The UNDCF 2012. The CSO final statement: support, concerns and expectations.

The following is the final draft of the statement the CSO delegates read in plenary at the end of the two day meeting.

United Development Cooperation Forum

New York, 5-6 July 2012

The CSO representatives partaking in the workings of the 2012 UNDCF would like to present the following positions.

1. While expressing deep concerns about diminished support from the donors for the agreed ODA global targets, we would like to reaffirm that UN DCF is the global forum where discussion and debate – both normative/technical – on development cooperation should take place.

2. Unlike other spaces where development cooperation is being discussed, the UN DCF is fully inclusive and multi-stakeholder, bringing together on equal footing all countries, different levels of national and local government, Parliamentarians, private sector and global civil society. Participation of CSOs is extremely important in light of the fact that the space for global civil society to influence global processes is shrinking. Furthermore, the DCF, as it is under the UN, sits within the normative framework of human rights, which are commitments made by all Member States.

3. DCF is a key space to monitor emerging and growing trends in development cooperation. For example, the recurring references in the global debate to the catalytic role of aid and the role of the private sector in development cooperation command continued attention to ensure that the realization of all IADG’s and international commitments on human rights remains the core objective of all development financial flows and of the comprehensive development cooperation agenda.

4. DCF has an important role to support and discuss Policy Coherence, namely coherence among development cooperation policies and between other macroeconomic policies and development cooperation objectives. For example, policies on trade, debt, FDI and taxation, as outlined in the Monterrey Consensus: all must be in line with international agreements on human and labor rights, decent work, anti-corruption and sustainable development.

5. In developing and improving upon the Global Partnership for Development Effectiveness, the DCF should continue to work on mutual accountability or “multiple” accountabilities as well as explore the interplay between different levels of accountability, namely global, national and domestic. It should link this work clearly to the UN Human Rights framework/existing HR accountability mechanisms.

6. We would like to submit the proposal that the DCF plan of activities to 2014 should include a) a High Level Symposium on gender equality, women’s rights and development cooperation and b) a High Level Symposium on social and economic inequality.

7. We would like to call on UNDESA to ensure that a rights based approach shapes all of DCF’s thematic work.

8. We are convinced that the UNDCF can play a pivotal role in shaping according to participatory and fully democratic principles the outcomes of Rio+20 as well as the process on the post-2015 development agenda. Going forward, these efforts must be squarely embedded in the normative framework of international human rights agreements, including the agreements from the UN conferences from Vienna Cairo, and Rome to Copenhagen and Beijing.

9. In our collective commitment to clarify global commitments and a new post-2015 development framework, we would like to take advantage of this distinguished audience to call for such processes to be truly democratic, inclusive and multi-stakeholder, with the full participation of CSOs and those from social movements.

10. Lastly, we call for governments/member states to fully fund the DCF plan of action and to reaffirm DCF’s capacity to deliver and perform meaningful outreach to all relevant constituencies, including LDCs and CSOs.

Thank you,

Organizations: ActionAid, Afrodad, Awid, Civicus, Eurodad, Ituc, Ldcs network, Reality of Aid Africa, Piango, Social Watch, Transparency International

Development effectiveness: Working Party good-bye, Global Partnership hello! Is it a turning point in development?

On June 28/29, the Working Party on aid effectiveness gathered in Paris for its last meeting to give way the new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). The GPEDC is now the global body to improve aid and development effectiveness, which should mean better aid policies and practices to eradicate poverty and generate sustainable growth. This is also about money as, according to donors and CSOs’ estimates, there is space to save from 10% to 30% through more effective aid.

The GPEDC is the most immediate and tangible legacy of the IV High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness that was held in Busan in December of last year. This week’s meeting delivered on its key priorities by endorsing the proposals on its mandate and governance, on a global monitoring system, on the “support function” that the OECD and UNDP will provide as well as a proposal on a new “common standard” for information dissemination (see welcomimg comment from Publish What you Fund http://bit.ly/LZhTqV ).

The founding documents were submitted to the delegates by the Post Busan Interim Group, namely the multiskaholder working group that was mandated to set the new Global Partnership in motion. Talaat Malek, the chairperson of the PBIG, proudly and fairly ended the two day meeting claiming the group delivered the expected results thanks to spirit of cooperation and compromise, which is scarcely available these days.

There are still some gaps to be filled though. In fact, the proposal for a new global monitoring framework needs still to be refined in its most technical parts, which will have to be agreed by the end of this year. Similarly, the “common standard” for information still requires some work and, more importantly will demand consistent commitments and efforts to be applied across the board and some countries, including from the G8 club, have flagged up in the plenary that assistance is required to adjust to the new system.

The leadership of the Global Partnership also poses immediate challenges. In fact, only one of the three co‑chairs has been nominated, Andrew Mitchell of DFID; the name of the co chairs for the partner countries and the emerging economies are still missing. In the case the steering committee, only all the seats for the donor countries have been filled. There will time till the end of July to fill these blank spaces as more time is required to bring together diverse ambitions and aspirations from different quarters, (For the list of nominees go to http://db.tt/nGe36Mfj) .

As the Working Party ended its operations, in the absence of a fully functioning Steering Committee, the gap is filled by the OECD and UNDP, united in the joint effort of providing a most required “support function”. They will have the immediate responsibility for taking care of the pending tasks as well as for receiving the names of the Steering Committee that are still missing.

Is the launch of the GPEDC a real turning point in the global development strategies? This has been one of the lingering questions since the conclusions of the Busan meeting and will remain unresolved still for some time . In fact, as many in WPEFF meeting noted, the real work starts now with the implementation of new framework at county level and it is still to be seen whether partner countries will be in a position to fully claim their leadership role in the development partnership as set out in the Busan agreement. In addition, emerging economies have still to say clear words on what they are willing to put on the table.

But there are at least two solid facts to reflect on already. Governments have realized their ambition to move into a leaner operational framework than the latest incarnations of the Working Party, which commanded regular plenary meetings throughout the year and a number of working groups and task teams in place. Donors pretended that it was too demanding a framework and agreed to go “global light”. They have been successful: the Working Party met this year only once in the hand-over meeting to a Global Partnership that will gather in plenary ministerial meetings only every 18/24 months. Over the past six months, multistakeholder discussions have been limited to a small post Busan group and the opportunities to hear multiple and diverse voices have diminished dramatically.

CSOs have observed this dynamic closely and highlighted this backward trends in their positions papers. BetterAid representatives in Paris staged and all-out effort to catch the attention of the country delegations: on the second day, they opted for a staying in the listening room; in plenary, the CSO delegates (Toni Tujan of Ibon and Mayra Moro of Awid) only read a statement (http://bit.ly/LqkUjh) to voice their disappointment at the lack of consideration for one fundamental issue: for the new Partnership to be truly multistakeholder, all actors should be treated equally. The litmus test was and still is the composition of the chairing group, which at the moment seems to be the prerogative of governments. The point was heard and someone implied that CSOs are withdrawing from the GPDEC, which required a second intervention in plenary to clarify that CSOs remain engaged and need now to go back to their constituencies to plan the next steps now. ldf