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Steering Committee Kicks Off Preparations for the 2019 Senior-Level Meeting

6. Dezember 2018 - 17:34

On 30 November, the Global Partnership’s multi-stakeholder Steering Committee met in New York to assess progress in implementing the GPEDC’s 2017-2018 programme of work and to kick-off substantive preparations for the upcoming Senior-Level Meeting (SLM) in July 2019, scheduled in the margins of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

At this 16th meeting of the Steering Committee, members agreed on a shared vision for a SLM that will highlight the critical value of effectiveness, and the relevance of the effectiveness principles, in achieving the 2030 Agenda. The SLM will aim to review the current state of effectiveness, drawing on data and experiences from the country level, revitalise the GPEDC’s voluntary network, and forge new coalitions around emerging and ‘frontier’ effectiveness issues.

In his opening remarks, the representative of the Ugandan Co-Chair, HE Mr Philip Odida, agreed, stating that ‘having the 2019 SLM in the margins of the HLPF will help highlight the critical links between effectiveness and the Sustainable Development Goals.’  Ms Marion Barthelemy from UNDESA in her briefing on the upcoming HLPF also highlighted GPEDC as a key player that can contribute to the global goals and the Financing for Development follow-up process.

The meeting kicked off the piloting of a 4th Co-Chair (in addition to Bangladesh, Germany and Uganda), representing the voice of the non-executive Steering Committee members, with Mr Vitalice Meja from the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness acting as a Consultative Co-Chair through the 2019 SLM. Members agreed that adding a Co-Chair representing the non-executive Steering Committee members adds value to the GPEDC as it strengthens its multi-stakeholder nature and places all partners on a still more equal footing.

With the third monitoring round of the GPEDC underway – through which over 80 countries will report on progress in implementing effectiveness principles – the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss how the results will be used to drive country-level action and inform global dialogue. Members also heard updates on how the current monitoring framework is being adapted to different contexts, including fragile and conflict-affected situations, and to better address the distinct needs of countries engaged in South-South Co-operation.

The meeting also discussed how the Partnership’s work could contribute crucial evidence to the upcoming SLM and the 2019 High-Level Political Forum, including evidence from the 2018 monitoring round; ongoing pilots to increase the effectiveness of development co-operation at the country level; and the forthcoming Global Compendium of Good Practices; and the Knowledge-Sharing Platform. Moreover, Steering Committee members discussed and endorsed GPEDC’s upcoming work on the principles and guidelines for effective private sector engagement (PSE) in development co-operation which will be based on country-level evidence and inclusive consultations, including an online survey and a specialised policy dialogue in January in Paris.

The 23-member Steering Committee meets biannually to guide the work of the Global Partnership. It is comprised of representatives from various constituency groups, including partner countries, development partners, civil society, the private sector, philanthropy, local governments, multilateral organisations, parliamentarians, trade unions, the OECD Development Assistance Committee, and the UN Sustainable Development Group.

A summary of the event will be made available soon.

Watch why effectiveness is an important topic for the Senior-Level Meeting and the 2030 Agenda here.

From left to right: Co-Chair representatives from Uganda, Bangladesh, Germany with CPDE (as the newly-appointed 4th non-executive Co-Chair).

Kategorien: english

Countries Discuss Effectiveness Action Plans at the 2018 GPEDC Learning and Acceleration Programme

29. November 2018 - 5:48

On 12 November, 26 government representatives from several ministries including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs gathered in the Republic of Korea for the annual GPEDC Learning and Accelerating Programme (LAP), organised by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in co-operation with the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre. Other constituencies such as civil society organisations were also invited.

This year’s LAP provided a platform for peer-to-peer learning and skills-training on implementing the four principles of effective development co-operation. Participants shared common challenges and proven solutions to effectiveness hurdles, and discussed their experiences participating in the 2018 round of GPEDC monitoring. Based on key discussions from the trainings, the 26 participating government representatives prepared and presented country-specific effectiveness action plans.

This year’s program included a wide range of insightful training modules led by experts from UNDP, OECD, KOICA, Institute for Global Dialogue, Kyung Hee University, ALIARSE and Reality of Aid, generating conversation around how all stakeholders can work more effectively together.

During one such session, a LAP participant, Lyn Angelica D. Pano, emphasised the role of civic engagement in shaping development co-operation policies, commenting that ‘all knowledge comes from the people and the community, hence all of our work should match the needs of the people…we try to empower the people, so that they can exercise their right in shaping development sectors and policies’.

In another session – a simulation activity where multiple actors held a meeting in a post-conflict scenario – a participant from Pakistan emphasised the importance of trust among stakeholders, concluding that the activity highlighted ‘the difficulty of bringing together the different strands of work between humanitarian assistance, development and peace’.

The LAP was created to meet countries’ demand for training in implementation of effective development co-operation. This year marks the fourth LAP, with other programmes held in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Kategorien: english

A Specialised Policy Dialogue on Private Sector Engagement through Development Co-operation

23. November 2018 - 17:32

Using development co-operation resources to engage the private sector in reaching the SDGs, and achieving the 2030 Agenda, is a global priority. To this end, development partners are establishing new financing instruments, and adapting their policies and approaches to create incentives and manage risks for effectively partnering with the private sector in development co-operation. As governments, civil society and the diverse private sector seize new opportunities to work together, there is also a need to ensure that public resources are used effectively to attract inclusive business solutions that generate shared value for business and society, including for those furthest behind.

The Specialised Policy Dialogue of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) will identify practical steps to accelerate progress towards more effective private sector engagement (PSE) through development co-operation. It brings businesses and investors together with senior policy makers and practitioners from governments, civil society, trade unions, parliaments and international organisations for a frank and open dialogue. The primary objective is to foster a common understanding of the practical challenges and opportunities faced when implementing PSE projects at the country level. The dialogue builds on emerging issue areas from country case studies covering over 900 PSE projects and from country and global level consultations, including an online survey. With this, the GPEDC aims to complement efforts by others on mobilising private finance for the SDGs by devising principles and guidelines for effective PSE through development co-operation, in line with the existing principles of effective development co-operation.

The Global Partnership will also host a closed meeting of its Business Leaders Caucus and a half-day learning workshop on private sector engagement in South-South and Triangular Co-operation (both in parallel on 16 January). This series of events will take place as part of the OECD Week on Private Finance for Sustainable Development,

Please register online to the GPEDC events as soon as possible. Space is very limited! Deadline for registration is 19 December 2018. Please follow these instructions for your registration.

More information on individual events:

Kategorien: english

The Importance of Nuanced, Policy-Relevant Development Research

9. November 2018 - 17:33

An open letter written a few months ago by fifteen development experts fell back on asking the same, age-old questions around international development policy. Should we focus on big problems like climate change or micro-projects that have easily measurable results? I pointed out at the time, as did others, that this framing assumes an either/or choice that can often be found in development debates, and ignores important nuance and complementarities.

Unfortunately, development-oriented research often asks questions framed around similar false dichotomies. Should donors give cash transfers, rather than project aid? Are multilateral institutions more efficient than bilateral donors? Should donors focus on building infrastructure or meeting immediate needs? Should we measure results by short-term impact or long-term growth? What works better, private sector finance or public-private partnerships? The real answer, almost always, is it depends.

Despite the continuation of oversimplified rhetoric, an encouraging trend in development research is moving beyond the easy questions and searching for nuance in the answers. In an impressive Afghanistan-based study, Jason Lyall, Yang-Yang Zhou and Kosuke Imai show that the combination of one-time unconditional cash transfers and training programs increases support for the Afghan government in the medium-term more than either program alone. Such results would be missed by a study that simply compared the effectiveness of cash transfers to that of other programs, without looking for combined effects.

Christopher Blattman, Nathan Fiala and Sebastian Martinez find that the impact of small cash grants in one Uganda program look less impressive nine years out than when initially studied four years after it began. Similar declining impacts were found by a team of researchers studying latrine use in India: five years following a program that provided education and subsidies for latrine building, households were more likely than a control group to use latrines; by ten years this difference was not discernible. In each case there were short-term effects which had measurable impacts, suggesting positive value even if it was not sustained over the long-term. Also in both cases, the long-term declines would have been missed had researchers stopped inquiry after the first sets of results.

These studies stand out as examples of the way forward for development research that can have policy impact. They are coming at an important time. Aid is at a crossroads. The patterns of aid allocation from traditional donors have changed significantly in recent years, suggesting that their motivations and desired goals are evolving. Established institutions like the World Bank face the need to reform or become less relevant. Newer institutions – like the Global Fund and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – provide different approaches to assistance and opportunities for private funders to participate, but may also compete with traditional development institutions for funds from bilateral donors. The rise of China as a significant donor, and its different approach to aid giving, has raised questions about the role of conditionality and China’s approach to debt sustainability in recipient countries.

The evolution of foreign aid raises new questions and presents opportunities for development researchers to make important contributions studying aid processes and effectiveness. As scholars working on development look forward, they can be guided by recent studies that do not simply ask what works, but when and why and for how long.

Future research should avoid easy generalizations and artificial either-or framing of questions. To be effective, scholars must look for complementarities as well as tradeoffs. They can examine interlinkages between bilateral and multilateral approaches, short-term needs and long-term goals, official aid and private assistance, public goods and private benefits, unconditional cash and more traditional programmatic approaches. Researchers can study the benefits and drawbacks of new institutional structures that combine state and private funding. They can determine the circumstances under which Chinese aid and investment serves as a complement or substitute for aid from other donors. They can assess the role of non-governmental organisations under various conditions.

The possible intersections in development are numerous and exciting. By looking for nuance, researchers can avoid the tired clichés and produce development research of practical importance.

Sarah Bermeo is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, faculty affiliate of the Duke Center for International Development, and author of ‘Targeted Development: Industrialized Country Strategy in a Globalizing World’ (Oxford, 2018).

Kategorien: english

A Global Partnership Survey on Emerging Issues: Private Sector Engagement through Development Co-operation

8. November 2018 - 19:48

Click here to access the survey. The short survey will run till Friday, 7 December.

The diverse private sector is a development actor in its own right – creating jobs, providing services and harnessing innovative solutions with an impact on the overall well-being of our populations. The scope and ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs have called for the private sector to apply this potential even more towards solving today’s most pressing development challenges. The ambition is to create shared value – development impact alongside profits for businesses.

In this context, development partners are deploying a growing amount of international public resources to the private sector through an increasingly diverse set of tools, de-risking mechanisms and financing instruments. Harnessing and scaling the opportunities presented by private sector engagement (PSE) through development co-operation can help to fast-track attainment of the SDGs. This, however, requires ensuring the effective use of public resources and addressing underlying challenges and concerns that have been raised by different stakeholders.

Through this survey, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) – a multi-stakeholder platform committed to improving the effectiveness of all types of development co-operation – aims to get feedback from governments, civil society, trade unions, the private sector, academia and others to better understand the opportunities, challenges, concerns and expectations by different stakeholders related to private sector engagement through development co-operation, as well as to collect good and bad practice examples.

Based on evidence from over 900 PSE projects in four case study coyntries (Bangladesh, Egypt, El Salvador, and Uganda), three issue areas have emerged as nodal points and enablers to enhance the effectiveness of private sector projects, mobilised through development co-operation, at the country level.

For more information on the three mutually reinforcing issue areas, and the underlying research, we invite you to look at the issues paper ‘Effective Private Sector Engagement through Development Co-operation’.

We want to hear from you: Which issues do you attach greatest importance to? What actions do you expect from others to enhance the effectiveness of PSE through development co-operation? Are there any issues missing? Do you know of any good or bad practice examples that should be showcased to help build trust and ensure mutual learning?

The results of the survey will illustrate what priorities and expectations different actors have for enhancing the effective use of public resources for private sector engagement to reach the SDGs. It will help to shape principles and guidelines for effective PSE through development co-operation, to be presented at the 2019 GPEDC Senior Level Meeting.

Beyond this survey, you are invited to continue to participate in this debate. Please indicate your interest in participating in the Specialised Policy Dialogue on PSE on 16-17 January 2019 in Paris here. Further consultation on emerging principles and guidelines will be conducted over the Spring. Your contribution will be important for shaping even better public-private solutions to the sustainable development challenges, rooted in shared value, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability.

Kategorien: english

El Salvador Explores More Effective Engagement of the Private Sector in Development Co-operation

7. November 2018 - 16:26

On 18 October, more than 70 participants from national and sub-national government, development partners, the private sector, foundations, civil society and the national parliament met in San Salvador to discuss the findings and policy recommendations of the Global Partnership’s draft case study on effectively engaging the private sector through development co-operation in El Salvador. Apart from these domestic stakeholders, a small number of government representatives from neighbouring countries also attended the workshop to share their national experiences on effective engagement of the private sector.

The El Salvador case study, one of four currently being finalized by the GPEDC in partnership with national governments (in addition to), offers new insights on how development partners support private sector engagement at country level in practical terms, and discusses key concerns and effectiveness challenges that different stakeholders experience. In addition to discussing the study’s key findings, the workshop also considered how its recommendations could be refined and implemented.

HE Mr Carlos Castaneda stated that El Salvador has taken ‘leadership in terms of effectiveness and has launched a series of strategic actions to advance the achievement of the effectiveness principles’.

HE Mr Bernd Finke, the German Ambassador to El Salvador, emphasized the need to strive for a ‘triple-win situation’ in which private sector engagement serves the state’s development policy, the private sector itself, and above all, the people whose living conditions need to be improved. He further stated that this requires ‘an honest and transparent dialogue – both about the challenges and possibilities and about the expectations and responsibilities of all parties’.

Among the study’s key findings was the need to strengthen an effective and inclusive multi-stakeholder public-private dialogue across all sectors at the national level, increase attention for effective private sector engagement at the sub-regional level in the communities, and further engage micro, small and medium-sized companies that make up the large majority of the private sector in the country.

Findings from the study and workshop will feed into the Global Partnership’s workstream on private sector engagement and the ongoing inclusive consultations around the development of principles and guidelines for effective engagement of the private sector in development co-operation.

El Salvador has worked closely with the Global Partnership on several key initiatives. The country is one of nine where the implementation of effectiveness is being piloted at the country level. El Salvador has also actively monitored its progress on implementing the effectiveness principles by participating in the GPEDC’s 2016 as well as the current 2018 monitoring round. El Salvador is also an active member of the GPEDC’s key governing body – the Steering Committee, which meets next in late November 2018.

Click here to read the official press release by the Government of El Salvador and here for more information (in Spanish) on the GPEDC’s work on effective private sector engagement through development co-operation.

Kategorien: english

Lao PDR Then & Now: Implementing Partnership Mechanisms Since the 2006 Vientiane Declaration

5. Oktober 2018 - 20:51

Ensuring Least Developed Country graduation, pursuing un-met MDGs and SDGs, and achieving better development results, are all high on Lao PDR’s development agenda. Working alongside development partners and other stakeholders such as the private sector, civil society, academia and others to meet these objectives is also a key priority for the country since 2006.

In 2006, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and 22 development partners signed the ‘Vientiane Declaration on Aid Effectiveness’ at the 9th High-Level Round Table Meeting [1] in an attempt to localize the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The document lays down the foundations and principles of aid coordination, giving way to a new partnership in 2015 at the 12th High-Level Forum called the Vientiane Declaration on Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation’.

The Declaration, signed by the Government and more than 30 development partners after the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation’s first high-level meeting in 2014, was a signal to renew commitments to effective co-operation principles and work towards the global 2030 Agenda. It reflected lessons learnt from the previous partnership mechanism (2006 Declaration) and added the importance of working with emerging donors, the private sector, civil society and Southern partners. Most importantly, it stressed a more diverse and equal partnership, over bilateral donor-recipient type of approaches, a core principle of effective development co-operation. The Declaration also aligned strongly with elements of the SDG 16 on building peaceful and inclusive societies and with SDG 17 on partnerships.

The Declaration as well as the design and implementation of subsequent national development plans and processes, such as 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP 2016-2020),  10-year Socio-Economic Development Strategy (2016-2025) and the National Vision 2030, form a broad development framework to guide an inclusive dialogue mechanism called the Round Table Process. This structured partnership mechanism along with Laos’ 10 Sector Working Groups have greatly contributed to development effectiveness.  The setting allows government and partners, such as traditional and South-South co-operation development partners, civil society and the private sector, academia and others to engage in direct dialogue and come to a common understanding on key policy priorities and programmes. Moreover, it promotes greater national ownership, partners’ alignment with national priorities/goals and better harmonization for development among various partners.

Adhering to the principles of inclusive partnership, Lao PDR’s 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) was prepared with the participation of all government ministries, provincial authorities, and citizens across the country. Consultations were also extended to donor and developing countries, UN agencies, business and civil society organizations working to lay the foundations for action in implementing the 8th Plan. The plan emphasized the need for ‘actively widening international co-operation with ownership in various forms oriented towards benefit for all, enhancing favorable conditions for regional and international integration’. To this end, the common objectives of participating partners included poverty reduction, graduation from Least Developed Country status and achievement of the 2030 Agenda – ultimately, to improve the lives of the people in Lao PDR.

To measure progress against the plan, the Government also developed a comprehensive NSEDP monitoring and evaluation framework incorporating the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and relevant SDGs. Currently, around 60 percent of the SDG indicators are integrated into this M&E framework.

Having participated in the Global Partnership’s 2016 monitoring round and now the 2018 round, Lao PDR has also been actively working to monitor its progress against achieving effective development co-operation at the country level, directly measuring progress on SDG 5 and 17.

Additionally, Lao PDR has also engaged in evidence gathering and analysis to assess its development financing situation. The country has recently completed a Development Finance Assessment (DFA) which has been instrumental in providing recommendations to the government on the sources of development finance available and how to strengthen institutions and policies in addressing some of the financing challenges to achieving sustainable development. For example, the 2018 DFA, outlined potential challenges in maintaining levels of investment as Lao PDR’s graduation from LDC Status may mean receiving different forms of official development assistance.

From the Vientiane Declaration and High-Level Meetings to the NSEDP, DFA and Global Partnership monitoring process, these partnership exercises highlight Laos’ ongoing commitment towards effective delivery of development and in achieving Laos’ 2025 national and 2030 global goals.

[1] A national development co-operation forum chaired by the Government and co-chaired by the UNDP

Kategorien: english

The Business Leaders Caucus: GPEDC Launches Initiative to Enhance Private Sector Engagement

3. Oktober 2018 - 17:03

On 20 September, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) formally launched  its Business Leaders Caucus (BLC). The BLC is a senior-level advisory group that will provide strategic advice and policy guidance to the GPEDC on how the development co-operation community can more effectively work with the private sector for better country-level results.

The private sector – a vital driver of growth in its own right – increasingly perceives sustainability as a long-term business opportunity and engages more and more in a new generation of partnerships for sustainable development. With the SDGs requiring support from governments, civil society and private sector alike, multinational corporations, domestic firms, cooperatives, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises are all in the spotlight to help deliver both development results and business profit.

During its first meeting on 20 September, the BLC discussed three key issue areas emerging from country-level analytical work conducted by the GPEDC:

  • unleashing the comparative advantages of development co-operation,
  • making private sector engagement (PSE) work in country-level programmes, and
  • achieving sustainable results, impact and accountability in PSE projects.

The group also examined how existing business practices, such as impact investments, cooperatives and other purpose-driven businesses, already focus on delivering development results while generating financial profits.

Going forward, the BLC will help the GPEDC and its constituencies fine-tune these issue areas and shape inclusive policy guidelines for effective private sector engagement through development co-operation. The group will meet again in October in the margins of the G20 Compact with Africa, which will take place in Berlin, Germany.

The BLC is composed of 12 high-caliber business leaders from multi-national companies, large domestic firms and micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from various regions and fields including in technology, energy and the financial sector. BLC members were nominated by members of the GPEDC’s multi-stakeholder Steering Committee, with a view to achieving balance across regions, gender and business typology.

In addition to the members below, the BLC includes two additional associated members, Ms Paola Simonetti of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Mr Andrew Wilson from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), who represent trade unions and the private sector respectively on the GPEDC’s Steering Committee.

Members of the BLC include:

Ms Jasandra Nyker (BioTherm Energy)
Ms Carole Kariuki (Kenya Private Sector Alliance)

Ms Alegria Limjoco (Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Francorp Philippines)
HE Mr Saber Chowdhury (Member of Parliament, Bangladesh)
Ms Helen Hai (Made in Africa Initiative)

Mr Thomas Duveau (Mobisol GmbH)
Mr Iñígo Albizuri (Mondragon Co-operative Enterprise)
Ms Christiane Laibach (KFW DEG, Germany)

North America:
Ms Janet Longmore (Digital Opportunity Trust)
Mr John Simon (Total Impact Capital)

Kategorien: english

Reinvigorating Effectiveness for the 2030 Agenda: Gearing Up for a 2019 Senior-Level Meeting

2. Oktober 2018 - 23:12

On 11-12 September, over 190 governments and development partners from 80+ countries gathered in Paris for a Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) event entitled Reinvigorating Effectiveness for the 2030 Agenda.

Alex Thier, Executive Director of the Overseas Development Institute, kickstarted the event, with representatives from governments, civil society, the private sector, trade unions, think tanks, parliaments and more, with a keynote address asserting that – in the SDG era – “the effectiveness agenda is more important than ever”.

Noel Gonzalez, Director-General for Planning from the Mexican International Development Cooperation Ministry saw the meeting, and the GPEDC as a whole, as “an opportunity for the development community to learn from each other, inspire each other and see how we can fulfill our global responsibility together”. Janet Longmore, CEO of the Digital Opportunity Trust, meanwhile, reflecting after the event, described the critical role of the private sector in extending “local purpose and responsibility from ‘down-the-street’ to a global perspective within the SDG framework”.

By the end of the two-day workshop, three key messages came out of the discussions:

1. Effectiveness is and should be instilled in national policies and practices.

 There was a clear consensus that while the SDGs capture the international community’s global commitment and ambition, they will be achieved at country level – through collective efforts under national leadership.

At the meeting, representatives from over 50 partner countries presented clear examples of how, with the third monitoring round on-going, they are forging ahead with effectiveness at country level, instilling the effectiveness principles into national policies and practices. Rwanda shared how they use the Global Partnership monitoring exercise to strengthen national coordination mechanisms and hold inclusive dialogue on development co-operation. Cambodia demonstrated how they have institutionalized global monitoring indicators into national systems to capture and track all development resources in the country, while Costa Rica spoke about its new national development strategy that will provide a framework for effective development partnerships.

2. The effectiveness agenda must adapt to different contexts and types of co-operation.

With an increasingly challenging political climate for multilateralism and effectiveness, to stay relevant and ensure maximum impact, the agenda has to adapt. This includes exploring new financing modalities beyond traditional approaches, including South-South Co-operation and private sector engagement, and refining monitoring efforts to be increasingly relevant in fragile and conflict-affected situations, as well as middle-income contexts.

3. The GPEDC’s comparative advantage stems from its multi-stakeholder nature, and lessons learnt from the country level.

Participants emphasized that the greatest strength of the GPEDC is its ability to bring all actors together on equal footing and ‘under one tent’. As one participant put it, “the GPEDC is part of the ‘magic triangle’ of development”: on the one side the common objectives embodied by the SDGs – the “what” we want to achieve: on another, the financing required for development – “how we will fund our efforts”; and the third: the effectiveness of development co-operation – “how we will work together” to achieve the greatest impact. Participants agreed that the GPEDC is a critical vehicle for advancing and supporting the implementation of political commitments for more effective development co-operation.

The Paris event has helped set the course for the GPEDC’s upcoming Senior-Level Meeting in July 2019, set to take place in the margins of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum.

Read the full event summary or access all event-related materials here.

Kategorien: english

What is the Future of the ‘Development Effectiveness’ Agenda in Today’s Shaky World?

24. September 2018 - 22:06

This week, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation finished a two-day event in Paris to “Reinvigorate Effectiveness for the 2030 Agenda“. After much discussion and deliberation, here are my top four takeaways from the event:

(1) “Stronger together”

The presence of 80+ countries and a diversity of development agencies and constituencies confirms the good health of the Global Partnership. It was also a call to strengthen its role as an open platform that facilitates cross-regional learning and (soft but multi-stakeholder & action-oriented) accountability.

(2) “Ownership, ownership, ownership”

If there was one key message that seemed to transpire from each session, it was the need to bring back to the spotlight the principle of country ownership. In today’s world, with development agencies and partner countries both hard-pressed to show short-term tangible results at home as they deal with instability and external shocks, the ownership principle has somehow weakened. The level of trust needed for effective development and co-operation has become a rare commodity.

Rebuilding trust will require changing practices (even if through trial-and-error) that allow transferring leadership back from development agencies to partner governments, while those governments continue strengthening country institutions and opening them up to the whole of society, including civil society, the private sector, trade unions, and others. The cost of inaction is greater instability.

(3) “Evolving is a need”

As growing instability shakes up economies and political systems around the world, we need to continue reinterpreting and sharpening our tools to monitor effectiveness, which in turn would provide useful evidence to guide our countries’ and organizational strategies and practices.

Paris monitoring (2005) was very focused on a few concrete areas and some still miss it, but it was pretty much centered around efficiency issues affecting donor-government relationships. Busan monitoring (2011) expanded the scope to address in full the issues of politics, inclusive power-sharing and accountability. The Busan monitoring, now firmly anchored in measuring the quality of the means of implementation of the SDGs, needs to continue evolving to be as useful as it can be, for all types of countries, and for all other development partners.

(3) “Show me the results”

2019 is going to be flooded with evidence and results to share throughout the Global Partnership and during the Partnership’s Senior-Level Meeting in July. This will come from a number of ongoing activities, including the results of the 2018 monitoring round, currently testing the health of “effectiveness” on the ground; from the learnings on how to improve effectiveness in fragile and conflict-afflicted contexts and in working with the private sector; and from nine country pilots experimenting ways to implement the effectiveness principles in practice, including one working on South-South co-operation effectiveness. All these learnings and other mapping exercises will be reflected in the Global Partnership’s Compendium of Good Practices and a knowledge-sharing platform, all to be discussed with senior policy-makers in New York in July.

(4) “Not ‘if’ but ‘how’”

On the point of ‘working with the private sector’, the conversation showed that our “development feet” have been inside the water for a while already, but we still need a better compass to swim into the open sea – maybe by listening to all the relevant constituencies that are necessary for good, pro-developmental public-private engagement.

As participants left the French capital, many talked in the corridors about how the passionate discussions brought them hope and a sense of direction. If reinvigorating the effectiveness agenda required this small, collective shake-up of the like-minded, it is pretty much welcomed.

Kategorien: english

Building Trust: How the Development Community Can Engage the Private Sector

11. September 2018 - 15:43

Blog originally posted in OECD Development Matters.

Fundamental to my organisation’s success in delivering local impact against several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been developing an ecosystem of global and local in-country partners. And critical to this ecosystem is private sector participation: Corporate partners bring a different lens on what we do, a welcome push for innovation, creative approaches and efficiencies, and a business-like approach and priority to sustainability. Through mutual trust, we are now co-designing new initiatives that lead to positive impact for development and businesses.

I am a strong advocate for engaging the private sector in effective development. The private sector is often a strong and effective contributor to local development in the countries, cities and towns in which its offices are located and where its employees live, generously supporting local services. The challenge now is to extend local purpose and responsibility from “down the street” to a global perspective within the SDG framework. I advocate for this on the Business Leaders’ Caucus of the Global Partnership.

The conditions are aligning for greater peer-to-peer engagement between the private sector and the local and international development community, encompassing government agencies, multilateral agencies, NGOs, social enterprises, foundations, executing agencies and donors. And I observe this growing alignment in several ways:

  • Development partners are reaching out to the private sector because they know that the SDGs cannot be achieved without multi-stakeholder collaboration and an important, perhaps dominant, role for the private sector.

The private sector focuses on skills, techniques, innovation, sustainability, efficiency, flexibility and speed of decision-making and execution – and yes, if the business case is right, financing. Virtually every gathering of development partners has a session on the private sector (yet limited private sector participation), and enlightened development partners are busy recruiting experts in creative finance and who know how to leverage corporate experience. Development partners are taking seriously the need to structure policies and programs that consider the interests of and pressures on business.

  • Encouraging shifts are also occurring within the corporate world.

Enlightened boards and CEOs are basing long-term strategies around a triple social, environmental and financial bottom line. Profit is being balanced with purpose; performance is measured and rewarded by both profit and purpose. Purpose is no longer the purview of arms-length corporate social responsibility (CSR) foundations, but integrated into the very values and behavior of organisations. The importance of the SDGs is recognised for creating new growth markets, and actively participating in international development facilitates an understanding of these markets and cultures, informs new products and services, provides access to tomorrow’s employees, shapes management and staff as global citizens, and builds brand goodwill. See, for example, the SDG Business Forum organised by the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) survey of business and the SDGs, and the growing literature on business and sustainable development. Consider too what the private sector is doing with a growing respect for purpose-led businesses. I applaud Larry Fink, Chairman of BlackRock, for his letter to CEOs calling for “A Sense of Purpose”. IBM encourages the Fortune 500 to assume a stronger role and responsibility for development, as it does through its Corporate Service Corps programme. A sea change seems to be occurring – customers will reward the companies with community purpose and abandon those without one.

However international development investments are not sidetracked to finance the private sector, but rather to incentivise and reduce risk for engaging the incremental capabilities, resources and comparative advantages of purpose-led private sector entities. We must learn to do this from the growing evidence of case studies on how to select wisely and build trust.

Global Partnership case studies in Bangladesh, Egypt, El Salvador and Uganda have shown, for example, that development partners could do more to make a better business case to attract the private sector to engage, and to better target marginalised populations, including in the informal sector. The studies revealed a range of good practices, in particular to support small business owners: Danone and Care, for example, work with small-scale breeders in Egypt to increase their knowledge and equip them with skills to increase production, as well as overall quality milk supply. The Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), a dialogue platform launched by some of the leading Chambers of Commerce in Bangladesh, has become a solid and inclusive voice in shaping policy in areas where growth is critical for realising the country’s development vision, from disaster risk management to social development. Another example are the Salvadorian Small Business Development Centres, one-stop shops where micro-enterprises and SMEs can find a wide range of services to support them launch or scale up their businesses. They provide easily accessible training, networking and engagement opportunities in partnership with many municipalities, and the support of universities and NGOs.

In our experience, two factors help forge trusted relationships with corporate partners. One, speaking the same language of markets, staff development and retention, and return on investment aligns values and builds a mutual case. Two, arriving with developed concepts and programme structures, an understanding of the gaps, and seeking incremental compatibility helps. In one case, a corporation had designed its programme, but needed local knowledge and “feet on the street” that we represented. In another case, we had the programme model and local knowledge, but needed technology and business advice. Our corporate partner knew that they could learn from how we adapted their technology in countries and cultures that they had not considered.

Informed by these examples and experiences, three strong and practical recommendations lay the groundwork for engagement and trust that development partners and corporate colleagues alike would welcome:

Be prepared; do the research: Building a shared understanding, and ultimately trust, for any new venture requires good research. Approaching the private sector is no different. Shift the lens from the development perspective to the private sector perspective. Learn the language of the business and its industrial sector. Websites, annual reports, speeches, and CSR reports are available to explore businesses with purpose, along with their boards and CEO leadership, strategic plans, recent performance, and shareholder expectations. If the “match” is not evident, move on.

The value proposition: Armed with a defined concept or programme design, development goals and impact, and research, develop a business proposition for engagement that integrates value not only for development against the SDGs, but also for the private sector organisation that speaks their language and aligns with their purpose. For example, this could be market knowledge in a particular country that could scale to the region, cultural insights that could influence creativity in product design or upskilling of employees. Be explicit about the assets and value that the development partner offers to reduce risk and ensure success – be it previous experience, proven expertise or funding.

Efficiency and effectiveness: If one factor can destabilise a peer-to-peer relationship with the private sector, it is the threat of bureaucracy. Be up front about decision-making and where decisions are made, by whom and at what pace. Be clear about reporting requirements, monitoring and evaluation frameworks. It is all part of the shared understanding and no surprises that build trust.

The evidence is unfolding of the incremental benefits that accrue by developing an ecosystem that includes peer-level private sector engagement. Guidelines must follow to harness the opportunities and offset any concerns, and I applaud the Global Partnership for its leadership in advancing such guidelines.

Learn more on this timely topic at the Global Partnership event ‘Reinvigorating Effectiveness for the 2030 Agenda’ in Paris on 11-12 September 2018.

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Balancing Scope with Accountability – A Challenge for Development Effectiveness

7. September 2018 - 16:25

Back in the early years of this century, a phrase started circulating which has since become one of those constant pieces of development jargon. Rather than just calling for more aid, campaigners and recipient governments started insisting that it be better aid as well.

‘More and better aid’ became one of the central planks of the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005. It was a recognition, in an era of criticism and reflection on the impact of aid spending, that not all aid works, and that some aid can do harm if spent unwisely.

In the same year, government representatives met in Paris. While campaigners banged drums, researchers, practitioners and bureaucrats got down to the complementary work of spelling out what ‘better aid’ would look like. What emerged was the ground-breaking Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Ground-breaking not only for its substance but, remarkably in hindsight, for the fact that donor governments actually submitted themselves to exacting standards on which they would be publicly held to account. This seldom happens. The drumming helped.

The next six years, were, perhaps, the heyday of the ‘aid effectiveness’ movement. There were, of course, many problems with Paris’ attempts to corral the complex reality of aid into a set of targets and indicators – everyone had their own bone to pick with them, from an over-focus on process to a lack of focus on politics and a failure to properly respond to changing contexts both nationally and internationally.

Nevertheless, the principles encapsulated in Paris became common currency and, crucially, the mechanisms set up to monitor them actually did their job reasonably well for a time, with donor governments altering policy based on feedback, facilitated by an impressive bureaucracy at the OECD. The setting up of multi-stakeholder mutual accountability committees in many recipient countries, and of aid effectiveness units within donor agencies, were among a number of important signs of progress.

That was then. Fast forward to 2018 (via major meetings in Accra, Busan, Mexico City and Nairobi, and hundreds of smaller meetings besides) and two main things have happened. First, the focus on better aid has become hardwired into the international development community. Perhaps the most telling demonstration of this is the number of impact evaluations now being carried out, many of a detailed, often randomised, nature. Before Paris these were few and far between – today they are par for the course.

And second, the language of aid effectiveness has evolved into a focus on ‘effective development co-operation’ or ‘development effectiveness’. This reflects the broadening out from an obsession with aid to an understanding that with all forms of finance, resources need to be harnessed to further global progress, whether public, private or philanthropic, both domestic and international.

I wrote a book (still available!) about the need to assess with more nuance the complex impacts of aid, and much of my writing since has been on the importance of transforming the development sector to better reflect a new twenty-first century global reality – so in many ways I am pleased with these two evolutions.

But there are some aspects of the ‘old-fashioned’ aid effectiveness work that appear to have been lost. As I walked out of the Busan conference centre in 2011, I asked an old-hand, someone who had helped draft the Paris Declaration, for his assessment of the meeting. His response was blunt and disappointed: ‘Paris is dead’. I thought at the time he was being a bit melodramatic, but I soon began to see his point. By expanding the scope of the effectiveness agenda, to cover more sectors, more themes, more geographies, it soon became impossible to maintain that process of holding the powerful (donors et al) to account for their spending decisions.

Sure, the Paris indicators were limited and flawed, but they were slowly pushing aid spending in the right direction. Advocate and recipients were able to use them to balance out the political and media pressures that so often determine aid spending. In modern bureaucracies, clear targets, backed up by data and evidence, have power.

And it is not only the process of Paris that has been diluted over time. The main substantial centre of the Paris analysis, in my view, was ownership – that annoying word that isn’t quite right but we know what it approximates to. It turns out that after all the research, we know less about what makes aid effective than we would like to – and debates continue. But one thing we do know, because the research and practice are as one on this issue, is that when recipients are involved in aid (from planning to implementation to evaluation), development interventions are far more likely to work.

But while ‘impact’, ‘effectiveness’ and ‘results’ are now at the heart of every keynote speech on aid and development, ‘ownership’ and ‘participation’ are no longer the buzzwords they once were when everyone was still reading Robert Chambers.

So, when we look at the development effectiveness landscape in 2018, we see some steps forward, some steps back. And these are the issues on which I will be grilling my panel at the Global Partnership on Effective Development Co-operation’s meeting in Paris in this coming week. Is the effectiveness agenda making real progress? Is the development community empowering the less powerful to hold the more powerful to account? How can we balance the need for evolution, to reflect a changing context with a steadfastness to evidence-based principles?

Jonathan Glennie is the Director of the Ipsos Sustainable Development Centre. He is also a writer and researcher on international development and co-operation. He is a visiting fellow at the International Development Institute at King’s College London, and has worked at the Overseas Development Institute, Save the Children UK and Christian Aid, among others.

Kategorien: english