With hindsight, there were inherent flaws in the way in which the 2005 commitments were designed. The 2005 Communiqué included a series of ambitious outcome goals such as reaching universal access for antiretrovirals (ARVs) and supporting African plans to educate all children. Then, separately, there was an overall financial commitment, but no lines were drawn between the two. Accountability (or lack thereof) was a common theme in the Communiqué – with aspirations not tethered to action plans or transparency mechanisms.
As has been seen through all five DATA Reports, any attempt at measuring and monitoring has required a good deal of interpretation and an extensive clarification of the intent and meaning of certain commitments in terms of individual donors. What has also been increasingly apparent is the fact that donors do much better in delivering upon immediate targets such as increasing access to ARVs or getting children into school, but not as well in building sustainable systems in partnership with African countries to address widespread health issues or enhance the quality of education. Perhaps because the quantified targets won the headlines and because advocates only underscored the importance of those outcomes, donors rushed to deliver services, to check boxes and to report on these 'results'. Less emphasis has been placed on building for the future and for sustainable mechanisms that are truly designed and owned by recipient countries, in line with their own efforts and commitments.
The success of the past five years should fuel continued momentum towards 2015, but a new strategic partnership must also take into account the shortcomings of the past five years. It is clear that, while individual commitments remain incredibly powerful, collective targets bound together and backed up by independent monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are the key to success. In order to facilitate a higher-quality set of commitments for 2010–15, ONE has worked with a group of partners to identify the 'TRACK' principles for establishing what constitutes a good commitment, and these principles should guide the formation of a new partnership for the future.