BUSAN, 25 November 2011 - Development cooperation cannot wait. Too many people still face poverty, inequity and exclusion. We must pay particular attention to the plight of the most vulnerable women, men and children. The food, fuel, financial and economic crises, as well as the continuing challenge of climate change amplify existing inequalities and vulnerabilities. They threaten to reverse hard-won gains in many least developed countries and middle income countries – putting lives and livelihoods of millions of people at risk. We must not allow this to happen. We must also do more for those countries affected by conflict and fragility.
The internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and norms and standards defined at the UN are the globally shared framework for promoting development and addressing inequality and social exclusion. The effectiveness of development cooperation will be judged by its impact and results in advancing the nationally and internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, and norms and standards on human rights and gender equality. At the UN MDG Summit in 2010 and the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul in 2011, member states pledged to collectively advance and strengthen the global partnership for development, as the centrepiece of their cooperation in the years ahead.
The development cooperation architecture is rapidly changing. South-South-, triangular- and decentralized cooperation are growing in importance and making important contributions to the MDGs and sustainable development. Civil society organizations, philanthropic foundations and the private sector are making more financial resources and knowledge available and are exploring new aid modalities coupled with other sources of financing. These trends should be welcomed and supported within the global Financing for Development (FfD) process as a holistic approach to development financing around achieving sustainable, gender-sensitive and people-centred development. New players and aid modalities can make a critical contribution to development, where their efforts contribute to national development priorities and when there is coherence among the many different types of assistance providers and aid modalities used.
Appropriately, the focus of the debate is shifting from aid to broader development effectiveness principles. ODA remains a vital, and often catalytic, element to stimulate inclusive and productive growth and human development. The fundamental principles of aid effectiveness remain as relevant as ever. Effective aid rests on inclusive ownership of the country development process and capacity development of all development actors. It is also clear that development actions must be pro-poor, gender equitable and human rights-based. They should strengthen resilience to risks and shocks. Further improving the coherence between aid and other policies is crucial for development assistance to work, as underscored in the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development. Aid effectiveness does not equal development effectiveness but is an important contribution to it within overall development finance to support developing countries national plans and leadership of the process.
Aid should be allocated more efficiently and equitably to deliver development results for the poorest women, men and children. The impact of development assistance is greatest when it is allocated based on demand and need so that no country and sector gets left behind, and delivered in an accountable, transparent and timely manner. It should fund, strengthen and align to priorities of programme countries, including building productive capacities and addressing structural inequalities and needs.
In Busan, we should renew our commitment to the fundamental principles of aid effectiveness. Delivering more aid through budget support; using countries’ own systems; reducing policy conditionalities as much as possible; improving predictability and allocations; as well as enhancing concessionality and flexibility of aid are all critical for its effectiveness. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to development assistance. However, alignment with country-owned and country-led national strategies is crucial to ensure solid and lasting development results.
Partnerships between development assistance providers and programme countries need to be more balanced, horizontal, inclusive and focused on results. Two-way mechanisms for ensuring mutual accountability in development cooperation, based on mutual trust, functioning internal accountability systems on both sides, transparency and a focus on development results, can help rectify the imbalances between development assistance providers and programme countries. The mounting importance of Southern assistance providers in international development cooperation needs to be recognized in international processes on economic decision making.
Global partnerships to make aid effective should be strengthened at the Busan High Level Forum. Accountability mechanisms at the global level should support commitments on development cooperation and aid. The UN multi-stakeholder biennial Development Cooperation Forum has played a major role in advancing the debate on aid quantity and quality, policy coherence, mutual accountability and aid transparency. Post Busan, it can serve as the principal global multi-stakeholder forum to consider issues related to aid effectiveness and policy coherence in the delivery of development assistance.
At the country-level, the interventions of the UN development system are guided by principles established by UN member states to ensure their relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and coherence. Drawing on its strong country presence and its wide recognition as an impartial partner, the UN is committed to continue to offer effective support to programme countries in pursuing the MDGs. The UN system has embarked on a comprehensive reform to ensure internal coherence, transparency, accountability and jointly deliver on results, which will be further discussed at the Fourth High Level Intergovernmental Conference on Delivering as One in Uruguay, 2011.
The Busan High Level Forum and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 in Rio are the most important milestones on our way to 2015. They offer key opportunities to quicken the pace of progress to achieve the MDGs, which we cannot afford to miss. Busan provides a critical opportunity for Governments, civil society, the private sector and other groups to send a clear message that strengthened development cooperation is key to achieving sustainable development.
For more information, please contact: Rita Ann Wallace, UNICEF New York: Tel + 212-326-7586 email@example.com