The Story behind Georgia’s Progress in Development Co-operation: Contributing to a Global Compendium of Good Practices

Georgia is one of nine pilot countries that has used key mechanisms, tools and instruments to enhance effectiveness at the country level. The objective of these pilots was to demonstrate the positive impact of effective development co-operation and the achievement of national, regional and global development goals.

A front-runner in Nationalisation of Sustainable Development Goals

Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals since their inception, Georgia was among the first countries to present its Voluntary National Review at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in 2016 formalizing Georgia’s commitment towards achieving sustainable development. Since then, the Sustainable Development Goals Council (SDG Council) was created with the mandate to coordinate the nationalisation of the goals, and monitor their implementation. Since 2016, all 17 UNSDGs have gone through the process of nationalization.

In each of the ‘EU-Georgia Association Agreement’, the ‘Public Administration Reform Roadmap’, the Action Plan and ‘National Strategy 2014-2020 for the Protection of Human Rights in Georgia’, and the Social and Economic Development Strategy – the ‘Georgia 2020’ national plan was integrated every step of the way, nationalizing the SDGs throughout key agreements and platforms.

For setting national policies and financing for the SDGs, the government used a range of tools including an umbrella planning framework, the Annual Governmental Work Plan (AGWP), which was then interlinked with the guiding national budget-planning document – Basic Data and Directions (BDD). This approach ensured clear linkages between the development goals, national and regional strategies and priorities, and funding plans.

The Donor Coordination System in Georgia

The first steps towards central and effective donor coordination in Georgia was made in 2014, after the 2013 constitutional changes broadened the role of the Prime Minister, as well the functions of the Administration of the Government (AOG) of Georgia, to include administration of the policy planning and development process at the central level.

In addition, the Donor Coordination Unit (DCU) was created for the effective coordination of external aid, to increase Government’s ownership over Official Development Assistance, strengthen mutual accountability, and align donor aid with national priorities – as per the internationally agreed principles of effectiveness. To achieve compatibility between the Government’s medium and long-term development policy and external aid, coordination of co-operation between various donors, partners and aid recipient organizations is a direct function of the DCU.

AOG coordinates its external aid through policy-dialogue platforms such as the Annual Development Partnership Forum, chaired by the Prime Minister. The Forum gathers authorities of ministries of Georgia, and representatives of donor organisations and diplomatic corps. With participation from respective government agencies, six thematic working group meetings based on the following national priorities supplement the work of the forum: 1. Good  governance; 2. Rule of law and justice; 3. Economic growth; 4. Human capital development; 5. Social welfare; 6. Sustainable Use of Natural Resources.

The aim of the coordination meetings is to conduct a strategic dialogue with donors, harmonizing external aid with state priorities and to avoid overlapping and duplicating resources. An instrument used for the more targeted acquisition of resources is a Gap Analysis, a tool which is presented to development partners at policy dialogue meetings to specify where external support is needed in Georgia’s national plan.

In addition to such policy dialogue platforms, AOG also operates an Electronic Aid Information Management SystemeAIMS ( and produces a bilingual annual External Aid Report based on data analysis derived from eAIMS. This report also contains information on Georgia’s progress adhering to the effectiveness principles, and the indicators outlined in the Global Partnership’s monitoring framework.

Despite evident progress in number of areas, there is still room for improving Georgia’s coordination systems. As identified during a Global Partnership workshop on country-level implementation, Georgia still needs to improve its existing donor coordination mechanisms.

As a next step, Georgia is committed to a number of research projects spearheaded by the DCU team, to produce a comprehensive outline of the future design of the Donor Coordination Mechanism, with specific tools and processes that will be implemented in the coming period.

Georgia’s successful tools and practices, as well as those gathered from the other eight pilot countries, provided key insights for the Global Compendium of Good Practices on enhancing effectiveness in countries – launched at the Global Partnership’s first Senior-Level Meeting.

Here’s How to Strengthen Development Co-operation — and Meet the SDGs

This blog was originally posted here.

The world stands 10 years away from the deadline to achieve the 2030 Agenda — and yet we are not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The international community must think differently about our efforts to get back on track — and that means advancing the effectiveness of development cooperation. For long-lasting results, this will require a focus on country ownership, development results, inclusive partnerships, transparency, and mutual accountability.

These four principles of effectiveness provide a basis for more empowered, more equal, partnerships. And that matters because ultimately, it will be how we work together that defines our success.

The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation — a multistakeholder partnership supported jointly by OECD and the United Nations Development Programme — looks closely at the “how.” The partnership aims to advance the effectiveness of joint development efforts — by governments, civil society, the private sector, and many others — to deliver results that are long-lasting and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Our institutions track progress toward more effective development co-operation through data collection led by developing partner countries. In 2018, 86 partner countries with more than 100 partners took part in this exercise, covering disbursements of $58.8 billion in development loans and grants.

The results of this vast analysis are now available, and key takeaways from this evidence include the following:  

  • Developing partner country governments have made significant progress in strengthening the quality of national development planning overtime; yet development partners’ alignment to these priorities and country-owned results frameworks is declining.
  • More systematic and meaningful consultations with development stakeholders are needed both by partner country governments and development partners to ensure strong ownership of development efforts.
  • In response to the rapidly changing development landscape and the ambition of leaving no one behind, country-level mutual accountability mechanisms are evolving and becoming more inclusive.

Where can we do better than we already have, in leading and supporting development efforts?

Since 2011, the proportion of developing partner countries with a high-quality national development strategy has almost doubled and there has been important progress also in integrating the SDGs in their planning. However, the 2018 data indicates that partner countries continue to face challenges in obtaining information on forward expenditure and implementation plans. Furthermore, development partners’ alignment of their programs to country objectives — as well as their use of national statistics and monitoring systems to track program results — remains limited; and only a third of partner country governments indicate that they have the necessary data to monitor the implementation of their national development strategies.

A good planning and monitoring system is the basis for accountability and transparency. Access to public information on the delivery of key actor’s commitments on development co-operation is critical for the whole-of-society to be able to work toward more effective development co-operation.

It is encouraging to observe that, in 2018, there is more information on development co-operation publicly available than in 2016. While this is good news, the real impact of public information on accountability requires accelerated efforts in timely reporting and making forward-looking development co-operation information better available to also include more planned development co-operation finance in national budgets that are under parliamentary oversight.

Trust is at the heart of effective collaboration, fostered by mutual dialogue and shared assessments between partners. The 2018 monitoring looked into the existence and quality of mutual accountability systems at the partner country level. While countries with high ODA dependency are more likely to have quality mutual accountability mechanisms in place, other country contexts are moving away from traditional structures. This shift may reflect their orientation toward innovative financing with a diverse range of partners.

How can the whole of society achieve better cooperation, together?

Real effectiveness should be measured by addressing the needs of the people, and to reaching the most vulnerable in society, which can only be done with the participation of all relevant actors to shape national development priorities.

While nearly all partner countries report that they consult with national stakeholders in the design of development strategies, civil society organizations reported that they are experiencing an increase in their constraints to participate in decision-making, negatively affecting their ability to contribute to national development processes. These challenges, according to CSOs, include legal and regulatory frameworks that provide limited protection in practice. This situation aligns with the existing concerning evidence that the space for civil society actors is shrinking.  

Results of the report show that, of all national stakeholders, development partners consult most with civil society organizations on their development cooperation policies. However, in more than half of the participating countries CSOs reported that the agenda of these consultations is largely set by development partners and focuses on pre-determined policies and priorities. Furthermore, CSOs say a more diverse range of CSOs need to be invited to the table.

In an effort to leverage the private sector’s ingenuity and impact in the 2030 Agenda, the global partnership is promoting country-level partnerships with the private sector through development co-operation. Diverse stakeholders in the public and private sector evaluated the quality of the public-private dialogue at the country level, and there was unanimous agreement on the existence of a strong willingness to engage. However, private sector stakeholders’ views concerning inclusiveness and relevance of the dialogue, among other elements, are less positive. This presents a critical need for reflection on the quality of engagement efforts by governments that lead the development agenda.

How can we adapt to do better and look to the future?

To reaffirm this recognition of effectiveness as an essential driver for sustainable development, the diverse range of stakeholders that comprise the global partnership will convene at the Senior–Level Meeting in New York on July 13-14, 2019. The SLM presents a unique opportunity to review progress and expand the effectiveness network by bringing together development actors on an equal footing to explore and address challenges to an inclusive and sustainable future.  

Jorge Moreira da Silva is Director of the Development Co-operation Directorate at the OECD, overseeing the organization’s work measuring progress in development cooperation, analyzing global and regional trends, and helping to design development policies that meet recipient countries’ needs. His role also supports the work of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee.

Ulrika Modéer is Director of the U.N. Development Programme’s Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy and also represents the UN Sustainable Development Group on the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership.

Partnerships for Sustainable Finance: Why Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration is Key to Delivering a New Financial System

In his book about social change ‘Theory U’, author Otto Scharmer notes that recognising and attending to the challenges facing our global society ‘is not just a theoretical exercise; it gives us a whole different way to collaborate as change agents for bringing forth a world that is profoundly different from that of the past’.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the efforts to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and nowhere is the power of this approach clearer than in the efforts to align the financial system with sustainability objectives.

A nascent field just a decade ago, sustainable investing has now become a USD30.7trn market. More than the stellar growth, what is unique about the space is how it enables actors from the entire supply chain of capital to focus on one goal: delivering a financial system able to respond to the sustainability needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) is a case in point. Comprised of senior leaders from civil society, the finance sector, academia, as well as observers from European and International institutions, the group was charged by the EU Commission to provide advice on how to steer the flow of public and private capital towards sustainable investments. Ten years ago, when Europe was in the throes of the global financial crisis, such a multi-stakeholder coalition would have been unimaginable – and would have probably proven unsuccessful. Yet it took just a year for the HLEG to create momentum around the idea of an EU-wide sustainable finance reform. And it was the diversity of the group – along with the frank and inclusive process that underlined the group’s work – that created the political space for the Commission to turn the expert group’s final report into a reform agenda. Two months after the group submitted its final report, the EU put forward EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan. Since then, HLEG-like processes have been set up in key markets, including Canada, Australia and Germany. Developing countries have been active as well, collectively accounting for 100 of the 267 sustainable finance policy and measures in place globally at the end of 2017, with China leading the way.

Another illustration is the World Benchmarking Alliance, a new global institution that will rank the largest companies on their contribution to the SDGs and make these rankings free and publicly available to all. Through an extensive multi-stakeholder consultation phase that took place online and in 10 cities across the world (including Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur, Cape Town, Jakarta Mumbai and Buenos Aires), the WBA has grown into an Alliance of more than 90 institutions from across the supply chain of capital, government and civil society. The first set of benchmarks will address food and agriculture, climate and energy, digital inclusion and gender equality and empowerment issues, and the seafood industry. By 2023, the WBA aims to comprehensively assess the progress of 2,000 companies across seven major areas of transformation required to achieve the SDGs.

An important aspect of the WBA’s work is how the inclusive and transparent approach at the heart of its benchmark developing process also helps to create a space for dialogue between different stakeholders on the role that companies have in delivering the SDGs in their region, building bridges between actors that would otherwise not necessarily talk or meet with each other. As one participant to a WBA consultation in Buenos Aires noted “lack of trust between companies, governments, civil society and people is the largest barrier to developing and achieving the level of sustainability required to meet the SDGs”. By bringing actors together, the WBA helps to address this barrier and to create an inclusive partnership focused on results (the benchmarks) and targeted impact (greater disclosure, improved dialogue, cooperative engagement and better corporate contribution to the SDGs). Of course, what matters for the SDGs is to deliver change on the ground. That is why, at NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business we have launched “Invest NYC SDG”: a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to help build a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future economy in NYC by using the SDGs as a framework to drive private sector financing in community-supported initiatives.  The program, which launched in April, will tackle issues facing the city such as affordable housing, energy access, urban mobility, and climate resilience while creating opportunities for employment, neighborhood revitalization, and urban development.

The choice of NYC is far from random. The city was the first city to report on its progress towards the implementation of the SDGs and the city’s ‘OneNYC’ 2050 strategy is strongly aligned with the SDGs. New York is also one of the world’s largest financial centers and home to the U.S. Alliance for Sustainable Finance. Building on these synergies between finance and the SDGs, we aim to develop a shared vision with a wide group of stakeholders for how private sector investment can be stimulated in partnership with the public and nongovernmental sectors. Ultimately, we aim to have a set of actionable financing initiatives that will address key challenges and create jobs, with investors committed to leading ongoing efforts. By documenting the process and lessons learned along the way, our hope is that this work can serve as a model for other cities in the United States and globally.

The above are just three examples of how multi-stakeholder partnerships are key to sustainable finance. Others include the Task Force on Climate-related financial risk disclosure (now backed by 785 organisations and 118trn of AUM), the Network of Central Banks for Greening the Financial System (the members of which collectively supervise 2/3 of the global systemically important banks and insurers), the International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability, and the recently announced Global Investors for Sustainable Development, which will bring together some of the world’s leading CEOs and support the United Nations Secretary General’s efforts in mobilising the financial sector to deliver the SDGs.

Most of these initiatives focus on aspects identified in the ‘Kampala principles’ for private sector engagement, including: strengthening co-ordination, alignment and capacity building; fostering trust through dialogue and consultation; as well as measuring progress and disseminating best practices to increase the alignment of the financial system with sustainability objectives. It will also be critical that these efforts promote a just transition towards a more sustainable economy.

Frank, rigorous multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement will be key to building momentum and to success.  Doing so is neither easy nor straightforward. It takes leadership, vision, integrity, openness, transparency and hard work. But the effort is worth the prize. After all, as Otto Scharmer notes “what is at stake is nothing less than the choice of who we are, who we want to be, and what story of the future we want to participate in”. And that, perhaps, is the strongest appeal of SDG17 on Global Partnerships: to get us to work together to deliver the future we all want. 

Dr. Elie Chachoua
Sustainable Finance Strategist and Senior Research Scholar NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business

Dr Elie Chachoua is a Sustainable Finance Strategist and Senior Research Scholar at NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business. He worked for the EU High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and was part of the core team behind the launch of the World Benchmarking Alliance – an international institution designed to produce free and publicly available benchmarks ranking companies on their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to that, Elie was a managing editor for an award-winning series of The Economist Group. His work has been published by renowned organizations, including the World Economic Forum, The Economist Intelligence Unit, KPMG, the OECD and UNDP.

Tensie Whelan, Director of NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business

Tensie Whelan is the Director of NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business, where she is bringing her 25 years of experience working on local, national and international environmental and sustainability issues to engage businesses in proactive and innovative mainstreaming of sustainability. As the President of the Rainforest Alliance, she grew the organization from a $4.5m to a $50m budget, recruiting 5,000 companies in more than 60 countries to work with the Rainforest Alliance. She has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics, was the Citi Fellow in Leadership and Ethics at NYU Stern in 2015 and has served on numerous boards such as the Unilever Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board and the Nespresso Innovation Fund Advisory Board. She was most recently appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for Aston Martin and GlobeScan and is an Advisor to the Future Economy Project for Harvard Business Review. Her work has been published by major publications, including Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and Stern Business Magazine.