The Idea of Ownership: The Flaws in the Samaritan’s Dilemma

The idea of ownership was put at the heart of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the key policy for global aid reform, in 2005. Despite the global consensus in Paris, ownership emerged as a contested idea.

In this final seminar for her doctoral thesis, Suzanne O’Neill presents her research which examines the influence of the idea of ownership on development partnerships in two Pacific countries, Samoa and Kiribati. Her research unpacks the model for policy change underpinning the idea of ownership in the Paris Declaration. The findings show that local policy actors attributed a different significance to ownership. Instead, policy actors chose to assert locally-situated values and beliefs around aid and development. This reflected the exercise of ownership in each site in ways that contested the policy logic claimed by the Paris Declaration. It challenged Australia’s expectations of aid relations.

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