The UN Secretariat has published a report on the trends and progress in international development cooperation, analyzing the state of play and challenges the most vulnerable countries, communities, and people face. It highlights key sectors where development cooperation can help address the diversity of interlinked vulnerabilities and build resilience.

Titled, ‘Trends and Progress in International Development Cooperation,’ the report (E/2023/48) was released on 3 January 2023. It offers policy recommendations for the high-level meeting of the UN Development Cooperation Forum (DCF), and will feed into the 2023 Financing for Development (FfD) Forum, the 2023 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and the SDG Summit.

The report highlights the UN’s critical role in advancing more effective development cooperation in the face of overlapping global crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, and inequalities. It calls for renewed effort to better understand the origins of asymmetric and multidimensional vulnerabilities and “how they exacerbate the cascading nature of existing and future global crises.”

The report discusses multidimensional vulnerability at the global, country, and individual and group levels, calling for shifting focus from multidimensional vulnerability to resilience by: strengthening social protection to reduce risk and vulnerability; supporting more and better risk-informed development cooperation for climate-vulnerable countries; and strengthening data for risk-informed development cooperation targeting the most vulnerable.

The report recommends that Member States, inter alia:

  • Strengthen access to reliable and predictable concessional finance to support developing countries’ long-term resilience;
  • Integrate multidimensional vulnerability as a complement to current eligibility criteria to ensure that concessional resources are responding to current risks and are targeting the most vulnerable;
  • Mainstream the inclusion of vulnerable groups in national development plans and development cooperation strategies of developing countries and their partners;
  • Advance better risk-informed development cooperation for climate-vulnerable countries;
  • Harness digital technology as a powerful tool for inclusive growth; and
  • Scale up development cooperation to support data collection, data systems, digital infrastructure, and skills training to help developing countries advance evidence-based policies that prioritize the most vulnerable.

The report was prepared in consultation with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN-Women, and the World Food Programme (WFP). [Publication: Trends and Progress in International Development Cooperation: Report of the Secretary-General]