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.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría at the launch of the Development Co-operation Report 2011.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría opened the launch event by congratulating the DAC on 50 years at the service of development co-operation. Looking to future development challenges, he stressed the need to adapt to the changing global development landscape,with its growing complexity of actors, methods and financial flows.
He informed participants that OECD Ministers have given new emphasis to development: at the 2011 Ministerial Council Meeting, they called for the elaboration of a new OECD Strategy on Development, designed to strengthen OECD support for international efforts to help partner countries find home-grown solutions.
DAC Chair J. Brian Atwood provided an overview of this special 50th anniversary edition of the DCR, introducing its authors and main themes. Reflecting on the DAC’s history, he stressed the DAC’s historic and continuing relevance, highlighting its intention to contribute to a post-2015 development framework. He noted that the Busan High-Level Forum will provide a landmark occasion to work towards a new global partnership and expressed his hope that Busan will also help sharpen the focus on results, and will catalyse political will in donor countries to fulfil commitments that have not yet been met.
Mr. Atwood introduced the panellists [names and titles] and proceeded to moderate the discussion on “The Future of Development Co-operation”.
Jean-Michel Severino described official development assistance (ODA) as a hydra, with multiple actors having multiple objectives and pursuing them through diverse instruments. The traditional concept of ODA, he emphasized, is “dead”, but modern conceptions of development co-operation remain important. The evolving global economic landscape is producing new forms of social safety nets and solidarity, rebalancing between the rich and poor.
Richard Manning stated his conviction that concessional finance will continue to be very important in to addressing global challenges. He provided a strong critique of the DAC’s conception of aid concessionality, which he referred to as a 1970s, “lowest common denominator” definition. He urged the OECD to align its definition of concessionality to modern interpretations, such as those used by the IMF, which represent truly concessional flows.
Mary-Anne Addo provided illustrations of the practical challenges faced by developing-country administrators in dealing with the growing complexity and lack of predictability of international development finance and cooperation.
Recalling the need to find a new framework for international development following the 2015 MDG deadline, the panellists appeared to share the view that the MDGs have been important, but have not fully encompassed all development challenges.
Jean-Michel Severino said that we don’t need to move beyond aid, but beyond aid dependency. Higher levels of aid dependency render it difficult for countries to take ownership of their own development strategies and programmes, and to have locally led discussions about priorities.
Richard Manning pointed out that 2015 is not far away and called for the UN Secretary General to begin setting up a framework for determining the post-2015 priorities. He felt that there is a need to make the new set of goals more comprehensive, including areas as diverse as empowerment or transport infrastructure. While there is a need for global goals with minimum standards, countries must set their own targets and timelines for reaching them; for this, it is essential global cooperation create an enabling environment. While some concessional flows will continue to be required, thinking ahead to 2030, he foresaw the end of the donor-recipient division.
Mary-Anne Addo agreed with the concept of global goals, minimum standards and country-specific targets. She expressed the hope that Busan will set the stage for just this kind of global agreement.
Development Co-operation Report 2011