A prevailing element of discussion leading to a consensus document at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea was how to bring China, Brazil and India into the post-Busan process.
Throughout the meeting, the reality of the new development architecture was showcased. That is, traditional donors are still mired in a financial crisis that has restricted their capacity to deliver aid and new actors, many still developing themselves, are emerging to complement cooperation. How does a common consensus emerge when there are so many actors with various characteristics?
A consensus is complicated in the new development architecture. As the number of actors and types of actors grows, it becomes more complex to find common ground to exchange the status quo for something that can make a difference in the outcomes that are achieved and their sustainability
. In short, differential application of common principles is at the core of the partnership forged in Busan.
The Busan Outcome Document has variations of the word different twelve times. It is just a word in a 12-page document, but it is highly symbolic. The Paris Declaration of 2005 and the Accra Agenda for Action used variations of the word different a combined 3 times over 26 pages.
And what is different? The actors, their characteristics, their position vis-a-vis each other, their relative importance in achieving development outcomes, their priorities, the commitments…in short everything.
The Busan Outcome Document is a black and white proof that the world has changed.