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News > First meeting of the Partners' Forum organized

First meeting of the Partners' Forum organized

The Paris Declaration and later the Accra Agenda sought to improve the effectiveness of aid by improving coordination among donors while giving ownership of the development process over to the country receiving aid and increasing accountability for development results. Both agreements sought to reduce the burden on Governments in developing countries that were heavily burdened with laborious requests for monitoring aid from donor countries. In Serbia, the World Bank is teaming up with other donors to make these agreements come to life.

Two years ago, the Serbian Ministry of Justice was struggling with insufficient numbers of properly trained staff to implement some 40 fragmented projects financed by various donors on a bilateral basis. In late 2007, the Ministry asked the World Bank to take the lead in coordinating efforts to reform the sector. Now, the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Justice Sector Support (MDTF-JSS) for Serbia supports ‘The Partners’ Forum’, which helps the Ministry of Justice improve aid effectiveness and donors’ coordination across the justice sector.

"In late 2007, the Bank began a journey to craft an instrument to pool donor funds to support Serbia’s justice sector priorities as it moves towards European integration,” said Simon Gray, the World Bank Country Manager for Serbia. “The Bank also sought to create a consultative process to strengthen the Ministry of Justice by facilitating discussions on important issues between them and other key actors.”

The Partners’ Forum is comprised of representatives from Serbia’s Ministries of Justice and Finance, the Judiciary, and all development partners active in Serbia’s justice sector. It enables key stakeholders to periodically engage in substantive, candid, and constructive policy dialogue on topical justice reform issues.  The inaugural meeting of the Partners’ Forum was held on March 9, 2009 in Belgrade.

Michel Mordasini, the Executive Director representing Serbia, added that “The coordinated and collaborative approach that the Bank and other development partners have adopted for Serbia’s justice sector reflects the Bank’s commitment to make the Paris and Accra agendas a reality. We must work with other donors more effectively to build country capacity and address the fragmentation of aid.”

In the Western Balkans, this initiative represents the first effort in justice sector context to mainstream both the 2005 Paris Declaration principles of country ownership, harmonization, managing for results and mutual accountability, and the guidance for donors that was provided through and the Accra Agenda for Action in 2008.

“This is the first time and a promising moment for the international community as the international donor community has actually created a vehicle to implement the Accra Action Agenda on a country level in Serbia,” noted Mr. Satyendra Prasad, DFID’s Senior Governance Advisor.

“With the MDTF-JSS, Serbia has taken a great step forward, and we look forward to putting the Accra Agenda through the real test – helping Serbia increase the credibility of courts, eliminate backlogs, improve transparency, and provide better access to justice for the poor,” added Amit Mukherjee, World Bank Task Team Leader.

The UK’s Department for International Development, another key stakeholder in improving justice reform efforts in Serbia, has also noted the improvements and the importance of a forum to make assistance to the country more effective.

“The Partners’ Forum goal is to help the Ministry of Justice create “four ones” – one strategy, one operational plan, one budget, and one performance framework,” said Mr. Paul Wafer, Head of DFID, Serbia.

The MDTF-JSS has already begun work using its current commitment ratified by all donors – currently totaling US$3 million. The Fund’s components will help strengthen institutional capacity, resource management, aid coordination and outreach, and monitoring and evaluation.

For more information please contact Amit Mukherjee, Lead Public Sector Specialist, ECSPE or Mikko Vayrynen, Consultant, ECSPE.