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

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

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

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:

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

Asia-Pacific:
Ms Bing Sibal-Limjoco (Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Francorp Philippines)
HE Mr Saber Chowdhury (Member of Parliament, Bangladesh)
Ms Helen Hai (Made in Africa Initiative)

Europe:
Mr Thomas Duveau (Mobisol GmbH)
Mr Iñígo Albizuri (Mondragon Corporation)
Ms Christiane Laibach (KFW DEG, Germany)

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

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

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 detailed session summaries or the overall summary. You can also access all other event-related materials here.