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

Stakeholders Embrace Country-Level Frameworks & Resilient Partnerships: 2018 UN High-Level Political Forum

Today, in the margins of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, the governments of Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea co-hosted a Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation side event on Enhancing the global partnership for sustainable development: Country-level frameworks for resilient, multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Attended by over 100 participants, the event brought together stakeholders from various circles including government, civil society, the private sector, academia and UN agencies to discuss good practices and progress on institutionalising multi-stakeholder frameworks at the country level to increase the effectiveness of co-operation and support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In today’s evolving international landscape, development challenges are increasingly complex, persistent and interlinked. As such, achieving sustainable development for everyone, everywhere, calls for strong, equal partnerships between all stakeholders. Participation of civil society organisations, the private sector and other local development partners in all phases of development policy-making, planning and implementation helps ensure that resources are used effectively, capitalising on the comparative advantage of every stakeholder group and sharing resources, technology and knowledge.

However, the state of play from the last round of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) shows that many countries face challenges in consolidating effective multi-stakeholder engagement, particularly facilitating meaningful stakeholder participation and maintaining collaborative relationships. The GPEDC’s monitoring framework, which measures country-level progress in this domain, also underscores similar challenges.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Ambassador Cho Tae-yul, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN, emphasized that one of GPEDC’s unique features is its multi-stakeholder platform, calling the national-level monitoring framework “a demonstration of how stakeholders and partners engage in development co-operation in the era of SDGs by measuring their development impact at the national level.” Bangladesh’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, also recognised that to leave no one behind and meet global promises by 2030, we need to effectively engage all relevant stakeholders in development policy- making, planning and implementation, much like Bangladesh’s own local consultative processes and spaces for open dialogue and coordinated policies.

The side event generated evidence-based dialogue, with a wide array of panelists presenting including Ministers from the Dominican Republic and Egypt, representatives from the government of Honduras, civil society (CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness), private sector (Center for International Private Enterprise), and multi-lateral institutions (World Bank). The discussions led an honest debate around how country-level, multi-stakeholder partnerships can help implement the SDGs and how they might be reflected in VNRs.

Joining 46 other countries who have reported to this year’s VNR process and having also participated in the GPEDC’s 2016 monitoring round, Egypt spoke to the importance of aligning development partners’ programmes with country frameworks and national priorities. Dominican Republic also appreciated the GPEDC’s monitoring process in that it allows for countries and development partners to thoroughly assess their yearly progress in effective development co-operation. Honduras also announced its ongoing plans to participate in the GPEDC’s 2018 monitoring round.

During the event, practitioners from civil society, banks and private sector embraced multi-actor partnerships. Ms. Jaehyang So, a representative from the World Bank, stressed that sharing country best practices, like GPEDC aims to do with the Global Compendium and Knowledge-Sharing Platform, is important in identifying opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, Dr. Kim Bettcher, representing the private sector, mentioned that more progress can be made with promising initiatives, such as the GPEDC’s business leader caucus, and potential SDG funding opportunities amounting to around US $12 trillion.

In a recent blog, H.E. Ms. Hyunjoo Oh, Director-General of International Co-operation of the Republic of South Korea, supported such events, calling them ‘inclusive, unique and evidence-based’ as they explore context-specific opportunities for successful development partnerships – the key to achieving the global goals for everyone, everywhere.

For more information on the event, click here.

To read a summary of the event, click here.



At Home & Abroad: Korea’s Ongoing Support for Effective Development Co-operation

We are united by a new partnership that is broader and more inclusive than ever before’ Busan Outcome Document

Busan, Republic of Korea (RoK), the country’s second largest metropolis and home to over 3.5 million people, is also the birthplace of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC).

Endorsed by more than 160 governments and 50 organisations, the principles listed in Busan Outcome Document of the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011 – country ownership, a focus on results, inclusive partnerships, and transparency and accountability to each other – form the foundation for effective development co-operation.

As the Director-General of International Co-operation, I can say with confidence that Korea has stayed true to these commitments, both at home and abroad, including through its role as host of the annual Busan Global Partnership Forum and Learning and Accelerating Programmes. These fora are inclusive, unique and evidence-based events which bring together policy makers and practitioners to share country experiences and explore the enabling factors and context-specific challenges for successful development partnerships. With plans to host another Learning and Acceleration Programme in late 2018, Korea continues to place itself as a key knowledge-sharing partner for more effective development co-operation.

Beyond knowledge-sharing, RoK, as a development partner, also takes part in the GPEDC’s monitoring exercise, a country-led process that monitors partner countries’ and development partners’ progress in achieving the aforementioned principles. We have made significant efforts to increase medium-term predictability of development co-operation. RoK has reported on a number of areas, including in-year and mid-term predictability of aid on budget, use of country Public Financial Management (PFM) and procurement systems, and untying of aid.

RoK’s remarks at the recent GPEDC side event in the margins of the 2018 High-Level Political Forum reinforced Korea’s commitments for 2030 and beyond. To achieve the 2030 agenda, it’s critical that Korea, as well as other development partners, strengthen linkages between global processes and country-level implementation, at both political and operational levels, and engage with diverse development actors, including the private sector and civil society, to leverage their innovative capacities and resources.

At home, the country continues to see multi-stakeholder partnership models as key to achieving the global goals. In 2016, it conducted a Voluntary National Review (VNR) of its progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals entitled, ‘From a Model of Development Success to a Vision for Sustainable Development’. We analysed Korea’s enabling environments, prospects, challenges and opportunities for achieving the goals, including through the lens of effective co-operation.

My country’s continuous commitments, within and abroad, to promote effective development co-operation is applaudable and continues to grow. Through helping foster local and global partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals, we will continue to lend our support towards generating development impact, and ultimately, leaving no one behind.