Spotlight on the Development Cooperation Forum

03-20-Wu-Sajdik-BerlinThis session of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) was organized to allow stakeholders to elaborate how development cooperation will have to change in order to help implement a transformative post 2015 development agenda. The following two key questions were addressed: How will different actors be able to support a unified and universal set of goals, and how can national ownership and coordination be guaranteed in this context?

Mr. Wennubst presented key messages from the 2013 High level Symposium held in Switzerland. He said that a key feature of the post-2015 development agenda will be the inclusion of the universality principle towards sustainable development to ensure poverty eradication. He also highlighted the importance of accountability. Mr. Bapna elaborated on the role of development cooperation in implementing a forward-looking post-2015 development framework. He said that development cooperation plays the role of a catalyst, which accelerates local efforts. He said that development finance is a key component of development cooperation. Mr. Bapna explained that ODA, which makes up about 70% of external financing and 10% of GDP, plays a very significant role in low-income countries.

Mr. Semodji explained the division of labor between different development actors. He said that the role of developing countries, according to the Monterrey Consensus, is that they have to define clear strategies for the basis of their development. The role envisioned for international, multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental actors was that they will be able to provide technical and financial assistance. He said that the international actors have played their role in this regard. However, Mr. Semodji said that there were problems in the implementation of this role. Mr. Premajayantha said that an effective intervention of DCF is crucial. He also emphasized that the coordination of all stakeholders and projects is vital. The key factors for poverty eradication and sustainable development are a peaceful atmosphere in countries, political stability, and effective management of human and physical resources, he explained. Ms. Akhtar called for a much deeper and broader inter-governmental cooperation that institutes an effective global governance system.

 

Meeting Title: Advancing a unified and universal development agenda, 2014 Development Cooperation Forum
Speakers: H.E. Vladimir Drobnjak (Croatia), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning (Moderator); Mr. Pio Wennubst, Assistant Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation; H.E. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy, Sri Lanka; H.E. Mawussi Djossou Semodji, Minister of Planning, Togo; Mr. Manish Bapna, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director, World Resources Institute; H.E. Hélèn Laverdierè, Member of Parliament, Canada; Ms. Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
Date: 10 June 2014
Location: Conference Room 1 (CB), United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Shan Cheema
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

 

ODA Improvements for the Post 2015 Development Agenda

enjoToday as a part of the Development Cooperation Forum, a meeting was held to discuss the role of Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the post 2015 development agenda. Beginning the meeting, Ms. Randel gave a statement on the critical role of ODA in eradicating extreme poverty, and how to target and better mobilize resources for development. In recent years ODA has increased, with 2013 having the highest recorded ODA expenditures. However, Ms. Randel pointed out that ODA must focus on impacting the bottom 20% of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Ms. Randel also pointed out the importance of harnessing other resources for development like foreign direct investment, remittances, and public/private debt flows.

Following, H.E. Mr. Géro of Benin spoke about how ODA is needed as a tool for investment in developing countries for roads, energy infrastructure, transportation, and industrialization. Markets are very new in developing countries, and oftentimes developing countries are excluded from participating in the global market, so ODA is needed to make up for this deficit. He concluded by stating that ODA must not be guided by political considerations, but rather guided by considerations of what development objectives we hope to achieve.

Next, Mr. Solheim from OECD gave a statement on suggestions to improve ODA. He said that ODA should be targeted more towards LDCs, because even though overall ODA amounts are increasing, they are decreasing for LDCs and fragile states. Mr. Solheim also suggested improving ODA by targeting it towards encouraging more private investment, supporting peace, and using it to assist countries in domestic resource mobilization and better taxation systems.

Following, Mr. Alonso emphasized the importance of ODA in Middle Income Countries (MICs), stating that MICs need development assistance as well in order for them to meet their development goals. Overall, there has been a reduction in global absolute poverty, but an increase in relative poverty in MICs.

Concluding the meeting, H.E. Mr. Phuong of Viet Nam stated that in the post 2015 development agenda, ODA should be used together with public expenditures to attract private investment, directly tackle poverty, and support developing countries socioeconomic development plans. He also called for climate change adaptation projects, the efficient use of natural resources, institutional reforms, and capacity building to help developing countries tap into their national funds.

 

Meeting Title: Development Cooperation Forum Session 2 “The critical role of Offical Development Assistance (ODA) in development cooperation post-2015”
Speakers: Ms. Judith Randel, Executive Director, Development Initiatives, United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northern Ireland; His Excellency Fulbert Amoussouga Géro, Minister at the Presidency of the Republic of Benin, in charge of coordinating policies and implementation of the MDGs and the SDGs; Mr. Erik Solheim, Chair, Development Assistance Committee, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Mr. José Antonio Alonso, Professor, Universidad Complutense of Madrid; H.E. Nguyen The Phuong, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam
Date: 10 July 2014
Location: Conference Room 2, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

 

In Search of a New Definition of ODA

Mr. Gass opened the panel by stating that the discussion on the future of Official Development Assistance (ODA) is an important one, for “ODA will be critical, but not sufficient” for the implementation of the SDGs. He also recognized that ODA is outshined by other sources of financing for development. However, he added that as long as the total funding channeled to developing countries meets the demand, it is not necessarily a change for the worse.

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Mr. Kwakkenbos stated that 2013 saw a huge increase in ODA, but the increase came in form of loans but not gratuitous grants. Further, while ODA to middle-income countries increased, ODA to the least developed countries (LLDCs) suffered a setback in the last decade. Mr. Guillaumont suggested that one way to redress to lack of attention to LLDCs is to provide more loans to the LLDCs, as it is often difficult for them to access commercial lending market. Dr. Chaturvedi responded to the calls for redirecting loans from middle-income country to the LLDCs, saying that middle-income countries like India will still need ODA in forms of loans in support of infrastructural projects.

 

Mr. Solheim brought to the panel two messages. The first is the recognition of the new sources of financing, including private funding and South-South cooperation funding. The second contains some proposals on the ways in which the future definition of the ODA may be redefined. He proposed that future government encouragement of private investment into developing countries may be counted towards ODA. Further, there should be consensus on whether loans should be considered as part of the ODA. The current calculus only consider the difference between the commercial and concessional interest rate as part of the ODA, which means contribution from donors lending to countries with high possibility of default are not taken account into the ODA.

Meeting Title: New measures for development financing in a Post-2015 world
Speakers: His Excellency Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs; Mr. Erik Solehim, Chair of the Developmental Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooepration and Development; Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Research and Information system for Developing Countries; Mr. Jeroen Kwakkenbos, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Eurodad; Mr. Patrick Guillaumont, President, Fondation pour les etudes et recherches sur le developpement international (FERDI)
Location: Conference Room 5, North Lawn Building, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 10 July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Harrison Chung
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

MDG Progress Review – Qatar, UK, and Kuwait

Millennium-Development-Goals-for-2015Today, as part of the Annual Ministerial Review on development, Qatar, the UK, and Kuwait gave their respective countries’ development reports, and had these reports reviewed by their peers as part of the monitoring and evaluation process of the millennium development goals (MDGs). Beginning the meeting, the representative from Qatar presented Qatar’s National Development Strategy (NDS), which covers the period from 2011-2016. So far it’s found that Qatar has done exceedingly well in GNI per capita (ranking 1st globally), and in having high levels of citizen satisfaction with life. However, the NDS report pointed out population growth as a major challenge to development in Qatar. Qatar’s population has grown from 1.4 million in 2008 to 2.1 million in 2013, with almost a quarter of a million more people expected by 2014. Population growth places a burden on schools, hospitals, housing, and other aspects of social infrastructure. Traffic congestion and accidents were also highlighted as main challenges for Qatar. Concluding the presentation, proposed future actions for development include creating a high-level sustainable development committee, ensuring the integration of environmental and social concerns, and improving quantitative and qualitative measures of well-being.

Next, the UK’s development report was presented. The UK is the only G8 country to reach the UN set target of allocating .7% of its GNI for official development assistance (ODA). Furthermore, the UK identified its key priorities for development as gender equality, education and health, humanitarian work, multilateral aid effectiveness, reducing barriers to economic growth, supporting capital market development in Sub Saharan Africa, and international efforts to combat tax evasion and corruption. To promote development, the UK has given 40% of its bilateral aid to Sub Saharan Africa. Furthermore, in 2013, the UK gave 4.4 billion pounds to 40 different multilateral aid agencies. The presentation concluded with a quote from the UK’s International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, “Development is in all of our interests. Helping other countries to grow and develop means a better, more prosperous future for Britain too.”

Lastly, Kuwait gave its presentation on its development progress. So far, Kuwait has done relatively well in meeting the MDGs. By 2011, only .33% of its population lived on less than $1.25 per day, by 2012 97% of children were enrolled in primary schools, and Kuwait has seen a significant improvement in maternal health – 1.7 deaths for every 100,000 births as of 2012. However, increasing CO2 levels in Kuwait remain a challenge, and water desalination and power stations are main sources of pollution. Thus far, Kuwait has been successful in building a global partnership for development – allocating 1.23% of its GNI for ODA, hosting the first Arab summit on economic and social development, and creating the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The meeting concluded with reviews by peer countries of the development reports.

 

Meeting Title: Annual Ministerial Review National Voluntary Presentations: Qatar, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Kuwait
Speakers: H.E. Mr. Saleh bin Mohammad Al Nabit, Minister of Development Planning and Statistics, Qatar; Mr. Anthony Smith, Head, International Relations, Department for International Development, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; H.E. Mr. Mansour Ayyad SH A Alotaibi, Permanent Representative of Kuwait
Date: 9 July 2014
Location: Conference Room 2, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan