Journal of the Group of 77 - Volume 19/2 (2007) (Summer Edition)


UNITED NATIONS, (G77/IPS)— Addressing the 2007 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva in July, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan said there is increasing evidence of a greater willingness on the part of developing countries, donors, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to act together, coherently to promote the goals of development.

Speaking at the official launch of the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) during the High Level segment of the ECOSOC meeting, he said it was a source of great pleasure and satisfaction to see the initiative for a revitalized and strengthened ECOSOC during Pakistan’s Presidency of the Economic and Social Council in 2005, translated into reality in 2007.

As part of a proposal to strengthen ECOSOC during the summit meeting of world leaders in 2005, the General Assembly (in resolution 61/16) outlined the role of the Development Cooperation Forum.

First, DCF is to review trends and progress and give policy guidance and recommendations; second, it will help identify gaps and obstacles to make recommendations on practical measures and policy options to enhance development coherence and effectiveness and realize the internationally agreed development goals (IADGs) including the millennium development goals (MDGs); third, it will provide a platform for member states to exchange lessons learned and experiences; and fourth, it will provide participation by all stakeholders.

“We must utilize this outstanding opportunity to enhance global partnership for development as set out in the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation,” he told delegates in Geneva.

The Development Cooperation Forum will, together with the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), enable the ECOSOC to help achieve the following:

— conduct a comprehensive review of the status and developments in international development cooperation with a view to developing integrated policy responses and identifying and addressing key gaps and challenges;

— strengthen linkages between the analytical, normative and operational work of the entire UN system and other relevant organizations;

— promote closer linkage between system-wide operational activities and the implementation of the MDGs and other IADGs;

— promote exchange of information on best practices and develop innovative approaches to development problems and challenges.

The relationship between the DCF and the AMR should be clear, Ambassador Akram pointed out.

The AMR is designed to review the progress in the implementation of the entire range of the IADGs, including the MDGs, and to provide policy guidance for Member States, international organizations and other actors.

The DCF is designed to focus on international development cooperation in all its aspects and improve its governance, effectiveness and impact to enhance the agreed development goals.

He also said that the only UN organ with the explicit Charter mandate to promote coordination within the UN System is the ECOSOC. However, ECOSOC oversight of its subsidiary machinery including the Funds and Programmes is at best perfunctory.

“It is almost non-existent with regard to the specialized agencies,” he added. Efforts have been made for coordination with the Bretton Woods institutions (BWIs) for development policy issues after Monterrey Consensus but there is virtually no coordination on programmes and projects.

The DCF, on the other hand, is designed to redress this unfortunate situation. In fact, the need for effective governance of development cooperation is now specially acute, given the growing globalization, the interdependence of economic, social and environmental goals, the acknowledged needs of developing countries, specially the poorest and the most vulnerable among them, the growing number of development actors and stakeholders, the experience of past successes and failures and above all, the grave consequences to failure to address and redress poverty and hunger and the glaring inequalities in this increasingly integrated world.

The overall purpose of the DCF should be to ensure that:

— One, that development cooperation is responsive to the needs of the developing countries, as set out in their national development plans and strategies and to the IADGs and MDGs;

— Two, to ensure that the quantity and quality of development financing is adequate and appropriate to the needs of the recipient countries;

—Three, to ensure that development cooperation achieves the desired objectives and results;

—Four, that such cooperation is pursued in a coordinated and coherent manner at the national, regional and global level.

Ambassador Akram said the effectiveness and relevance of the DCF will depend to a large extent on the ability to monitor implementation.

“As in the case of the AMR, we would advocate the development of agreed criteria and benchmarks to measure the implementation, effectiveness and results of development cooperation.”

In this context, he said, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness is a useful beginning. The indicators and benchmarks, it has set out should be further elaborated and refined to ensure mutual accountability and equal responsibilities for both the recipient and donor countries. This can and should be done within the DCF, not in forums restricted to donors only.