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In September 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)–an ambitious new agenda to eliminate poverty and achieve a sustainable world by 2030. The role of aid in achieving the SDGs, in which national accountability and ownership are paramount, should not be underestimated.

As the world marks one year since the signing of the Sustainable Development Agenda, Oxfam has outlined a new vision for the role of development aid. This paper sets out how more effective aid can support poor people to become active citizens, while also supporting effective and accountable governments to plot their own path to achieving the SDGs.

This vision of aid enables countries to take ownership of the development process. It overcomes barriers to accountability, participation, and decision making, thereby strengthening the citizen-state compact. While economic growth is crucial for development, trickle-down economics does not work by default for the poorest and most marginalized, and we cannot rely on the momentum of economic growth to achieve the SDGs.

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