This year’s Global Forum on Development (GFD) brought together around 350 high-level officials from developed and developing countries, experts in academia and civil society, and the private sector. Participants hailed from a range of countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria and Viet Nam.
The GFD’s 25 speakers and panellists discussed topics around the central theme of “innovative approaches to poverty reduction, social cohesion and progress post-2015”. The programme, opened by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, featured a keynote speech by Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, and concluding remarks by Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning.
The GFD broke new ground as the first OECD Forum using social media to create real-time discussions among participants and speakers. Over the two days, 355 users submitted a total of 1 493 questions and comments, which were answered by the panellists and addressed during panel discussions. Participants were also able to engage in discussion in preparation for the Forum through a variety of web platforms, including blog posts and a comments section on the GFD website, and the Wikiprogress discussion around the theme “Reducing poverty is achievable”.
In wrapping up the Forum, Jon Lomøy, Director of the Development Co-operation Directorate, drew out four key messages: “We are moving from a narrative of misery to a narrative of opportunities,” said Mr Lomøy. “The development agenda is broadening to address the different dimensions of sustainability; we are witnessing the convergence of a bold, brave global vision on poverty with a new landscape in which countries are formulating their own strategies, priorities and timelines; and the collective capacity to measure progress is increasing.”
These messages were echoed by Ms Mohammed in her concluding remarks. She noted that the discourse around previous efforts to mobilise resources was focused on crisis and misery in the global South. She also emphasised that we need to turn around the way we look at certain challenges and see how they may be opportunities. While the GFD had concentrated on the social dimension of development, it is important to extend the discussion to include other dimensions of development – such as sustainable development and good governance – to help define the paradigm shift that comes with the post-2015 agenda.
In his concluding remarks, OECD Development Centre Director Mario Pezzini cited the challenge of balancing global and national agendas for development. More specifically, Mr Pezzini asked the following questions: since there is a lack of universal consensus, where do we start? How do we put together different actors across different levels? How can we give voice to think tanks, for example, throughout the process? What is the equilibrium between state and market?
Throughout the Forum, the importance of improving national statistical systems was noted. Former President Obasanjo stated, “Give me statistics” in his keynote address. Ms Mohamed noted that it was “unacceptable” that data is lacking, or has a three year lag. Martine Durand, OECD Chief Statistician, emphasised that we will need to think of how national statistical systems can be strengthened.
The new DAC Chair, Erik Solheim, presided over the annual DAC Senior Level Meeting (SLM), 3-4 April 2013. Directors of development agencies, multilateral organisations and partners from Brazil, China, Indonesia and South Africa had productive discussions on: development financing; the Global Partnership on Effective Development Co-operation; illicit financial flows; and green growth in developing countries.
SLM participants welcomed a roadmap for improving DAC measurement and monitoring of external development finance, in co-operation with a wide range of stakeholders. They also discussed the forthcoming report Measuring OECD Responses to Illicit Financial Flows, identifying examples that can help agencies work more effectively on this topic.
DAC Members also welcomed the Global Partnership on Effective Development Co-operation as a vehicle for implementing the Millennium Development Goals and helping to shape their post-2015 successor framework. On green growth, the discussions focused on a policy framework to help low income countries (LICs) design their own strategy, and on the enabling international environment to support the implementation of green growth policies – mainly through development financing for green infrastructures, opening markets for green products and services, and green technology transfer. This is part of the broader green growth agenda, as highlighted in the forthcoming OECD report Putting Green Growth at the Heart of Development.
Owen Barder, Head of the Centre for Global Development in London, presented the latest information from the multi-stakeholder Development Impact Bonds (DIBs) Working Group to SLM participants, encouraging them to consider the emerging evidence pointing to DIBs as an option for innovation in private-public sector co-operation for development.
To read the roadmap and the two issues papers, visit the SLM page: http://www.oecd.org/dac/slm2013.htm
The 2012 figures on official development assistance (ODA), released just prior to the opening of the DAC Senior Level Meeting,showed that development assistance fell by 4% in real terms in 2012, following a 2% fall in 2011. The continuing financial crisis and euro zone turmoil has had a direct impact on development aid, coupled with a noticeable shift in allocations away from the poorest countries in favour of middle-income countries.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría expressed concern over this trend. “It is worrying that budgetary duress in our member countries has led to a second successive fall in total aid, but I take heart from the fact that, in spite of the crisis, nine countries still managed to increase their aid. As we approach the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, I hope that the trend in aid away from the poorest countries will be reversed. This is essential if aid is to play its part in helping achieve the Goals.”
Bilateral aid to sub-Saharan Africa was USD 26.2 billion, representing a fall of 7.9 % in real terms compared to 2011. Aid to the African continent fell by 9.9%, to USD 28.9 billion, following the exceptional support lent to some countries in North Africa in 2011. Bilateral net ODA to the group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) also fell by -12.8% in real terms to about USD 26 billion.
A recent DAC Survey on Donors’ Forward Spending Plans projects a 9% real increase in country programmable aid (CPA) in 2013, mainly due to planned increases by some donors, and in soft loans from multilateral organisations. Total CPA is then expected to remain stable over 2014 to 2016.
A Twitter Chat with Erik Solheim immediately following the release provided for interaction with journalists, NGOs and individuals.
To access the full press release, click here.
 Country Programmable Aid (CPA), also known as “core” aid, is the portion of aid donors programme for individual countries, and over which partner countries could have a significant say. CPA is much closer than ODA to capturing the flows of aid that goes to the partner country, and has been proven in several studies to be a good proxy of aid recorded at country level.
On Tuesday 19 March the DAC hosted its 10th DAC Development Debate (DDD), looking at South-South Co-operation (SSC) – co-operation among economies of the global South – and how it differs from ODA. Although SSC is not new, it has undergone changes and increased in significance since it began decades ago with the movement of the non-aligned. SSC providers – such as India and Chile, whose views were presented in the debate – are increasingly important actors in development co-operation.
Dr Sachin Chaturvedi, Senior Fellow at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries in New Delhi, analysed the philosophy, context and rationale behind SSC. In this form of co-operation, he argued, both countries have responsibility for self-development; it is therefore fundamental that each country establish autonomous, domestic capacity for goal-setting, decision-making and implementation. Because the intent of SSC is to enable a country to progress on its own, knowledge and technology sharing have emerged as important mechanisms.
Dr Chaturvedi stressed that North-South Co-operation (NSC) and SSC are based on different values and motives. The concept of NSC originates from a commitment to altruism and is very much supply-driven, while SSC is rooted in mutual benefit and growth and is demand-driven. Furthermore, co-operation among the South is highly decentralised, less institutional, provided relatively quickly and generally free from conditionality. While NSC uses peer reviews and data compilations for monitoring and evaluating flows, SSC has no mechanisms in place beyond occasional data reports.
Carmen Dominguez, Deputy Permanent Representative of Chile to the OECD, described Chile’s circumstances – as a G77 and an OECD country – and position on SSC. She explained that Chile’s motivations for participating in SSC are economic development, regional stability and democracy. The main mechanism used by Chile is technical assistance on reforms, as other countries undergo sectoral reforms (for example, in the areas of education, gender equality, trade and investment) similar to those undergone by Chile.
As a country that has evolved from a recipient to a provider of aid, Chile’s development co-operation agency has experienced a major shift. The corresponding challenges, to which Chile is still adjusting, include retaining and retraining staff, accountability. In this latter regard, Ms Dominguez stressed the importance of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation as a forum for global co-operation.
The discussion that ensued focused on how to overcome the traditional North-South divide and make progress in constructing a global dialogue and governance approach (i.e. a “global compact”) that suits all. Common definitions must be found, bridges built, ideologies overcome, behaviours changed and co-operation redefined to raise the comfort level among countries from the South when engaging in dialogue with those from the North. Jon Lomøy, Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD), suggested that this could be achieved by placing a larger emphasis on common problems and common objectives.
Third global meeting of the International Dialogue
The Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) held its annual meetings from 9 to 11 April 2013. Over the 3 days, more than 70 participants from all parts of the globe participated in four different events: a special consultative session on the Busan Action Plan for Statistics, a board meeting, a seminar on “Meeting User Needs in a Changing Data Landscape” and a technical session on “Moving from NSDS (National Strategies for the Development of Statistics) design to NSDS implementation”. The meetings produced a collection of successful outcomes, including a mandate to establish a working group on Post-2015 engagement and a call for further involvement in country and regional activities. PARIS21 also received a mandate to pursue work on innovations related to new institutional frameworks – such as new forms of user-producer dialogues and public-private partnerships – and to pursue opportunities related to big and open data, and new tools for data collection.
To read the reports and view the presentations from the meetings, click here.
OECD Creditor Reporting System data now available in XML
Promoting DAC aid statistics
Björn Gillsäter appointed Head of the new MOPAN Secretariat
“Austerity push is hitting aid, says OECD”, Financial Times, 4 April 2013.
“Avec la crise, les pays riches aident moins”, Le Monde, 4 April 2013.
“Deustchland ist drittgröste Gebernation”, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 4 April 2013.
“Global aid drops as rich nations struggle”, International Regional Information Networks (IRIN), 4 April 2013.
“Aid from rich countries falls for second year in a row, says OECD”, The Guardian, 3 April 2013.
“Eurozone crisis and austerity take toll on aid to developing world”, The Guardian, 3 April 2013.
“OECD member development aid shrivels”, Financial Times, 3 April 2013.
“Aid giving by rich countries falls for a second year”, Reuters, 3 April 2013.
“Bruxelles demande aux Etats de l’UE de respecter leurs engagements”, AFP, 3 April 2013.
“Rich countries cut aid by 4% last year: OECD”, AFP, 3 April 2013.
“L’aide aux pays pauvres en forte baisse”, Libération, 3 April 2013.
“L’aide aux pays pauvres s’étiole”, Challenges, 3 April 2013.
“Rich countries cut aid by 4% last year: OECD”, France 24, 3 April 2013.
“Publication of the preliminary data on Official Development Assistance, 2012”, European Commission Press Releases, 3 April 2013.
“Donor aid plunges: Promises to support poor nations crumbling”, Oxfam International, 3 April 2013.
“Forte baisse de l’aide au développement : les promesses d’aide aux pays pauvres abandonnées”, Oxfam France, 3 April 2013.
“Publication des chiffres de l’aide au développement par l’OCDE : la France à la traîne, flou sur l’aide destinée au Mali”, Oxfam France, 3 April 2013.
“La France réinvite l’eau tiède dans la lute contre l’extrême pauvreté”, ONE, 3 April 2013.
Coverage of the 2013 OECD Global Forum on Development included:
“Are international conferences getting any better? A bit – thanks to some sparky new tech”, OXFAM - From Poverty to Power, 12 April 2013.
“Brics bank raises critical development questions, says OECD”, The Guardian, 9 April 2013.
“Development must tackle jobs and migration, says European thinktanks”, The Guardian, 9 April 2013.
“Global Forum on Development urges moving past aid in Africa”, Radio Netherlands 8 April 2013.
“Vietnam hailed for meeting development goals”, Vietnam Net, 8 April 2013.
“Vietnam – an example in poverty reduction”, Talk Vietnam, 6 April 2013.
“L’OCDE loue le Vietnam pour sa lute contre le pauvreté”, Vietnam, 6 April 2013.
“L’OCDE prépare l’après-2015”, Jeune Afrique, 5 April 2013.
“Getting past aid to develop”, Global Issues, 5 April 2013.
“International support key to MDG progress, says top UN official”, The Guardian, 5 April 2013.
“Will the bottom billion always be with us?”, OECD Insights, 17 March 2103.
For a full selection of articles on the release of the 2012 ODA figures and the GFD, see http://www.oecd.org/dac/thedacinthenews.htm.
Other blogs, videos and articles:
“No hay que conformarse con el PIB per cápita, sino que seguir aspirando a ser mejores”, Diario Financiero, interview with DAC Chair Erik Solheim, 23 April 2013.
“Innovative responses to fragility: The promise of modern technology”, OECD Insights, 22 April 2013.
“Somalia the yardstick in new deal for conflict-affected countries”, The Guardian, 19 April 2013.
“It’s time to confront Africa’s least endearing trait: conflict”, The Guardian, 18 April 2013.
“New Deal – real deal?”, Dan Smith’s blog, 18 April 2013.
“Global elite address conflict”, Chris Underwood’s Blog, 17 April 2013.
“Now, build peace”, OECD Insights, 17 April 2013.
“Guns, drugs and dollars: Getting global drivers of local violence on the post-2015 agenda”, FriEnt, April 2013.
“We must change tax system to ensure poor countries get fair share – OECD”, The Guardian, 5 April 2013.
“Emerging voices: Callan, Blak, and Thomas on the landscape of emerging aid donors”, Council on Foreign Relations, 2 April 2013.
“Are developed nations falling short on their climate finance commitments?”, WRI Insights, 30 March 2013.
OECD and Post 2015 Reflections: The OECD played a pivotal role in defining the Millennium Development Goals. With two years to go until their due date, the OECD is increasing its efforts to support the achievement of the MDGs, at the same as it is time looking at ways its expertise can support the UN in developing a new agenda and framework for post-2015. The OECD and Post-2015 Reflections series will highlight eleven areas of particular relevance. The first paper in this series focuses on the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) for Development and its potential contribution to developing a universal measure of educational success using.
Tax and development: Aid modalities for strengthening tax systems provides practical guidance for policy makers and practitioners based on the results of an extensive literature review, a survey of aid agency officials and six country case studies (Ghana, Guatemala, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, and Tanzania). It examines the aid instruments that donors use to assist developing countries in strengthening their tax systems, including general and sector budget support, basket financing, stand-alone bilateral aid and funding South-South organisations.
“The challenges of supporting effective security and justice development programming”: This working paper builds on the World Bank‘s 2011 World Development Report and the OECD‘s 2011 Policy Guidance on Supporting Statebuilding in Situations of Conflict and Fragility. It focuses on four major challenges to effective programming: i) making the concept of ownership more realistic and political; ii) understanding and incorporating local context into programming; iii) enhancing risk management, including by strengthening monitoring; and iv) making security and justice programming more practical and ensuring adequate international capacity.
Senior Policy Analyst – Peer Reviews (Reference number 08670): The Review, Evaluation and Engagement Division (REED) is looking for a Senior Policy Analyst, with experience in bilateral aid programmes, to take a lead role in the preparation of at least two of the five Peer Reviews delivered annually by the REED. The selected candidate will also contribute to the peer review learning process, methodology development and to key reports such as the annual Development Co-operation Report. S/he will report directly to the Head of the Review, Evaluation and Engagement Division.
Senior Programme Co-ordinator (Reference number 08652): We are looking for a dynamic Senior Programme Co-ordinator to join the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21 – http://www.paris21.org/). The successful candidate will contribute to the implementation of the Busan Action Plan for Statistics (http://www.paris21.org/busan-action-plan) and the related PARIS21 work programme.
Regional Programme Co-ordinators (Reference number 08649): We are looking for dynamic Regional Programme Co-ordinators to join the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21 – http://www.paris21.org/) and to strengthen on-going country and regional activities in several regions, including, as a priority, Africa and Asia. The successful candidates will contribute to the implementation of the Busan Action Plan for Statistics (http://www.paris21.org/busan-action-plan) and the related PARIS21 work programme.