Refugee costs: the EU member states will have to take their chances

EU_FlagNov 10th – Ecofin discussed how to manage refugee costs again today.  Minsters heard from the European Commission, which was asked to look into the matter in early Sept. There seems to be some kind of general agreement (http://bit.ly/1SfMRw4) that budget flexibility within the stability pact framework is possible as it is acknowledged the circumstances are exceptional. But, the actual finacial impact of the refugee costs will assessed on ad-hoc basis, by means of ex post analysis and on a 2014 base line; such decisions apply for 2015/2016. This approach may implications for those country that were already planning on fiscal expansion for next year: a more conservative attitudinal would be advisable lest they would face the risk of more of deficit procedures due to costs the Commission is not recognising eligible in an ex post assessment. ldf

The first GPEDC Steering Committee did not go on line: technical hiccup or political headache?

The first Steering Committee of Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (http://www.aideffectiveness.org/busanhlf4/) took place in London on Dec 5 and 6th: a long awaited moment as it was meant to give substance to the decisions made in Busan one year ago. Many key issues were on the agenda, including the state of art on the monitoring framework, with 5 indicators still to be consolidated, and the road map to the first ministerial meeting (end of 2013). On the meeting itself, it may be worth considering some apparent amenities about its proceedings.
Contrary to what happened at the most recent meetings of the Working Party and the Post Busan Interim Group (both now dissolved), this Steering Committee meeting was not webcasted (video recordings were released a few days later, http://vimeo.com/channels/gpedc). Webcasting has been instrumental in providing the post Busan discussions with very needed transparency credentials and it proved to be an amazingly effective way to bring constituencies behind their delegates and for practitioners to get first hand understating of the forces at play.

Technical reasons were invoked for this organizational hiccup and there is hope that the workings of the GPDEC will be fully accessible and transparent as from the next meeting. But, as development is becoming more than ever a highly politicized domain, one should take stock of the fact that multistakeholder interaction has been shirking. It is a matter of fact that GPDEC is offering at the moment less of space for face to face interaction between stakeholder: there are no clusters (Building Blocks are rather unsteady), no task teams and fewer meetings. Are we now moving to limited access and transparency. That’s why this is possibly a case of political headache. ldf

Le ONG italiane: dare sostanza alle dichiarazioni del mondo politico a favore della cooperazione, in occasione del Forum di Milano

Le piattaforme delle ONG di cooperazione alla conclusione del Forum della Cooperazione Internazionale lanciano un appello: “Dare sostanza al monito del Presidente Napolitano. Riportare la cooperazione internazionale allo sviluppo tra le priorità della politica nazionale”.

“Le organizzazioni rappresentate dall’AOI/CINI/LINK2007 si rivolgono al Governo, ai parlamentari e a tutte le forze politiche per dare seguito alle dichiarazioni a favore della cooperazione allo sviluppo che abbiamo ascoltato in questa due giorni di confronto a Milano.

Il sostegno che Napolitano e Monti hanno manifestato richiamando il fatto che la cooperazione allo sviluppo è “imperativo etico di solidarietà” e “critico investimento strategico per l’Italia” non può essere disperso e deve essere rapidamente tradotto in precisi atti di governo e del Parlamento.

E’ possibile e necessario dare attuazione alle disposizioni incluse nel Documento di Economia e Finanza, nel quale il Governo si impegna a riallineare le risorse per l’aiuto allo sviluppo agli standard internazionali. In questo senso, ci allarma il riferimento del Presidente Monti alle condizioni di bilancio. Se come è stato ribadito in occasione del Forum la cooperazione è priorità del Paese, il rilancio degli aiuti non può essere ancora rinviato, pena il rischio di vedere ulteriormente ridotta la credibilità del Paese nella lotta alla povertà e lo sviluppo sostenibile.

E’ possibile e necessario riformare il sistema della cooperazione per dare sostanza alle affermazioni condivise nel Forum che richiedono che la cooperazione internazionale ai fini dello sviluppo sia rappresentata in maniere forte e diretta nelle attività e decisioni di governo. Abbiamo bisogno di un sistema per la cooperazione all’altezza delle sfide del nuovo secolo.

La cooperazione si deve aprire a tutti gli attori che decidono di aderire a quei principi di difesa dei diritti umani e del rispetto delle priorità di sviluppo delle comunità dei Paesi con i quali collaboriamo in spirito di partenariato, come ribadito anche a livello internazionale. I soggetti pubblici e privati devono aderire a questi principi per realizzare una cooperazione internazionale allo sviluppo efficace e moderna.

Le nostre organizzazioni si impegnano a continuare il lavoro di promozione di una rinnovata cooperazione. I traguardi per i quali lavorare sono immediati: la realizzazione degli impegni per più risorse e per una nuova legge. Le elezioni generali sono un altro banco di prova per le forze politiche che dovranno dimostrare che danno peso all’orientamento degli italiani a sostengo della cooperazione, che si è materializzato in questi due giorni.

Noi ci saremo!”

Milano 2 ottobre

Cooperazione allo sviluppo: proposte di riforma in vista del Forum da Dassù, Pistelli e Migliore.

ActionAid ha presentato la sesta edizione del rapporto “L’Italia e la lotta alla povertà”, dedicato a una valutazione delle politiche di cooperazione allo sviluppo dell’ultima legislatura, come ben ricorda il sottotitolo: “2008 – 2012: cinque anni vissuti pericolosamente”. ActionAid ha invitato a discuterne rappresentanti delle istituzioni, delle forze politiche e delle organizzazioni della società civile in un incontro il 26 settembre a Roma, a pochi giorni dall’apertura del Forum della Cooperazione Internazionale.

Il Sottosegretario agli Affari Esteri Marta Dassù è intervenuta portando un chiaro messaggio di impegno e cambiamento di rotta per il futuro della cooperazione allo sviluppo. Marta Dassù ha sottolineato che la nomina del Ministro Riccardi è già oggi un indice dell’importanza che il governo Monti attribuisce alla politica di cooperazione e integrazione. Il declino dell’APS negli ultimi anni è il risultato combinato della mancanza di risorse finanziarie e dell’atteggiamento culturale che insiste sulla teoria, ormai sorpassata in ambito internazionale, dell’inutilità degli aiuti. La battaglia è innanzitutto culturale, e l’organizzazione del forum sulla cooperazione previsto per il 1-2 ottobre a Milano è una delle tante armi che il Ministro Riccardi sta utilizzando per portare la lotta alla povertà al centro dell’agenda politico-culturale. Il Sottosegretario ha poi delineato il futuro possibile per una cooperazione più forte con: più risorse dedicate, maggiore razionalizzazione e un nuovo sistema di governance. Il governo Monti ha recepito la raccomandazione contenuta nel rapporto di ActionAid di invertire la tendenza alla riduzione dei fondi pubblici per lo sviluppo. Il documento di programmazione di fatto prevede per il 2013 uno stanziamento che eleva del 28% i fondi disponibili, e per il triennio 2013-2015 sono previsti aumenti annuali del 10%. Il nodo della limitazione delle risorse, per il Sottosegretario, rimane un paradosso per l’esigenza di dover combinare la riduzione della spesa pubblica e di rafforzare la politica estera e di cooperazione allo stesso tempo. Le risorse andrebbero razionalizzate: si tratta di spendere meglio focalizzandosi su priorità, tematiche e geografiche. Il nostro Paese per la sua storia e la sua posizione geopolitica ha una responsabilità geografica su mediterraneo e Africa. Per quanto riguarda il sistema di governance, lo scenario auspicato dal MAE è quello di un fondo unico per la democrazia e lo sviluppo, aperto a contributi dal settore privato e gestito da un comitato intergovernativo possibilmente con una agenzia tecnica.

Per Lapo Pistelli, responsabile esteri del Partito Democratico,  la priorità consiste nel metter in sicurezza l’impianto della riforma della  legge 49/87 entro il termine di questa legislatura. Questo lo scenario disegnato dal PD per modificare l’hardware della cooperazione: creazione di un fondo unico, una regia politica unitaria che sieda in Consiglio dei ministri per assicurare la coerenza delle politiche oggi frammentate tra i diversi attori, idealmente un ministro ma in tempo di tagli alle istituzioni pensare di portare a casa un ministro sembra fuori luogo. Una volta installato l’hardware sarà il software della politica e dell’economia a decidere quante risorse e la qualità.

Gennaro Migliore, responsabile esteri di SEL, si interroga se i tempi siano maturi per mettere in sicurezza l’hardware o ci sia la necessità di ridefinire il vocabolario della cooperazione, che preferisce chiamare “partenariato”. Non è convinto neanche sulla retorica dell’austerità “sono talmente scarse le risorse di questo capitolo di spesa che il loro incremento non modificherebbe di alcun che il problema economico del nostro paese, è un problema di volontà politica. Se si raddoppiassero le risorse gestite dalla DGCS , il bilancio dello stato non cambierebbe nemmeno del 1% bilancio dello stato”.

La voce che ha concluso il dibattito è stata quella della società civile con Egizia Petroccione (CINI/LINK/AOI/), che ha ribadito l’impegno delle organizzazioni italiane per la lotta alla povertà e per la lobby sulle istituzioni, con la richiesta di una nuova architettura istituzionale insieme a scelte precise favore del partenariato e concertazione, oltre che per maggiori di risorse pubbliche dedicate per la cooperazione.

— fine —

“2008 – 2012: cinque anni vissuti pericolosamente”: il 26 settembre ActionAid presenta il rapporto sulla cooperazione allo sviluppo.

Roma, 26 settembre dalle 16h45

Presentazione de “L’Italia e la lotta alla povertà”, il rapporto di ActionAid sulla cooperazione allo sviluppo italiana.

Sala Capranichetta, Piazza Montecitorio 131 / Roma

L’edizione di quest’anno è dedicata a “2008 – 2012: cinque anni vissuti pericolosamente”.

Registrazione dei partecipanti alle ore 16.45. Apertura dei lavori alle ore 17.00 da parte di Florindo Rubbettino per la casa editrice e Marco De Ponte per ActionAid; segue la presentazione dei contenuti del rapporto.

Intervento del Ministro Riccardi, intervistato da Stella Prudente, del quotidiano Pubblico.

Intervento dei rappresentati del Ministero degli Affari Esteri, del Ministero dell’Economia e delle Finanze, delle organizzazioni della società civile e delle forze politiche.

Segue questione time.

Il libro sarà disponibile in sala il giorno dell’evento.

Si raccomanda la registrazione attraverso la scheda di adesione disponibile su http://bit.ly/Oggbqq .

Loncadina dell’evento: http://bit.ly/QpV6Zf .

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

Post Busan Interim Group meetings are over. Progress remains patchy.

The meetings of the Post Busan Interim Group are over with yesterdays’ sessions . With less than five weeks to concluding meeting of the Working Party and the launch of the new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation  (Paris, 28 . 29 June) certain important things are still to be fixed.

In ten days’ time, the final proposal on the list of indicators for global monitoring will be finalized and polished by the secretariat and the chair. By the week of June 10th, constituencies will have to designate their representatives on the Steering group of the GPEDC along with   their respective nominations for the chairs. The proposal for the Support function will have at least further refined by the OECD and UNDP (there is still many issues  about the level of support that it will provided both to partner countries and the non executive stakeholders).

Here are my highlights from the PBGI meeting of May 21 and 22 :

  • global monitoring has been downgraded: it is not so important and the new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation is rather about accountability in the fashion of dialogue and knowledge sharing
  • the new donors are not committing for the time being. The art 2 of the Busan declaration is now complemented by a new provision that reads that the new providers of development cooperation are not expected to participate in the global monitoring system proposed in this initial arrangement
  • indicators will be kept under the number of ten. The rationale is to secure the minster’s attention by offering a few selected issues to focus on. This is a very pragmatic strategy, which may come with some side effects though: a diminished level of knowledge of development cooperation practices and less of peer pressure to improve around best practices
  • in this race to a handful of indicators, important issues may stay off the list. Fragmentation is one of the most noticeable victim. Despite reiterated  calls from partner countries, the chair stuck to the line that fragmentation can be better monitored at local level, possibly missing the point of the initiatives that are proliferating at global level, which is clearly mentioned in the Busan document
  • in general, the agreement reached at the PBIG meeting on indicators is mostly about the major headings and some definitions. On the real targets, uncertainty remains even relative to key areas such as  gender and transparency
  • the notion of enabling environment for CSOs and the private sector has been subject to extensive discussion. Mexico, for instance, seemed to been keen to reduce everything to the development cooperation arena; the chair of the meeting aligned himself with this interpretation , insisting that the discussion was about the role non executive actors in enhancing the effectiveness of development cooperation. Only the consolidated list of indicators will tell which option is holding up
  • the membership of the steering group has improved. Partner countries will have now 5 seats, provider of cooperation 3. But proposals from BetterAid to strengthen the representation of CSOs and non executive stakeholders have turned down with the assumption that the issue will be raised again at first meeting on the Steering grou
  • on Building Blocks there has been some positive movement as we have moved from zero references to a statement whereby the GPEDC that acknowledges the role of the BB and welcomes their input. Such a statement may potentially push BBs to be more accountable
  • an increased role of the UNDCF, which was one of the BetterAid demands, was consistently turned down, receiving no support from the chair of the meeting and the UNDP delegates

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Towards the new partnership for effective development cooperation. Are donors leading by example?

May 21, first day of the last meeting of the Post Busan Interim Group. Delegates looked into key issues covering the size and the membership of the Steering Group, the role of the co chairs and global monitoring system. It was a very learning session relative to at least four key issues:

a)     the chair of the meeting and the many delegates stated that monitoring is not so important; the new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation is rather about accountability though in the fashion of dialogue and knowledge sharing

b)     the peculiar status of the new donors is confirmed. The art 2 of the Busan declaration is now complemented by a new provision that reads that the new providers of development cooperation are not expected to participate in the global monitoring system proposed in this initial Partnership arrangement

c)     ministers are not supposed to focus on more than a handful of indicators. For these reason, the number of global indicators will kept to the very minimum and certain key issues such as fragmentation and Programmed Based Approaches may well be ditched

d)     enabling environment for CSOs (and the private sector too) needs to be refined and circumscribed into the development cooperation agenda only

In my personal math b+c means that donors in general are not very much at ease with targets and monitoring. But if donors are not committing, why partner countries should?

On the bright side, there were some gains in terms of representation of stakeholders: partner countries will have now 5 seats, provider of cooperation 3. The second day of the PBIG meeting will definitely be another learning opportunity.

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Re-defining the CSO camp in the post Busan development landscape

CSOs for effective development are hard at work to shape  their own future. The development landscape will change  in the next few months: not only will a global multistakeholder partnership emerge by the end of June (according to post Busan clock) but also the CSO camp is very likely to evolve.

The goal is, in fact, to launch new partnership for effective development by the end of the year that will bring together a wide range of nongovernmental players, from development NGOs to Trade Unions, from feminist groups to faith based networks. Early discussions on a new CSO alliance started in Busan to take stock of the changing development environment. A more comprehensive direction of travel was agreed on in a first global meeting in Cebu (the Philippines) at the of February. A meeting of an ad hoc working group met this week in Amsterdam. A draft reference paper will be available in  few weeks’s time.

The new thing about this CSO partnership for effective development is that different streams of work will come together. The  agendas taken care of by BetterAid and the Open Forum for CSOs’ Effectiveness will merge.  The Partnership  will comprise different pillars: the implementation of the Busan outcome document as well as of the Istanbul principles and the Siem Reap consensus. The founding block of this new coalition will be the national level which will be supported by regional and global initiatives.

For this Partnership to be up to the task, it will take commitment and resources  from all constituencies. Applying the principles of transparency and effectiveness in the day to day life will be the task of the global governance body where all groups  will be represented.

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