December 17, 2012

One year on (PART 2): Come together (Post-2015) – The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

Days before civil society came together in Nairobi to launch the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) had a meeting of its own in London on 5-6 December – bringing together the members of the GPEDC Steering Committee in their first face-to-face meeting. The representatives – including civil society – met to discuss four things: the substantive priorities for the Global Partnership, in particular as they relate to the Post-2015 agenda; plans for the first Ministerial meeting of the Global Partnership in 2013; updates on the monitoring framework, indicators and targets; and the communications and outreach plan for the GPEDC.

Not surprisingly, discussion of a CSO Co-Chair, of a second CSO seat, and of a seat for the trade unions (outside of the CSO seat) and local government was completely shot down. This issue, among others, was a sore point for civil society in June, and caused us to take a step back from the process. Instead the decision to expand has now been left to the Ministers at the first Ministerial – like that is ever going to happen! But despite this major setback, there does seem to be greater efforts to accommodate all the members of the Steering Committee, and so for now, civil society has decided to remain engaged.

But back to the meeting.

In terms of synergies with the Post-2015 agenda, the joint OECD-UNDP secretariat and some members of the Steering Committee are trying to situate the GPEDC within the work of the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Agenda (HLP) and to carve out a niche for themselves as a successor to MDG 8 and the global partnership for development.  The connection makes some sense and the links won’t be hard to make. British Prime Minister David Cameron is an HLP Co-Chair and British Development Minister Justine Greening is one of the Steering Committee Co-Chairs; the other two GPEDC Co-Chairs, Indonesian National Development Armida Alisjahbana and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are also either represented on the Panel (Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is also an HLP Co-Chair) or are HLP members.

In terms of merging the post-2015 process with the agenda of the Busan Partnership for Development Effectiveness (BPd), the secretariat has also made some clear linkages. It draws on a number of elements: the role of the private sector and private flows; the opportunities for knowledge sharing and peer learning in South-South Cooperation; the multi-stakeholder nature of the Partnership in terms of engaging civil society, local, municipal and regional governments, as well as parliamentarians; the “Beyond Aid” focus of the BPd.

In practice, going forward the Steering Committee envisages four work streams leading up to the first GPEDC Ministerial meeting (provisionally set for October). Under the broad umbrella of “What’s changed since Busan,” these include the following: the post-2015 linkages; domestic resource mobilization, including tax evasion, linked to country financing and discussions around global financing for development; the role of the private sector and its ability to leverage aid resources; inclusive development, including a focus on democratic ownership, rights based approaches, gender equality and decent work; and, knowledge sharing and peer learning, as an effort to more readily engage emerging economies.

What remains unclear as the Steering Committee looks to identify synergies between its role and this work, is how this complements – and doesn’t undermine or displace – existing fora, including the HLP, the UN Development Cooperation Forum, the UN Financing for Development process, regional initiatives and the work of the G-20.  For some governments, the GPEDC has yet to establish its legitimacy and credibility (since Busan, India, China and Brazil have remained on the periphery), in particular as it relates to more inclusive and universal fora like the UN. But given the concrete space and voice that civil society has defined for itself within the Steering Committee of the GPEDC, the GPEDC may have some added-value in terms of influencing potential.

Regardless of where you sit, the GPEDC clearly envisages itself as a key player and fora for these discussions and any post-2015 framework, and the intent is to showcase this at the First Ministerial. These Ministerials need to maintain political momentum in the process. Beyond profiling the outcomes of these workstreams, and highlighting synergies with other existing for a, the Ministerials will also need to profile data and evidence gathered that demonstrates progress on the global indicators and Busan commitments.  Again how the secretariat and Steering Committee plan to do this is also unclear. In the paper on the monitoring framework that was prepared for the meeting, only five of the ten global indicators have been finalized, with varying degrees of progress on the other five. Most are not expected to be concluded until March. This leaves barely six months to generate the data and evidence required to feed into the Ministerials.

This will be challenging since the secretariat is still developing operational guidance to enable countries to implement the various methodologies, many of the indicators will still need to be test-piloted, and data gathering at the country level in many cases still requires substantial support. Although some of the indicators may have developed some evidence by then, what may be more feasible – although not necessarily desirable, given the criticism CSOs have placed on the indicators – is establishing how these indicators could complement or inform the future accountability framework that is expected to accompany the post-2015 framework.

Finally, the GPEDC secretariat is also developing a communications and engagement strategy for the Partnership. This includes creating a visible brand around the GPEDC; a multi-lingual web site of key information, publications newsletters and opinion pieces; a web-based knowledge platform; and live web streaming and an archive of past meetings – key to promoting the transparency and accountability of the Partnership to its various constituencies.

2013 will be an important year for the Global Partnership. Will it come together?

This blog was written by Fraser Reilly-King, Policy Analyst (Aid), CCIC. The views expressed are his own, and do not necessarily represent the views of CCIC or its members.

December 13, 2012

One year on (PART 1): Come together – The Pamoja/Nairobi Declaration for Development Effectiveness

It has been just over a year since the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) concluded in Busan, South Korea, and I find myself in another country, and on another continent. This past weekend, around 50 representatives from around the world and from the rural, faith based, feminist sectors and international civil society organizations (CSOs) met on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. We met to plan our future engagement around the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and our work at the regional and national level, and to potentially launch a new collective CSO Platform for Development Effectiveness (CPDE). But coming together has not been so easy. And as incredible as it sounds, it has taken a year to get to this point, building immediate consensus with around 500 people and generating 20 drafts of the CPDE founding document!

On December 2, 2011, the day after HLF-4, BetterAid and the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness met to discuss our post-Busan agenda. With a set of global standards in place, including the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness, everyone knew that any new structure needed to evoke the spirit of Busan, “Country Heavy, Global Light”, and to get down to the nitty-gritty of implementation. In practice, this meant that more energy and resources needed to be filtered down to the national and regional levels, to build the capacity of national CSOs to monitor and engage with national development plans and the Busan commitments, to coordinate at a regional level, to promote minimum standards around the enabling environment, and to begin implementing the Istanbul Principles.  At a global level, this meant developing a light global structure that would engage with the new GPEDC, continue to press our CSO Key Asks on the Road to Busan, and hold governments to account for their commitments.

But over the past four years, hundreds of organizations and constituencies have invested huge amounts of time, energy and identity into BetterAid and the Open Forum. While this work, and what we have accomplished, can’t ever been taken away, closing the doors on two organizations still seems quite final. It feels like we are ending two chapters before we know the conclusion of each story.  The past four years has also pitted egos, priorities and competing interests – and sometimes platforms – against one another. In the lead-up to Busan, the two platforms had held it together, but we still needed to come together. Nairobi, therefore, was an important conclusion to the often heated discussions of the last year and an effort at, as they say in Swahili, “pamoja” or “togetherness”. The Pamoja Declaration does this. It unites our collective vision, mission, principles and goals going forward (as well as key decisions reached), and finally launched the new CSO Platform for Development Effectiveness.

And so what does this entail? The Declaration itself can tell the story:

Our Vision

We envisage a world where respect for human rights, participatory democracy, social and environmental justice and sustainability, gender equality and equity, and decent work and sustainable change are achieved.

Our Mission

To promote development effectiveness in all areas of work, both our own and the work of others, including through active engagement with the GPEDC, we will be guided by a human rights based approach.

In order to develop a strong basis for CSO participation in the creation and realization of our vision, mission and goals for development, the CPDE will work with a strong focus to support country, sub-regional and regional, and sectoral civil society, combining this with the coordinated regional and global work on development effectiveness.  

To achieve this vision, we need to also address exclusion, oppression and removing structures of power that perpetuate injustice.

Therefore, we are committed to social justice approaches and mechanisms, to challenge unequal power structures, especially for women (such as by working towards a feminist approach), in order to achieve emancipation of excluded communities and people.”

“Our Goals

To realize our shared vision, we commit to work together in partnership on a global-scale in relation to development effectiveness and the GPEDC to achieve the following goals:

  • to pursue and advocate for a transformative agenda for development and development cooperation, informed by our guiding principles and a human rights-based approach to development that prioritizes gender equality, decent work, and environmental sustainability, as well as dignity, justice and improved livelihoods for all people living in poverty, including the most marginalized, victims of violence, and those with disabilities, and the full realization of human rights for all;
  • to protect and deepen policy gains made in Paris, Accra and Busan, and reverse any of the harmful provisions that continue to guide those three agendas;
  • to continue to advocate for development effectiveness in development cooperation policy and practice, in particular as it relates to the accountability of governments to the broader development effectiveness agenda, the Internationally Agreed Development Goals and to people;
  • to continuously work to improve our own effectiveness and the realization of an enabling environment for civil society as independent development actors in our own right.
These goals are informed by our CSO Key Asks on the Road to Busan, including those raised ahead of Busan by women’s organizations, the trade unions, and faith-based organizations; the Istanbul Principles and Siem Reap International Framework; and prior assessments of the Paris, Accra and Busan commitments.”

It is a tall order. But then civil society has never been short on ambition. We now need to focus on putting this into action, and perhaps above all, to truly coming together.

This blog was written by Fraser Reilly-King, Policy Analyst (Aid), CCIC. The views expressed are his own, and do not necessarily represent the views of CCIC or its members.