The Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) will take place in Busan, South Korea, from 29 November to 1 December 2011 and will both look back at progress made in implementing the Paris and Accra agendas and look forwards at a new or amended framework for delivering aid. It represents a critical juncture in the global aid effectiveness and development co-operation agenda.
'Gender-blind' Paris Declaration
From the outset, women’s rights advocates have voiced their concern at the largely gender-blind Paris Declaration and the overly technical and opaque language and processes surrounding it, which they say ignore the political dimensions of aid. Research has also raised questions about the impact that changes in the approaches to delivering aid have had on the funding available to women’s rights organisations and for work on gender equality. 
Some progress has been made in addressing these concerns: women’s organisations have made themselves more visible and raised the profile of gender equality in aid effectiveness processes, notably securing a number of commitments to gender equality in the AAA; a group of donors has been working together to assess the impact of the PD and track aid in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment; and there have been efforts to map innovative donor practices and approaches to funding women’s organisations and gender equality work.
Including of gender equality and women’s rights perspectives at Busan remains a challenge
However, it is a challenge to ensure both the inclusion of a gender equality and women’s rights perspective in the Busan discussions and greater transparency, accountability and coherence in donor policies on gender equality. It also remains to be seen how the post HLF-4 framework will address other major global shifts, such as the financial, climate and food crises and the need for a revitalised global effort towards reaching the MDGs, all of which have a gender dimension, as well as the involvement of new donors, such as China and private foundations such as the Gates Foundation.
Briefing note published by BRIDGE and the Gender & Development Network
- shares information on HLF-4 and its implications for gender equality and women’s rights,
- aims to support women’s organisations and gender equality advocates to engage with and influence the debates leading up to HLF-4 and beyond.
The briefing also outlines key demands from women’s rights advocates, suggests actions which can be taken by women’s rights organisations and gender equality advocates and lists further resources.