Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The German Development Institute released reports on aid effectiveness and accountability, while the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung reported on an expert group meeting between the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development and Member States.

Civicus, Citiscope and Avaaz issued inputs on citizen participation and data related to the 2030 Agenda.

6 March 2017: The German Development Institute (DIE) has released reports on aid effectiveness and accountability, while the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) reported on an expert group meeting between the UN Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development (IATF) and Member States. Civicus, Citiscope and Avaaz issued inputs on citizen participation and data related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

DIE’s report on aid effectiveness in the 2030 Agenda proposes three steps for realigning aid efforts and strengthening partner countries: orienting development cooperation towards national development and sustainability strategies, and increasing partner country planning and implementation systems; coordinating donor activities, with a focus on the comparative advantages of donors and the private sector; and strengthening statistical capacity in developing countries while using existing data collection methods to improve targeting. To increase accountability and transparency, authors Alexandra Rudolph and Sarah Holzapfel recommend publishing aid projects and their results through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).

In a DIE discussion paper, titled ‘Accountability for Development Cooperation under the 2030 Agenda,’ author Timo Mahn Jones argues that further specification is needed on entry points, channels and feedback loops for stakeholder input, in order for the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) to be a true “locus of global accountability” in the 2030 Agenda. The paper recommends: clarifying the role of development cooperation and stakeholders in implementing the 2030 Agenda to facilitate attribution of responsibilities and promote accountability; strengthening vertical and horizontal accountability linkages between existing frameworks and the 2030 Agenda; making accountability institutions and processes more results-oriented; and strengthening peer accountability at the EU and Group of 20 (G20) level.

On FfD, FES and the South Centre organized an expert group meeting between the IATF and Member States in January 2017, with the assistance of DESA’s Financing for Development Office (FfDO). Member States made a number of suggestions for the IATF’s forthcoming 2017 report. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) mandates the IATF to report annually on progress in implementing the FfD outcomes and the means of implementation (MoI) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to advise the intergovernmental follow-up processes on implementation gaps and recommendations for corrective action. The report serves as an input to the ECOSOC Forum on FfD follow-up (FfD Forum) and the HLPF.

At the expert meeting, Member States suggested including country case studies to support peer learning, and providing a range of policy options for Member States to consider. On thematic issues, participants recommended: further work on state-contingent debt instruments; including private sector representatives in discussions and work on aligning capital markets with sustainable development; and a scoping paper on quick disbursing international credit lines.

The paper identifies education, health and gender equality as sectors where governments can benefit the most from citizen-generated data.

On data, Civicus released a paper, titled ‘Statistical Perspectives on Citizen Generated Data,’ by Federico Piovesan. This paper discusses challenges and opportunities for using citizen generated data (CGD), including for monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The paper identifies education, health and gender equality as sectors where governments can benefit the most from CGD, and suggests that civil society help fill data gaps that are likely to prevent proper monitoring of the SDGs, a step that could elevate CGD as a recognized source of information.

Also on civic engagement, Avaaz, Civicus, FES, and the UN Association-UK compiled perspectives and suggestions from supporters of the 1 for 7 Billion campaign, which comprises approximately 750 CSOs worldwide, on fostering stronger relationships between the UN and civil society. The report, titled ‘Strengthening Civil Society Engagement with the UN: Perspectives from across civil society highlighting areas for action by the UN Secretary-General,’ calls for: recognizing civil society as an integral part of a coherent system that delivers on the UN agenda; respecting and safeguarding the consultative rights of CSOs through transparent rules of procedure; fully realizing CSO engagement with the UN General Assembly, Security Council and other UN fora; and enhancing access to the UN, such as by championing broad, diverse civil society and public participation and using technology. Individual chapters focus on a range of issues, from including youth in UN climate change negotiations to enhancing civil society’s role in the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC).

Finally, a Citiscope blog post by Brendon Bosworth reflects on challenges and opportunities for measuring progress in cities. Bosworth underscores the importance of building and improving national and local statistical capacities, and highlights key tools for analyzing the world’s urban areas, such as the European Commission’s Global Human Settlement Layer, the Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data, the Governance Data Alliance, the World Council on City Data, and the UN Human Settlement Programme’s (UN-HABITAT) City Prosperity Initiative, which measures the state of urban development in cities. [Linking Aid Effectiveness with the 2030 Agenda in Three Steps] [Accountability for Development Cooperation under the 2030 Agenda] [FES Meeting Summary] [Statistical Perspectives on Citizen Generated Data] [Citiscope Blog] [Strengthening Civil Society Engagement with the UN]

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