The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change will require “an unprecedented multilateral cooperation,” underlined participants at the UN Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) fifth biennial high-level meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF).
During the two-day meeting, representatives from governments, UN agencies, and civil society discussed the role of various types of development financing and related policy changes necessary for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and other international agreements signed in 2015.
22 July 2016: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change will require “an unprecedented multilateral cooperation,” underlined participants at the UN Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) fifth biennial high-level meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF). During the two-day meeting, representatives from governments, UN agencies, and civil society discussed the role of various types of development financing and related policy changes necessary for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and other international agreements signed in 2015.
The DCF opened with a panel on ‘Infrastructure for sustainable development for all.’ Thoriq Ibrahim, Maldives’ Minister for Environment and Energy, noted that private finance remained difficult to procure, as small island developing States (SIDS) are considered high-risk investment environments. He stressed that investment in new sustainable and resilient infrastructure must be a priority. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, African Development Bank (AfDB), said the Bank is focused on three main areas across Africa: energy, agriculture and industrialization.
Laurence Carter, World Bank, said participants in the Global Infrastructure Forum, which took place on 16 April 2016, expressed a clear commitment to make infrastructure development goals and targets operational. Amar Bhattacharya, Brookings Institution, noted the importance of the next 20 years as large investments in infrastructure will be made, and thus the way that infrastructure is build will impact climate change and sustainability.
In the following session, Oh Joon, ECOSOC President, highlighted the need to align development cooperation and its institutions with the 2030 Agenda. He suggested the Forum takes a distinct development cooperation perspective to issues such as South-South cooperation, blended finance and technology transfer. Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General, noted that sources of development finance are more diverse than ever before, highlighting the role of the private sector. He called for scaling up official development assistance (ODA) and targeting it more effectively to support those most in need.
Wang Bingnan, Ministry for Commerce of China, emphasized that developed countries should deliver on their ODA commitments on schedule. He announced that China will host the Group of 20 (G20) Summit in September 2016, which will focus on delivering the 2030 Agenda. Noting that “development is about peace” and that “ODA will never be enough,” Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, stressed that the 2030 Agenda marks a new culture of shared responsibility and partnership, and that countries must shoulder their responsibilities to make development sustainable.
Wu Hongbo, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), introduced the report of the UN Secretary-General on trends and progress in international development cooperation (E/2016/65). He said development cooperation should remained “tightly focused” on developing countries’ efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a view to leaving no one behind. He noted that, inter alia: global institutions should align their strategies, funding and approaches to the 2030 Agenda; development cooperation should promote the use of programme-based approaches; national plans should be owned by whole societies through institutionalized, participatory processes; and robust national-level monitoring and reviews of commitments, supported by global follow-up and review mechanisms, should be put in place.
Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice and UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Climate and El Niño, stressed that human rights and gender equality should underpin the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. She underlined that climate change solutions should offer opportunities to help eradicate poverty. Robinson added that the high-level panel of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) was created to make DAC more “fit for purpose.”
During a panel on ‘Supporting national efforts to achieve the full ambition of the 2030 Agenda, leaving no one behind,’ Jaime Miranda, El Salvador’s Ministry of Development Cooperation of El Salvador, said his government created a multi-stakeholder national council to monitor SDG implementation, and has organized more than 4,500 consultations with leaders from the public sector. Mark Van de Vreken, Belgium’s Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Post, stressed that all countries will need to dedicate 0.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) to domestic resource mobilization.
Anita Nayar, Regions Refocus, cautioned against using ODA to influence trade or macroeconomic policies, adding that development cooperation must support nationally and regionally defined priorities. Noting that a country’s most valuable resource is its people, Babatunde Osotimehim, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), called for providing education and access to skills training, to make people as productive as possible. José Antonia Alonso Rodríguez, Complutense University, stressed the need to shift from ODA to the broader concept of development cooperation, and to set clearer rules for allocating international support.
In a panel discussion on ‘Aligning development cooperation to contribute to the different aspects of the 2030 Agenda,’ Admasu Nebebe, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, said international development actors must focus on resource allocation, ensure long-term support, and take a programme-based approach. Riikka Laatu, Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said civil society organizations must adopt a human rights approach in order to win the government’s support. Adriano Campolina, CEO Action Aid, noted that South-South cooperation and stopping tax avoidance are effective ways to address inequality.
On a panel on ‘Southern partners advancing mutual learning and envisioning the contribution of South-South cooperation for sustainable development,’ Abdirahman Yusuf A. Ayante, Somalia’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, identified important factors for advancing South-South cooperation, including: horizontal cooperation among national institutions, civil society and private sector; commissioning of more robust research; and offering solutions to the challenges identified. Joao Almino, Director of the Brazilian Agency for Cooperation, said developing countries should set an example of assertiveness in respecting each country’s policy space in the formulation of national development policies. Jorge Chediek, Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, noted that the institutional set-up for South-South cooperation must be reworked as the international system had been established for channelling North-South cooperation.
During a session on ‘Monitoring and review of development cooperation in the 2030 Agenda: quality, effectiveness and impact for sustainable development,’ Thomas Gass, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said “prioritization” should not be confused with “simplification.” He remarked that 230 SDG indicators multiplied by 193 countries and 15 years will generate an enormous amount of data, and capacity will be needed at the local level to hold local and global players accountable. Fred Twesiime, Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, stressed the importance of aligning all public investments with national development plans. He underscored the need for country results frameworks (CRFs) to include indicators, as well as incentives and sanctions to encourage action.
Brenda Killen, OECD, noted that countries set their own priorities in the CRFs, and development partners should use them and not see them as institutional adds-on. Noting the challenge of sustainable development integration and of working cross-sectorally, Petra Bayr, Member of Parliament, Austria, encouraged assessing the potential impact of laws on the SDGs, as a tool to ensure policy coherence.
During a panel on ‘Development cooperation by the private sector, other non-State actors and blended development cooperation,’ Alejandro Gamboa, Colombian Presidential Agency of International Cooperation, said his Government seeks to present the future development framework as a portfolio of investment opportunities for the private sector. Pio Wennubst, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, said ODA should be more focused on innovation and incentives, while the UN should play a leading role in norm-setting. John Finnigan, Citi, identified three main pillars of development cooperation: policy change, capacity-building and financial cooperation. Cordelia Lonsdale, Development Initiatives, underscored that ODA is not only about money or de-risking investments, but also about technical capacity-building, experience and relationship-building.
On a panel on ‘Development cooperation perspectives on capacity-building and the role of technology development and facilitation in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals,’ Muhsin Syihab, Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called for needs-based assessments to further improve technology cooperation and capacity building, and for an intellectual property regime that would facilitate wider access to technology in such countries. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said the region needs a common digital market and a fund for the transfer of technology. Gyan Chandra Acharya, UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and SIDS (OHRLLS), called for public-private partnerships and investment in renewable energy and climate-proofing infrastructure. Mark Lewis, International Monetary Fund (IMF), called for thinking about outcomes instead of outputs, and for peer-to-peer learning, which he said can be achieved through South-South cooperation.
During the wrap-up session, Jack McConnell, Member of the House of Lords of the UK, expressed concern about the lack of urgency in discussions on development cooperation. Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, stressed the need to partner with those living in deprivation as rights holders.
Delivering closing remarks for the high-level segment, Wu noted that discussions had underscored the importance of national ownership. He added that the UN development system must continue to align itself with the 2030 Agenda, and noted that DCF participants had stressed the need to work with the world’s poorest people to ensure that no one is left behind, as well as the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and a bottom-up approach.
During the two-day discussions, participants discussed the need for: better statistics and data, including open data; the importance of technical assistance, finance and greater partnerships; greater accountability, strengthening the role of civil society in monitoring and follow-up and their democratic participation; improving inclusiveness; making the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs understandable for citizens; and strengthening countries’ capacities. Several highlighted the relevance of the UN Monitoring Mechanism (UNMM), established through UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 66/293, to review commitments made toward Africa’s development by African countries and their development partners. The EU remarked that statistics can be used as a mobilization tool, not only as a monitoring tool. He outlined the important contribution of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) for the monitoring of the 2030 Agenda, and said the total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD) should be considered in complement to ODA. Italy stated that the second GPEDC high-level meeting that will take place from 28 November to 1 December 2016, in Nairobi, Kenya, should help shape new partnerships to implement the 2030 Agenda.
ECOSOC then adopted the Draft Ministerial Declaration of the High-Level Segment of its 2016 session and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), with Oh noting that the Ministerial Declaration will guide actions going forward, in particular by creating new norms and policy recommendations.