London, 4-5 July 2011
Against the backdrop of historical political change in the Middle East and North Africa, institutions from the Arab Co-ordinating Group and the OECD Development Assistance Committee attended a high-level meeting in London to share their experiences and expertise on how best to support crucial transition processes in the region, including addressing urgent needs such as humanitarian assistance and liquidity constraints as well as more long-term efforts to build more representative, accountable institutions and to ensure that growth is more inclusive.
Participants also shared views on how to dynamise the aid reform agenda during the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which takes palce in late 2011 in Busan, South Korea.
The Arab Co-ordinating Group Institutions (ACGI) and the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) held a special High-Level Partnership Dialogue hosted by the Department for International Development (DFID) in London at Lancaster House on July 4 and 5. The event was also attended by key multilateral institutions and distinguished international experts. This community of donors gathered together to dialogue and partner against the backdrop of historic political change in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and in the run-up to the end-2011 Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea.
The current situation in the MENA region was discussed in depth. A number of experts from countries who have undergone political and economic transformation over the past 30 years shared insights regarding both the reform effort and the relevant assistance provided by external partners. The donors shared experiences and planning strategies with the aim of identifying the most helpful approaches and the most effective modalities, while drawing out sequencing issues and broader policy coherence concerns.
The DAC and ACGI members are strongly committed to providing support for these countries, and we shared with one another specific information regarding our ongoing and future development assistance plans and priorities for the region. Participants took note of the urgency of the situation facing these countries, which requires an immediate, flexible and robust response from the full international community. There was general agreement on the importance of responding to the costs of transition while also providing humanitarian assistance, emergency employment schemes, safety nets for vulnerable people and asset recovery. Support for future political, governance and economic reforms would be forthcoming in response to national leaders and stakeholders with a view to promoting more inclusive economic growth. The primacy of supporting local processes and solutions was highlighted. It was agreed that all donors should communicate frequently and co-ordinate their activities in the region.
We also discussed the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, recognising the opportunity to garner global support for improved coordination among traditional donors from around the world as well as new providers of assistance from emerging economies. The groups acknowledged that Busan might well be our last opportunity to revitalize our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and create a new partnership for development. It was agreed that there is a positive environment for a convergence of interests in support of more effective modalities to achieve development results among developed and developing partners and civil society organisations.
The meeting agreed to the following next steps in terms of building the partnership between the Arab donor community and the DAC:
In conclusion, the two donor groups emerged from this historic meeting with new perspectives and a renewed partnership for development in the Middle East and North Africa region and beyond. Together, our respective development assistance communities provide billions of dollars to developing nations each year. There is a shared commitment to development results and an understanding that developing country partners must establish strategies that fit their context. Alignment with these strategies will require improved communications among all donors and with these partners. Achievement of the MDGs is a common goal, and that objective can best be reached by working together.
This high-level meeting has helped the two communities to understand better their common objectives. This will lead to a deeper partnership on behalf of the people of the Middle East and North Africa region and on behalf of developing partners in other parts of the world. The Arab Coordinating Group Institutions and the member states of the OECD Development Assistance Committee are committed to consulting closely to ensure that they can more effectively carry out their common mission - helping people fulfil their human potential.