On 12-13 March, the Economic and Social Council convened its annual high-level dialogue with the World Trade Organization and the Bretton Woods institutions, on “Coherence, Coordination and Cooperation in the context of Financing for Development”. See the agenda here, and an extensive background note from the UN Secretary-General here. Access to all meeting documents can be found here. We note that H.E. Mr. Anthony Mothae Maruping (Lesotho), President of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Board and President of the Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD XIII was a featured speaker. The financing of sustainable development is a major topic here, as it is at UNCTAD XIII, along with “sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth, job creation, and productive investment and trade”. This is all very ambitious, but again we sense a momentum for the financing and FDI issues. We are also interested to note that the World Bank is preparing its World Development Report 2013 on “Jobs”. Look for a follow-up article on the outcomes of the ECOSOC meeting in an upcoming issue of the CMBD News.
Archive for the ‘Aid’ Category
The consultations with civil society and the private sector for the preparations for UNCTAD XIII, to be held in Doha, Qatar on 21 to 26 April 2012, were held in Geneva on Wednesday, 7 March 2012, presided over by the President of the Trade and Development Board and President of the Preparatory Committee for UNCTAD XIII, H.E. Mr. Anthony Mothai Maruping (Lesotho). Testimony was received from six civil society organizations but none from the private sector. The absence of the private sector may be related to the fact that there will not be a private sector forum at UNCTAD XIII, nor is the private sector really gearing up for the civil society forum. There will, however, be a major World Investment Forum on 20 to 22 April in Doha, and this is where one can expect high turnout – as there was two years ago when the second UNCTAD-sponsored World Investment Forum was held in Shanghai. One of the NGOs at the Geneva consultations, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, emphasized the importance of encouraging major investment in developing countries – but not what he called “predatory” investment. He urged new forms of mechanisms for FDI, with provisions for greater transparency and provisions for dispute settlement.
We note that the World Investment Forum itself is scheduled to have a roundtable on sovereign wealth funds, a high-level meeting on accounting and reporting, an Investment Promotion Conference and an International Investment Agreements Conference, as well as a World Leaders’ Investment Summit, an Investment Advisory Council and a Ministerial roundtable. See the latest agenda here. We think these deliberations on investment and finance will be a major feature of UNCTAD XIII. While the Geneva consultations elicited NGO interest in a number of other issues – rethinking macro-economic policies, rethinking development policies, promoting an employment-centered paradigm focused on growing domestic demand, green development, productive capacities in commodities – we sense a growing interest in the financial flows of FDI and how they might be regulated, as well as financial and monetary regulatory reform at the global level generally. The UNCTAD report on the civil society consultations can be found here, but we also have some excellent detailed reports from our interns available on request.
We had our first CMBD dialogue of the year on “Business in Development: Changing Concepts of Development and Linkages to the Private Sector” on Thursday, 23 February, marking the 5th Anniversary of the CMBD. We were honored to welcome a return visit with Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, who was our inaugural keynote speaker at the first CMBD event in February 2007, and has graciously shared his insights with us on frequent special occasions. We also benefited from a full programme of outstanding guests – Swedish Ambassador to the WTO Joakim Reiter, Director of the UNDP Geneva Office Cécile Molinier, WTO Deputy Director-General Valentine Rugwabiza, Director of the World Bank Group’s Geneva Office Selina Jackson and others from USAID, the German Mission, the Nigerian Mission, ITC, FAO and ILO. We were aided as well by a background briefing note on the Busan Partnership for Effective Development, business-inclusive initiatives at UNDP, the World Bank, and the WTO and in bilateral aid programmes. Participants discussed the challenges of bringing trade and development communities together, concentrating on the development-effectiveness of aid, multiple approaches to partnering with the private sector, the challenges of new donors, balancing markets with regulation, finding the right platform for business engagement in development, linking multinational enterprises with small and medium enterprises and smallholders, the role of government in facilitating distributive models, business as a key source of innovation, the success of ad hoc coalitions and learning how to shift from capacity-building to actual partnerships. We will pick up on these themes in future CMBD dialogues, including our planned visit to the OECD in April.
Boosted by the dialogue and debates that took place at the Busan in November and the G20 Seoul Summit Multi-Year Action Plan on Development, news items coming out of several international organizations this week focus on the multi-stakeholder approach to development and the role of business specifically. At the UN Population Fund Executive Board meeting last week, the agency’s Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin declared that the next three years are critical for the global development agenda. He remarked about how new partnerships, particularly with the private sector, through the “7 Billion Actions” campaign, help to raise awareness not only of the global challenges faced, but also with the interconnectivity of all sectors and institutions, public and private. He remarked that it is “clear that development models based on multi-lateral partnerships, which include several stakeholders from different sectors, are the way forward”. He offered as just one example a new partnership with Intel focused on improving skills of health workers, and made specific reference to the Busan high-level conference on aid effectiveness, the outcomes of which call for enhanced engagement by the private sector in the development process. See articles here and here.
A seminar at the International Fund for Agricultural Development a few weeks ago, organized by IFAD and the International Food Policy Research Institute, focused on “Measuring Impact, Maximizing Resources: A Strategy for Effective Development”, and here, too, another aspect of the renewed global attention to development is adding to the knowledge base. The key question of the seminar was “How can we make the best possible use of the resources we spend on development”? Answers and prognostics given included:
- identify the causal pathways between interventions and results
- conduct counter-factual analysis – what would have happened had a project not been undertaken – by considering the paths of control groups not involved in the project
- recognize the distinction between the outcomes and the impacts of a development project, with the impact evaluation designed at the beginning of a project, not the end
Projects that work, based on rigorous analysis of causation, objectives and results, are the ones to scale up and apply repeatedly. This micro-economic approach is giving new momentum to distinguishing the specific value of each intervention and building from that to the selection of which projects to scale up.
Focused on a more global level, the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability last week released its report entitled Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing, with 56 recommendations to “mainstream” sustainable development into economic policies. We reported on the impending release of this report in the CMBD News where we provide more detail about its specific recommendations, but it is worth highlighting the significance of this report here. Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact remarked that “The Panel’s work confirms our long-held belief that a lasting transformation of the global market requires a seismic shift in the way we look at the cost of externalities and the integration of long-term thinking into strategic planning”. He also emphasized the need for businesses to take a more pro-active role in addressing concerns of human rights, labour issues, environmental sustainability and corruption. See the Panel’s report here, and more about Georg Kell’s remarks here.
These dialogues add strength to the background materials that are being developed in support of the upcoming CMBD meeting on Business in Development: An Overview of the Changing Concepts of Development and Linkages to the Private Sector, to be held in Geneva on 23 February. We are looking forward to an interesting, in-depth yet informal discussion on the issue of heightened involvement by the private sector in the development process, with participants from a broad swath of international organizations, diplomatic missions and private sector interests. See more information here.
The Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness wrapped up in Busan, Korea, just over a month ago, in November 2011. The Forum, which has been meeting every three years since 2002, represents an initiative led by the OECD’s Development Aid Committee. It has very recently begun to shift towards mobilizing and facilitating multi-stakeholder engagement in the donor process. We are preparing an in-depth report on this Busan gathering because we see its potential for transformative partnerships and another 2012 turning point of change.
The Forum’s first meeting in Rome back in 2002 produced the Rome Declaration, a set of principles for aid effectiveness which emphasized that development must be delivered based on the priorities of the recipient countries. The 2005 meeting in Paris resulted in the Paris Declaration, which outlined five fundamental principles for making aid effective (i.e. ownership, alignment, harmonization, results and mutual accountability). In 2008, the third meeting coincided with the UNCTAD XII Accra Agenda for Action, taking the step to link donors with developing countries at the main quadrennial gathering of developing countries in the UN system. This year, UNCTAD XIII will convene in Doha on 21 to 26 April to update the plan of action for a “development-centred globalization” that includes the promotion of investment, trade, entrepreneurship and related development policies.
The Busan Forum in November is significant in shifting the focus from an emphasis on the traditional model of ‘donor countries’ to the new environment in which donors come from a wide range of sectors. The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation expands the traditional perception of the donor pool as being made up of governments, and thus more accurately reflects the current climate, where donors are made up not only of state actors but also charitable and private sector entities. The Busan Partnership commits all actors to work in a way that encourages collaboration and crucial cross-sectoral engagement in development issues. We think the UNCTAD XIII in April merits our scrutiny as we look for this.