Regional Pre-Monitoring Workshop for Africa: Realizing the Principles of Effective Development Cooperation

The regional pre-monitoring workshop for Africa took place on 16-17 November in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop, hosted by the NEPAD Agency and UNDP Regional Service Center for Africa and organized by the OECD/UNDP Joint Support Team with financial contribution from the European Union, brought together over 40 countries and representatives from CSOs as well as the UN Regional Economic Commissions. The workshop provided an opportunity for national coordinators and other stakeholders to familiarise themselves with the overall monitoring framework of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC); the set of 10 indicators, as well as the process, timelines, and respective roles and responsibilities as countries engage in the 2015-2016 monitoring round.  The workshop also provided an opportunity for mutual learning with regard to country implementation of the effective development cooperation principles and related monitoring efforts.

Some key ideas emerged from the regional discussion:

  • In the context of implementing the transformative Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, country ownership and leadership will play a critical role and, to ensure sustained efforts, participants reiterated that national development plans and priorities need to reflect this ambitious agenda. Critical factors within this partnership are the quality of cooperation and the catalytic nature of development cooperation to boost the broadest engagement from development stakeholders –including the private sector– towards sustainable development and poverty eradication. This can only be possible with monitoring efforts, with clear targets and performance evaluations, to keep all stakeholders accountable to their mutual but differentiated commitments.
  • Multi-stakeholder dialogue and inclusiveness are important aspects of development cooperation. The principles of effective development cooperation and the monitoring of quality and effectiveness of partnership can facilitate in-country multi-stakeholder dialogue and maximize roles of all actors.
  • Country-level frameworks that bring together government institutions across various sectors as well as development stakeholders remain critical. Many countries have already began strengthening of frameworks, including stronger Country Results Frameworks, ; comprehensive and integrated Development Cooperation Strategies, guided by the National Development Plans, that brings various development actors together for a common goal.
  • Transparency of development activities by all stakeholders remains a challenge at the country level. While noting on good progress made on global level transparency, countries continue to face challenges of having adequate information by all stakeholders to allow stronger country ownership over development activities. User-friendly and updated data and information need to be relevant for country needs. Country level monitoring provides an opportunity to strengthen availability of information and data, which in turn could spark multi-stakeholder policy dialogue and accountability to move the development effectiveness agenda forward.
  • Participants emphasized the importance of the principle of Mutual Accountability at all levels. The importance to inform and be informed, share the information and coordinate for effective development cooperation was stressed from the government, development partners and Civil Society’s perspectives.
  • Existing mechanisms can facilitate the GPEDC monitoring and consultation process in many countries. Participants called for all stakeholders to fully engage in this process and report information/data in a timely manner, to support the monitoring process and to consolidate multi-stakeholder dialogue at country level.
  • Countries are also exploring a number of innovative ways to manage development cooperation effectively and build up robust development resources to implement the transformative SDGs. It is evident that resources are sometimes concentrated on a limited number of programs and the strategies for budget preparation can be improved. To render success, support should be provided to different sectors.

Participants showed strong interest to prepare and support the next High-Level Meeting in Kenya, calling for the 2nd High-Level Meeting of the GPEDC to set a renewed vision for stronger multi-stakeholder partnerships. Findings from the 2015-2016 monitoring round should be shared at national, regional and global levels to support the preparation of that high-level international meeting.

A ‘Step Change’ for Development Co-operation in Laos?

We may well be about to see a far more inclusive way of working together for development in Laos.

After six months of consultations with donors, civil society organizations and businesses, the government has finalized a declaration that will guide development cooperation in the country until 2025.

The government and around 30-40 partner countries will sign the Vientiane Declaration on Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation on Nov. 27, during the country’s main national development forum.

Laos has racked up some commendable successes: gross domestic product has grown by an average of 7 percent year-on-year over the past decade; poverty was halved by 2015 — in line with the Millennium Development Goals; and hunger is down and people are living longer, healthier lives.

Yet the country faces serious challenges: An estimated 44 percent of children under 5 are stunted, and 27 percent are severely underweight. Despite a significant reduction, the number of maternal deaths remains high. Inequality is on the rise, and there are significant challenges surrounding environmental sustainability and ridding the country of unexploded ordnance that still kills, maims and presents an impediment to development.

Assistance from all sources — and in all forms — remains vital for Laos to tackle these challenges, and to meet its main aim of graduating from least developed country status by 2020.

In this context the Vientiane partnership declaration is a crucial tool to ensure all assistance is coordinated, in line with national development plans, and deployed in the smartest possible way for the maximum possible impact.

In line with global principles of effective development cooperation, the declaration highlights that official development assistance, or traditional aid, must be used wisely to accelerate broader, systemic change. This means that all development cooperation should be nationally owned and aligned with country’s development priorities in ways that link economic, human and environmental benefits simultaneously.

Efforts to achieve this could include more support to decision makers in key ministries on management and leadership. It could also include more regular policy dialogue to share ideas on what works best, as well as further engagement with local communities to help them raise questions about the services they need.

The declaration also places a strong emphasis on boosting domestic revenues, increasing cooperation with other developing countries and regional partners, upping knowledge and technology transfer, and closer work with business and civil society.

It includes clear, concrete commitments to boost local development planning, fight corruption, build an inclusive financial sector and build on knowledge sharing networks, which could include a mechanism to bring about the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies.

Around 30 to 40 OECD member countries and developing countries are set to sign up, alongside a range of international organizations. Signatories should work together on a fully resourced implementation plan by September 2016.

The partnership declaration is a solid, effective framework to bring about the maximum impact from all development support in Laos for the next 10 years. If inclusive partnerships are built and kept for the long term, it could just mark a “step change” in development cooperation for the country.

Cross-posted with Devex

AuthorAbout the Author

Kaarina Immonen is the U.N. resident coordinator and UNDP representative in Laos. She began her career in the United Nations in 1990. Her most recent appointment before her arrival to Laos was as deputy special representative of the secretary-general for the U.N. Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic, a post she held from December 2012 to early 2014. She also served as U.N. resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator during her time in the Central African Republic. She has also worked in Moldova, Russian Federation, Georgia, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Regional Workshop in Latin America: More Countries from the Region Join the Second Monitoring Round

An impressive decade of robust growth raised most Latin American countries well into the middle and upper-middle income category. Gains in poverty reduction were significant, although much is still to be done to address comparatively high levels of inequality.

Official development finance to Latin America exceeded US$ 27 billion in 2013, in terms of new commitments. Seventy-two percent corresponds to bilateral and multilateral non-concessional financing. Official development co-operation continues to be a key resource for most Central American and Caribbean countries, while it still plays a role in addressing targeted needs in other larger, richer countries in the Region. The private sector, civil society organisations and other actors contributing increasingly play a major role in supporting development efforts, shaping public policies and bringing critical investments in.

GraphIn this context, a regional pre-monitoring workshop organised by the UNDP-OECD Joint Support Team took place in Mexico City on 5-6 November. 32 participants attended the workshop, including 12 focal points from Latin American governments, and representatives from civil society organisations, academia, regional platforms, UN Women and the CLEAR Center for Latin America. To date, a dozen of Latin American governments have shown interest in measuring the effectiveness of development co-operation by participating in the Second Monitoring Round, reflecting the growing interest in the Region to improve the quality of partnerships and help shape the international development agenda.

The two-day workshop familiarised participants with the Second Monitoring Round and prepared all stakeholders to carry out their roles and represent their constituencies throughout this monitoring process.  While this is a government-led monitoring process, it heavily relies on multi-stakeholder participation and participants discussed strategies and ways to make that engagement effective and inclusive. Participants also learned about the process to gather data for the ten indicators, and learned from past experiences to anticipate potential data-gathering challenges.

The workshop also served as an opportunity to brainstorm on ways to measure and track the effectiveness of emerging modalities of development cooperation, including South-South cooperation, triangular cooperation and regional cooperation. As Latin American countries continue to adopt an hybrid behavior (as providers and recipients), these modalities are becoming more ubiquitous in the Latin American context, with 576 projects approved just in 2013 (according to a recent SEGIB report). Participants discussed limitations of the current Monitoring Framework to capture the differentiated features of South-South Cooperation; exchanged around the current strategies of the Mexican, Colombian and Uruguayan development agencies; and debated on ways to make the Monitoring Framework more effective by including these and other issues in the agenda for the next High-Level Meeting in Kenya, in late 2016.

The regional monitoring workshop in Latin America & Caribbean was organised by the joint UNDP-OECD support team and co-hosted by the AMEXCID and the CLEAR Center for Learning on Evaluation and Results Latin America with support from the UNDP. This workshop aimed to facilitate the rolling out of the Global Partnership second monitoring round. The workshop targeted government officials and other stakeholders’ focal points from participating countries, with the objective of ensuring that they have the information and guidance needed to engage in this monitoring exercise. In addition, the workshop offered an opportunity to discuss the regional perspectives regarding new modalities of development cooperation and the work leading up to the next High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership planned for late 2016 in Kenya.

The workshop was attended by 30 participants representing 10 countries, UNDP regional office, as well as civil society. Click here for more information.