-ground stories behind the data found in the platform.

The Reality of Aid Report 2020/2021: Aid in the Context
of Conflict, Fragility & the Climate Emergency

RoA Report 2020/2021 sets out a narrative in support of a transformative shift in the international aid system taking stock of persisting global crises as a clear moment of opportunity for donor countries to demonstrate political will in eradicating poverty and reducing inequality in all its forms. The report examines these cross-cutting issues in three major areas: 1) the Triple Nexus approach; 2) the climate emergency; and 3) the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific's COVID-19 Response Series

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific spearheaded a COVID-19 Response Series which provided space for members to narrate their struggles, best practices, and lessons learned, as well as share recommendations as they responded to the pandemic. Through the series, CSOs' role in development cooperation was highlighted and solidarities among communities were featured as they overcome the impacts of the pandemic.

First Aid Talks Episode

In April 2020, the Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific and Aid/Watch Australia launched its first Aid Talks webinar on "The Fragile Case of COVID 19". The first episode talked about conflict and fragility in the time of COVID-19 and how the outbreak exacerbated the living conditions for refugees, migrants, and the poor.

The Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific and CPDE's Regional Meeting

In September 2021, the Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific held its annual regional meeting with the theme "Accelerate Efforts; Amplify Voices". The meeting featured the launch of The Reality of Aid Report 2020/2021 Asia Pacific edition and the Nexus Research Launch. The meeting tackled the need to transform and democratize aid in order to achieve people-centered, rights-based, and sustainable development.

Regional Conference on Promoting CSO Effectiveness through Trust-building

In October 2022, the Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific and the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) held a two-day conference tackling the state of CSO enabling environment in the region and the Triple Nexus Approach. CSOs and development actors present during the conference also discussed about the importance of trust-building and continuous communication towards common goals in building trusts. The event was a preparatory step for the December 2022 Effective Development Cooperation Summit in Geneva, Switzerland.

Launch of the Private Sector Watch: Global Synthesis Report 2022

On December 1, 2022, The Reality of Aid Network and CPDE launched their first Private Sector Watch Global Synthesis Report. The CPDE PS Watch aims to monitor private sector engagement in development cooperation through case studies from the network’s constituencies. The Report featured 8 case studies from different regions and sectors experiencing the impacts of private sector-led projects in their communities. During the launch, the PS Watch Online Hub was also officially publicized.

Effective Development Cooperation Summit 2022 (HLM3)

In December 2022, a number of The Reality of Aid Network members delivered interventions during the HLM 3 held in Geneva, Switzerland. Members voiced out critical perspectives on CSO enabling environment, South-South Cooperation, and private sector-led development, among others, in various sessions.

Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development 2023
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The Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific participated in the 10th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) in Bangkok, Thailand on March 27-30, 2023. The Secretariat and some members delivered interventions forwarding the transformation of the prevailing development paradigm. Amidst difficulties to achieve Agenda 2030, RoA-AP strongly asserted the need to promote people-centered development.

ADB's 58th Annual Meeting

At the 58th Annual Meeting of the Asia Development Bank (ADB) held in May in Incheon, South Korea, the Reality of Aid - Asia Pacific participated in various sessions tackling how to address persisting challenges in the Asia Pacific region. One key milestone during the Annual Meeting was when a CSO collective statement was directly delivered to ADB president, Masatsugu Asakawa, calling on the bank to cancel debts, end policy conditionalities, and abandon financing modalities that further impoverish peoples and widen inequalities.

Reality Checks

In 2023, The Reality of Aid Network was able to release three Reality Check pieces in line with key events and issues - the release of the OECD-DAC's Development Cooperation Report 2023 and the Preliminary 2022 ODA Figures, as well as on South-South Cooperation. After a short pause in the production of Reality Checks, the network has resumed writing these short policy briefs tackling advancements and gaps in different policy spaces.

The Reality of Aid Network's Global North-South Caucus

In June 2023, The Reality of Aid Network held its Global North-South Caucus where members discussed critical matters on the current state of aid and development cooperation. On its 30th year, the network reviewed its engagement with the OECD-DAC and highlighted the need for RoA to rethink strategies on engaging important policy spaces amid the 'polycrisis'.

IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings 2023

Since the 2019 IMF-World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Indonesia, it was only this year that The Reality of Aid Network was able to participate again in the Meetings in person. Held in Marrakech, Morocco, last October, the network joined civil society and mobilized some members to monitor developments on critical bank policies and their future plans. The network also crafted a CSO statement calling on the World Bank to rethink its evolution process. This statement was supported by a total of 54 CSOs and individuals.

Private Sector Watch: Global Synthesis Report 2023

CPDE and The Reality of Aid Network launched its second Private Sector Watch: Global Synthesis Report 2023 in November. WIth brand new case studies, the Report critiqued the increasing role of the private sector in development. The Report also emphasized the importance of using the Kampala Principles in assessing private sector-led projects, as well as the relevance of upholding people-centered development.