Archive for the ‘Aid Power Governance’ Category

Three rules for donors: making sure public-private development finance actually works

April 4, 2016

Last year’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement on climate change represent a significant political shift away from a dependency on fossil fuels towards an era of development more in harmony with the environment. They broaden the previous focus of tackling poverty to include leaving no-one behind and tackling inequality.

Both will require billions, if not trillions, of pounds to implement.

With limited aid budgets, donor governments and global institutions have quickly set their sights on leveraging private sector investment as a way of plugging this finance gap. Aid budgets are increasingly directed towards participating in private sector projects, such as big infrastructure projects like roads, ports and hospitals; service provision such as schools; energy and healthcare.

But if public-private partnerships (PPPs) are to be used effectively to implement both the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, donors need to keep three key rules in mind. (more…)

Measuring what matters

November 11, 2015

In Laudato Si’ – the Pope calls us to think about what we mean by progress.

Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress.” (194)

It has been understood for years that we cannot and should not try to reduce progress or development to economic development. Similarly, it is widely accepted that success cannot just be based on economic indicators, in particular the narrow focus of GDP growth.

The reason in many ways is simple. (more…)

The Sustainable Development Goals and Laudato Si’

September 17, 2015

Next week, world leaders at the UN will formally adopt 17 new Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals with the aim of eradicating extreme poverty, tackling inequality and taking action on climate change as part of wide-ranging commitments to sustainable development.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis released Laudato Si’, an encyclical on integral human development which adds to the Catholic Church’s body of teaching. Laudato Si’ is unique in its intention to influence international politics and the multilateral agreements they produce. As a major UN outcome, how do the SDGs meet the challenge set by Laudato Si’?

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Will Addis Ababa fire the starter gun for a new approach to sustainable development?

July 12, 2015
ban ki moon addressing csos

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addressing hundreds of civil society organisations

Thousands of delegates have descended on a rainy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the third International Conference on Financing for Development. This is the first in three UN Summits this year that will show how much governments are willing to rise to the current global challenges, including climate change, ongoing poverty, hunger and inequality.

It is the chance to present an ambitious and transformative agenda to tackle structural injustices in the global economic system, to ensure that all development is people-centred for current and future generations and to protect the environment.

Addis presents the starter gun for the journey over the next six months that ends up in Paris in December for the climate change negotiations. AS Ban Ki Moon said to civil society groups today, a successful outcome in Addis is crucial for success in everything else.

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Can we reach a principled approach to public-private finance?

April 10, 2015

In a year of major UN Summits on development finance, sustainable development goals (SDGs) and climate change, the topic that has dominated the discussions has been on the role of the private sector and the finance that it can provide and finance that can be channelled through it.

This is clearly controversial with some groups arguing that no development finance should go through the private sector, while others see it as the panacea to “crowd-in” as much private sector involvement as possible.

Whichever side you’re on (or somewhere in the middle), one thing is clear – that the role of the private sector is likely to increase significantly in all forms of development in the forthcoming years, and certainly within the lifetime of the new SDGs.

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Inequality matters. The post-2015 agenda must matter too.

November 25, 2014

Next year, governments will come to the end of a long process to agree a new development agenda to replace the MDGs. A key demand from civil society from the earliest days of this process is that the growing problem of global inequalities should be centre stage of this new vision; many governments have joined this call. The MDGs concentrated on averages, so it was easy to hide large and growing gaps. The post-2015 agenda has the opportunity to set that right.

Growing inequalities are a problem because they undermine the very fabric of society. As Pope Francis tweeted, “inequality is the root of social evil.” Inequalities make it more difficult to break the cycles of poverty and exclusion, and move us away from a world of dignity and inclusion. Inequality is not sustainable; exclusion leads to conflict.

The richest 85 people now have the same amount of wealth as half the world's population

The richest 85 people now have the same amount of wealth as half the world’s population

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Digesting ‘Food for thought’ – the post-2015 roadmap

November 20, 2014

Following informal discussions on modalities for the final phase of negotiations on the post-2015 agenda, the Kenyan and Irish co-facilitators have released a ‘food for thought’ paper which outlines the shape of the year ahead. It’s framed as a think-piece and so open to change, but holds some important jigsaw pieces. While outstanding questions are still to be answered, it nonetheless allows us to start to piece together the puzzle of 2015. January to June is the final window to influence, before a series of high level summits decide our global development trajectory for the coming decades. Below is an analysis of the key points.

Updated roadmap with confirmed dates - 09/12/2014

Updated roadmap with confirmed dates – 09/12/2014

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Accountability in the post-2015 agenda: from the known to the unknown

November 19, 2014

A common mantra in educational theory is ‘moving from the known to the unknown’. Popularised by psychologist Herbert Spencer it posits that, in approaching a complex subject, individuals are largely influenced by what is already known to them from experience of their immediate environment. Effective learning starts with the concrete, moving to the abstract.

Could this simple principle be applied to the accountability framework for the post-2015 development agenda?

There has been a concerted call for the monitoring and accountability framework to be an integral part of the Post-2015 development agenda and not an after-thought.  But the debate is still polarised on what sort of accountability framework will deliver for people in poverty. Should there be a totally new accountability framework, or should we start from the known and move to the unknown?

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Where will the money come from for sustainable development?

October 10, 2014

Yesterday I attended the presentation of the OECD Development Co-operation Report 2014: “Mobilising Resources for Sustainable Development“. The report can be seen as positioning itself as a key reference for the UN Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa next year and is well worth a read.

It is unashamedly optimistic, arguing that “there is plenty of money in the world that could be used for development”, and that what we need to do is to mobilise these resources and ensure there is the right political environment for them to be used well. There is a certain inevitability that much of the debate around the report will focus on where the money will come from, but that would be to miss some of the more transformative elements.

I will look briefly at where the money for development will come from, but then turn to the more important questions of what the money should be used for, and what else needs to be done to ensure the increased resources make a difference. (more…)

Welcome to the Data Revolution Advisory Group – but will it be a revolution driven by people?

September 10, 2014

A warm welcome to Ban Ki-Moon’s new independent expert advisory group on the data revolution. While the data revolution conversation has been bubbling away over the last year, it’s been difficult to see how it will be brought into the official post-2015 process. With the announcement of the expert group, that missing piece of the puzzle has become clearer. The group will be tasked to input to the UN SG’s much anticipated Synthesis Report, providing input into the fourth chapter on the accountability framework (the other three covering the background, goals and targets proposed by the OWG, and financing).

Benita, 4 years old, from Ruyenzi, Rwanda uses a phone

Benita, 4 years old, from Ruyenzi, Rwanda using a mobile. How will her voice be heard in the data revolution?

So far, so good. But looking at the press release, a couple of questions occurred to me. As I’ve previously pointed out, the data revolution is in danger of missing out on the key constituency who are meant to benefit most from the collective endeavour to create a global development agenda: the very people who on a daily-basis experience poverty, injustice, discrimination and exclusion. Yet reading through the list I failed to spot anyone who would obviously champion this perspective. When the Secretary General High Level Panel was formed in 2012, Graҫa Machel, among others, supported the perspectives of people living in poverty, and many Panellists reached out to engage with different groups.

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