Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD-DAC)

Launch of the Development Co-operation Report 2011


Remarks by J. Brian Atwood, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, on the occasion of the launch of the Development Co-operation Report 2011: 50th Anniversary Edition.

Many 50 year anniversaries this year. Tribute to the leaders of that era. They believed in engagement. The institutions they created have stood the test of time.

We know that the OECD was a natural evolution from the Marshall Plan.

The Development Assistance Group was was likewise a natural evolution from the Point 4 Program announced by Pres. Truman during the inaugural address in 1949.

By 1960, several countries had developed a capacity to provide assistance. The first members of the DAC were: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, the UK, the US, the European Commission, Japan and the Netherlands.

I have researched this point and there is no evidence that the DAC was inspired by William Ledererer’s look “The Ugly American”, published in 1958.

Remember the story line, however. This look was based on a real American couple that lived in a village in Vietnam, adopted its customs and listened carefully to the people.

Other Americans may have been ugly in action or appearance, but this couple was an example in local “ownership”.

Perhaps we have come full circle!

The DAC was made part of the OECD in 1961, and it has been in the forefront of change ever since.
The authors of the Development Co-operation Report - from Hillary Clinton to Hernando de Soto to RK Pachauri TO Sadato Ogata - everyone of them has been an advocate for positive change in their time.
Here at OECD, Angel Gurría is pushing for change, for more engagement with the emerging economies. He wants to emphysise the "D" in "OECD".

Jim Wolfensohn, Helen Clark and Donald Kaberuka demonstrate the close partnership of the DAC with the World Bank, the UNDP and the African Development Bank, indeed with all the international institutions.
Michele Bachelet, the former President of Chile, now advocates for the empowerment of women as the new Under Secretary General of the UN Entity for Gender Equality.

Two panellists today, Richard Manning and Jean-Michel Severino look to the future of development co-operation.

This report is a celebration of our past, but is is more important for what is says about our future.
Here we stand on the threshold of the last of a series of Forums on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea.
We face serious global financial issues and budgetary pressures at home. It seems fashionable to talk about a world “beyond aid”.

Yet, we know that low-income nations will need our help for another generation or two.
The autors of this report do not believe we are “beyond aid”, but they do believe we are deeply into the era of development cooperation.

They do believe in innovation and they understand that, while the MDGs have served us well, they have not fully encompassed the development challenge.
Their messages are clear:

  • that human development and gender equality are essential
  • that results, planned for and measured by country systems are at the core of development progress;
  • that broader participation and coordination by civil society, the private sector and the new providers of assistance is badly needed; and that development must be more broadly defined to include all relevant policies and resources.

Those are our goals for Busan, but there is one more vital goal: we must create the intangible at Busan: “political will”.
You have been seen what happened since 2005. We have failed to fulfil our promise to implement the Paris Principles. Not because we challenge their merit – we know they are valid. We have failed to achieve them because the overall political framework within which we operate has not given development a high eough priority.

Today we are far from being “beyond aid”, But we are much closer to being “beyond dependency”.
The development countries, as Mary Addo will testify, are ready to take ownership of the process. We need to have the courage and the will to let them try.