On May 21 the United States signed the Global International Health Partnership Compact (IHP+), joining fifty other countries and organizations who had already signed on.
What does that mean? In a nutshell, the IHP+ represents an evolving approach to how development aid is delivered that gives a more active role to aid recipients. This move is widely seen as signaling U.S. commitment to efforts to reform how aid is deployed.
IHP+ has, at its core, seven principles. according to the U.S. Agency for International Development, those principles include support for country-led aid plans, better coordination of aid, transparency and mutual accountability of work. On its own website IHP+ notes that it “mobilizes national governments, development agencies, civil society and others to support a single, country-led national health strategy in a well-coordinated way.”
To navigate the complexities of improving health and health services in individual countries, IHP+ said governments must work with a range of international development partners, but there is a risk of resource fragmentation and waste. To ensure that aid is effective, IHP+ encourages “wide support for a single national health strategy or plan, a single monitoring and evaluation framework, and strong emphasis on partners holding each other to account.”
A shift has taken place in recent years away from a model in which countries in need of aid passively accept help, to one in which developing nations are more likely to question the efficacy of approaches and seek to actively participate in aid deployment. IHP+ is more in line with this stance than some historical initiatives have been.
The signing of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in 2005 is seen as the marker of the beginning of the shift to a new aid delivery model. The declaration was a set of principles that grew out of the experience of many in the development and aid communities on what makes aid and development cooperation most effective. That declaration was followed with similar statements in 2008 and 2011.
Increasingly, countries that receive aid want the freedom to use it how they think it is most effective. The idea has taken hold in many spheres.
During the U.S. IHP+ signing ceremony, Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, USAID’s assistant administrator for global health said, “USAID is supportive of the goals of IHP+ and we welcome opportunities to collaborate more effectively with countries and development partners in accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. USAID recognizes the importance of the Paris Declaration principles and believes IHP+ is an important vehicle for advancing these principles in the health sector.”
– Liza Casabona
Sources: IHP+, The Atlantic