Stockholm back and forth

The ReCom team had some busy weeks before the meeting on aid and the social sectors in Stockholm on 13 March 2013. More than 150 people gathered for the whole-day event at Sida, the Swedish donor agency, and even more followed the proceedings live; students, academics, practitioners, policy makers, NGO and company representatives from two dozen countries.

For those wanting to visit the event we have collected all the material including working papers, research briefs, and presentations together on the ReCom website. More will be added over the next few weeks so it might be worthwhile revisiting the site.


© UNU-WIDERKicking off this ReCom newsletter is a news report from the meeting by experienced Swedish development journalist, Susanna Wasielewski Ahlfors. If this whets your appetite for more, the whole event was filmed and videos of all the sessions can be found here.

We also conducted some interviews at the results meeting. One of them focuses on conference participants views on results-based approaches to foreign aid, a big issue in the global debate on aid effectiveness. Experts on health, education, water, sanitation, and social protection tend to agree that there should be more of a focus on results. However, they also suggest that the discussion today is often more about making noise than tackling the task of improving aid effectiveness through rigorous research and evaluation.

In another interview Armando Barrientos, professor and research director at the Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI) at the University of Manchester, discusses social protection. Hundreds of millions of people in low-income and middle-income countries are now covered by different schemes such as cash transfers and employment guarantees. Barrientos explains why he believes that foreign aid has a limited but important role when it comes to social protection.

After these busy weeks Easter will be a welcome break. However preparations are already underway for the next results meeting on aid, the environment, and climate change. It will be held on 4 June, again in Stockholm at Sida. The conference website with registration details will be open soon and we encourage everyone to spread the word, since we believe that this event will be very engaging. The debate on the greening of aid has been going on ever since the first Earth Summit in Stockholm in 1972, so we think it is more than appropriate to return to that beautiful city to take stock of where we are now.

Carl-Gustav Lindén is Senior Communications Specialist, UNU-WIDER