Can we address imbalances of power in cross-sector partnerships?

By Dr Cheryl Freeman, World Vision Senior Director for Advocacy

What does effective collaboration look like when a nutrition programme for children involves a government health department, a UN agency, and local and international NGOs? Is it even possible for these partners to work together collaboratively and effectively when such different levels of influence exist?

Let’s examine the above scenario, which happened in a rural town in Malawi, where World Vision was working with community volunteers to improve children’s nutrition. Using different approaches, a local NGO, the Ministry of Health, the Red Cross and the World Food Programme (WFP) were also leading a variety of different interventions in this area. Each brought different strengths and abilities to the table.

The NGOs had strong relationships with the local community, WFP had great technical resources, and the government had the ability to make decisions on operations and approaches. Each was doing excellent work, but in parallel rather than together. How would these different assets and approaches, including the power imbalances, play out when everyone involved embarked on a collaborative project?

Before we answer that question, let’s explore the broader issue of who holds power – the ability to influence design, implementation and ongoing decision making of projects and programmes – in development partnerships. World Vision is currently advocating for a post-2015 development agenda that allows for cross-sector partnerships to flourish, and that will ensure these partnerships focus on reaching the most vulnerable children. However, in the discussion on what will replace the Millennium Development Goals, World Vision has observed concern regarding the potential unevenness of influence between partners in cross-sector partnerships (this and other potential issues and solutions are explored in the World Vision report Advancing the Debate).

Imbalances of power exist between organisations in all partnerships and at all levels. Which partner is on the ‘lesser end’ of the imbalance will, of course, vary from one setup to another. It’s important to note that concerns regarding inappropriate influence have been levelled at all sectors, including donor governments over developing countries through to corporations with perceived influence on the development of government policy. When an imbalance exists, it’s often the poor who are disadvantaged.

IMG_3377_0The good news is that unevenness of power can be managed and mitigated, while differences in approaches can be turned into advantages. This begins with strengthening the capacity of organisations from all sectors – business, civil society, UN and governments – so they are ‘fit to partner’.

Being fit to partner requires each organisation to be conscious of their level of influence and particular expertise – and to recognise the value others bring to the table. This is the starting point from which an agreement can be entered into that allows for a more even distribution of influence; and ultimately a partnership that is greater than the sum of its parts. If one group seeks to dominate a particular project or programme, it quickly reverts to a sub-contract like arrangement – and invariably the benefits for all partners are lost.

The opposite is also true. We are seeing progressive and well-intentioned companies working with governments and organisations with strong capacity – including strong contract negotiation capacity – and the ability to make sense of how to leverage business activities for sustainable development returns. In partnerships where all groups are able to bring their best, game changing opportunities are being realised.

Equally important to the success of partnerships is empowering people to hold governments, businesses and aid agencies to account. Accountability is fundamental to mitigating the risks of power imbalances. World Vision, for example, is currently supporting more than 411 programmes in 42 countries to implement the Citizen Voice and Action social accountability approach. This approach encourages discussion and helps to transform the relationship between government and citizens.

So how might this work in practice? Returning to the example in Malawi, the partners adopted a partnership brokering approach. In the negotiations that followed, different levels of influence and expertise were recognised, while workshops were organised to explore the complementary contributions the partners could bring to a joint programme.

In so doing, ‘differences’ became ‘strengths’; reasons to work together. A revised, more effective approach and structure for working collaboratively with care groups has emerged. Ultimately each organisation had to adapt from its business-as-usual approach. Crucial to the negotiations was keeping an eye firmly on the agreed overall objective – improved nutrition for children.

Having recognised and brokered its way through the potentially disabling differences, including power imbalances, this fledgling partnership is now working cost effectively to tackle the crippling consequences of undernutrition – and most importantly, to save the lives of vulnerable children.

CF 5TAbout the Author
Dr. Cheryl Freeman is Senior Director for Advocacy & Justice for Children at World Vision International. During the post-2015 process, she has been focusing on the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships and is the co-author of three papers on their potential contribution to sustainable development.

Improving Ebola Response through Mobile Data


By Amy Sweeney, Director of Client Business Development, GeoPoll.

The Ebola crisis in West Africa has brought together aid organizations, governments, and private companies from all over the world who are donating resources and expertise to fight the spread of the disease – and although the outbreak is not yet over, progress is being made, with the lowest weekly total of new confirmed cases occurring the week up to April 5th.

But one of the most difficult things for these organizations to access has been data. Access to reliable data is imperative in humanitarian situations – it can track the spread of disease or disaster, helps on-the-ground workers track the awareness and perceptions of their response, and assesses long-term impacts after aid workers have left. However, in disaster situations data is hard to come by; countries most affected by crises often don’t have a robust system of data reporting, and it can be difficult for researchers to access areas due to disease outbreak, damaged infrastructure, or dangerous security situations.

In spite of these challenges, there are several ways technology and data have been brought together to fight the Ebola crisis– some organisations use mapping data to track spread of disease, others let people report Ebola-related issues through mobile phones. At GeoPoll, we have worked with organizations including the World Food Programme and Keystone Accountability to collect data through remote mobile phone surveys that can be used to help target aid distribution and inform on-the-ground workers of citizen perceptions. GeoPoll issues surveys through SMS or voice messages, allowing organisations to quickly gather information nationally or from key areas, which can then be viewed and analyzed in real-time.

WFP_Ebola_Sierra_LeoneWith the World Food Programme, GeoPoll has been conducting monthly surveys on food security in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Food insecurity is one of the biggest secondary risks of Ebola, as the disease has driven food prices up and made areas with high poverty rates even more dependent on outside aid.

Through remote mobile surveys, the World Food Programme was able to get a high-level understanding of the food security situation, finding that, especially in the Ebola epicenters, it was considered “severe” for many. In November 2014 WFP released the first report of data collected using GeoPoll surveys, reporting that the Reduced Coping Strategy Index, a way to measure the severity of the behaviors households engage in when faced with crises, was high in areas hit hardest by Ebola, including Kailahun and Kenema in Sierra Leone. Over 80% of respondents in these areas reported consuming less expensive or preferred foods, and 75% reported needing to reduce the number of meals per day and portion sizes due to a lack of food. The ongoing reports created from remote mobile surveys have been published by the World Food Programme’s mVAM unit, and data is being used to target aid and create awareness around the risks of food insecurity in crisis areas.

GeoPoll has also been working with Keystone Accountability’s Ground Truth Solutions team to survey citizens throughout Sierra Leone on the perceptions of the Ebola response and attitudes towards checkpoints, quarantine, and welcoming Ebola survivors back into communities. This information is crucial for on-the-ground workers, as it gives them a real idea of how citizens view their progress.

We have been collecting data weekly and bi-weekly since December 2014, and the data truly does reflect the situation in Sierra Leone. The week of 3 December, 70.8% of the 350 respondents said they believed the Ebola response was making progress against the spread of the disease. This percentage climbed up steadily as the number of new cases went down, and in the week of February 10th 86.5% believed the response was making progress. However, we saw this number decline to 80.2% in the week of March 10th, and 84.8% the week of March 26th.

Why is this? We found that the perceptions of the progress went down in early March as cases spiked in Freetown, and transport restrictions which had been stopped were reinstated. Other data points show that between 54-60% of respondents say people are worried about harassment at checkpoints, and over 70% report that people are scared to visit health facilities for non-Ebola related illnesses.

The value of this data is huge. One agency has used this data to request additional funding for quarantine supplies, and another has increased their investment in educational programmes surrounding the stigma of Ebola. In addition, it is an excellent example of sharing resources and partnering for more effective development, as both Keystone and GeoPoll have made the data publicly available on our websites so that other organizations can take advantage of the findings.

Data provides increased awareness and knowledge of humanitarian situations, and allows NGOs and governments to act quickly based on accurate, timely information. In keeping with effective development co-operation as defined by the Busan principles, such data helps create transparent and equitable development, as well as ensuring a strong focus on results.

As the Ebola crisis continues, and even after the current outbreak has subsided, data will show the global community long-term effects of the disease, and eventually will inform how governments, organizations and citizens can work together to manages crises better in the future.

amyheadshot2cropAbout the Author
Amy Sweeney is the Director of Client Business Development at GeoPoll, where she collaborates with potential clients and partners such as the World Food Programme, USAID, and implementing partners on incorporating mobile data collection into projects and programs. She previously worked at Chemonics International and spent four years in Central and Southwest Asia, serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan and working in Afghanistan and Turkey.

Financing for development and country ownership


By Goodall Edward Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development of Malawi and Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation Co-Chair

In July, the international community will come together in Addis Ababa to identify ways to provide the necessary resources to achieve our sustainable development objectives over the coming years. Taking place on the African continent, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development will provide an opportunity to ensure that the wide range of development resources available – including aid, partnerships with other actors, and our own domestic resources – can be harnessed effectively by developing countries to support our development priorities.

As Co-Chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (Global Partnership), I see a strong need to maintain a focus not only on how many resources we can raise, but to ensure they are employed effectively to support developing countries’ efforts. In January 2015, I co-chaired the 7th meeting of the Global Partnership’s Steering Committee in The Hague, which confirmed the importance of exploring better ways to use development finance tools, and the critical need for keeping the principles of effective development co-operation – country ownership, focus on results, inclusive partnerships, and transparency and accountability – front and centre of this year’s major discussions on Financing for Development and Post-2015 agenda.

At the 2015 World Bank Spring meetings, the Global Partnership held a side event on strengthening development finance, particularly from a partner country perspective. The meeting featured interventions from a range of developing countries, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Kenya and South Sudan, as well as the g7+ group of fragile states, as well as views from development partners including Development Initiatives, the Netherlands, Mexico, and UNDP. Discussions focused on how the principles of effective development co-operation can contribute to making better use of existing resources for development, as well as to leveraging more quality public and private finance to achieve sustainable development for all. Overall, the event highlighted the importance attached to the development effectiveness agenda – and particularly the centrality of country ownership – for implementing the post-2015 sustainable development goals.

This begins with keeping a focus on the commitments that have already been made to improve the effectiveness of Official Development Assistance (ODA). The first Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey in 2002 recognised the need to ensure that aid is delivered to produce maximum development impact at country level, through the harmonisation of co-operation providers’ procedures; efforts to untie aid ; and the use of development frameworks led by developing countries.

Efforts like those of the Global Partnership have helped spur progress in making development co-operation more effective in the past decade. In Malawi, for example, as part of its cloud-based Aid Management Platform, the government is using geospatial interactive maps to better understand development work, in terms of who is doing what and where. These data-driven, online maps correlate development activities by donor, type of work and poverty rates in Malawi’s 28 districts, thus helping ensure aid goes where it is most needed. Further progress is however required, calling for a collective international will to achieve development commitments.

Undeniably, development partnerships going beyond the traditional donor-recipient relationship will become increasingly important in the coming years. We will need to work with businesses, civil society, foundations, development partner governments from the South, and many more. Such partnerships will provide an immense opportunity to direct more resources to eradicating extreme poverty and promoting sustainable development – but their diversity also raises new challenges of co-ordination for developing countries. For us to take full advantage of these partnerships, we need to promote good practice so that these resources are deployed in support of our development priorities.

The surest way to promote country ownership is for us, developing countries, to mobilise our own domestic resources. At the January Steering Committee meeting of the Global Partnership, members agreed that the GPEDC will further explore how development co-operation can be scaled up, deepened and improved to strengthen institutional capacity for domestic revenue mobilisation, by improving tax transparency and accountability, and tackling tax avoidance and illicit financial flows.

Indeed, at the World Bank Spring Meetings side event, participants focused heavily on domestic resource mobilisation, calling for more support from co-operation providers to improve tax and revenue collection systems and capacity. Equally, the private sector needs to be kept in check to ensure that no one gets away with tax evasion and avoidance. There was repeated and clear recognition of the need for better and smarter quality development finance, beyond ODA, to achieve post-2015 objectives.

A strong commitment to progress in these areas should be a priority for the Addis Ababa conference.

Country leadership and ownership must be at the forefront of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The Global Partnership helps translate the principles of effective development co-operation into action on the ground. These principles are applicable to all forms of development co-operation, and the Global Partnership provides an inclusive platform for engaging all development stakeholders as equals.

goodall-gondweAbout the Author
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Edward Gondwe has had a long and distinguished career as an economist. Among other positions, he has worked at the Reserve Bank of Malawi, the African Development Bank and served in the IMF for 22 years. Since 2002, he has worked in the Government of Malawi, and in 2014 was appointed as Minister to Finance, Economic Planning and Development to head the amalgamation of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Planning and Development.

Social Dialogue: a “How-to” for social and economic development


By Wellington Chibebe, Deputy General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

The international development community and beyond has identified inequality as one of the main and growing challenges for development. Unemployment, especially among youth, has been recognised as a core source of increasing inequality, also driven by the expanding negative impact on economic and social development of the growing informal sector, particularly for women.

As an instrument of social and economic governance for development, social dialogue can contribute effectively to the development effectiveness agenda. It provides more ownership to people, in particular workers, helps to increase accountability and strengthen domestic policies, and contributes to the design and implementation of better redistribution policies. Social dialogue also facilitates social peace and is a forceful instrument for reconciliation and reconstruction.

Productive employment and decent work for all is inherent/indispensable to sustainable development, in particular in developing countries, as recognised by the Busan Partnership Agreement. In this sense, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) decent work agenda is particularly relevant to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (Global Partnership) when we become explicit about its four pillars, employment creation, workers’ rights, social dialogue and social protection. Particularly interesting to highlight with regard to the core principles of the partnership as well as the priority themes the Global Partnership has identified as its core work, is the “social dialogue.”

Stakeholder engagement/multi-level partnerships

Social dialogue refers to all types of negotiation, consultation or exchange of information between representatives of employers, workers and governments on issues generally relating to economic and social policy. It can take place from within a particular industry or between industries, from local to national or regional level.
It can produce various outcomes from collective agreements, such as international framework agreements, to national tripartite acts like the Indonesian jobs pact. According to the International Labour Organization, effectively implementing economic and social (development) policies requires three instruments of good “governance”:

  • Social Dialogue,
  • Labour inspection and
  • Economic Policy.

arton12986Because social and economic governance are critical when defining and implementing development strategies, social dialogue has been identified as one of the strongest and most effective instruments to deliver on these principles, by directly involving the institutions, and actors within these institutions, governing the economic and social spheres. Development policies should be based on genuine democratic ownership, inclusiveness, accountability and oriented towards results.

Examples from all over the world show how social dialogues help the most vulnerable people. In India, trade unions have organized rural informal workers into rural workers’ unions, with 172,270 members in 2011. The Indonesian transport workers union has reached out to informal sector workers to enhance their economic and occupational protection. Self-employed Nicaraguans now have a resource to protect their rights when working with employers and local government. (ILO 2013)

A tool for policy design and implementation

Social dialogue is not pre-ordained and requires both the political will and an environment that welcomes it. As a prerequisite, it has to allow both workers and employers representations to exist and function equally and effectively. This begins with respect for fundamental freedoms of right to association and right to collective bargaining, representative and independent employers and workers organizations, sound industrial relations practices, functioning labour administrations, including labour inspection, and respect for the “social partners” (understood as workers and employers organizations) as the other building blocks of social dialogue.

Effective social dialogue can strengthen economic and social governance, stimulate inclusive growth and combat inequality. It can foster stable and peaceful societies through social cohesion and dispute resolution, while also enhancing accountability and democratic ownership.

An increased orientation towards the role of private sector in delivering sustainable development and the enduring focus on economic growth, coupled with increasing concerns about social and income inequalities, make social dialogue indispensable. Social dialogue and functioning labour markets instruments, (e.g. minimum wages, employment protections like unemployment insurance, collective bargaining or negotiation between employers and workers ) are effective tools for reducing inequality, in terms of income and social protection, health and education provisions and public goods in general. In this way, social dialogue with supporting legislation can help reduce the gap between productivity and salaries.

In many conflict-afflicted areas, reconstruction and reconciliation are key to community and state building. In many post conflict situations and countries transitioning to democracy, social dialogue has proven to be a powerful tool to stabilise social relationships. It can pave a way forward by bringing around the table economic and social actors and governments. Examples of South Africa, Tunisia, Indonesia and many countries in the post-Soviet Eastern Europe show how social dialogue has been at the heart of transitions to democratic and free societies.

In Angola, social dialogues have played an important part in the country’s recovery from a 27-year civil war, and have helped face a number of challenges in the resource extraction sector. In May 2010, President dos Santos established a National Council for Social Dialogue consisting of Government ministries, the trade unions UNTA and CGSILA, as well as the Angola Industrial Association and Angola Chamber of Commerce, representing the employers’ side. (NORAD 2011)

Rights, legislation and policies alone do not guarantee implementation and positive development results. Participatory accountability mechanisms need to be in place in order to ensure effective implementation and to allow for different interests to be reconciled and strategies to be adjusted for improved development outcomes. Social dialogue elevates economic and social accountability from the national to the local and enterprise level, and facilitates monitoring and adjustment in view of improving effective and adequate implementation of strategies and measures.

In light of the important part social dialogue may play in the Post-2015 development agenda, a joint “partnership on social dialogue” with the Global Partnership stakeholders would provide a relevant “how-to” instrument of economic and social development, particularly in the current context of the growing role of the private sector. Bringing together various actors under the aegis of the Global Partnership to explore ways to learn from and promote social dialogue at a global level and in individual donor and partner country, efforts in cooperation could go a long way in achieving some of the commitments made since the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

About the Author:  Wellington Chibebe was elected Deputy General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in 2011. Prior to taking up that position, he served as Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). He joined the ZCTU in 2001 having previously served as President of the national Railway Workers’ Union, which he joined in 1988 after serving his apprenticeship as a diesel plant fitter. Wellington Chibebe represented Zimbabwe’s trade union movement on numerous occasions at the annual ILO International Labour Conference and various other major international meetings. A champion for democracy and development, he was awarded the inaugural Arther Svensson International Award for Trade Union Rights by the Norwegian Chemical Workers’ Federation in 2010. In 2014, Wellington Chibebe was re-elected as ITUC Deputy General Secretary.

This post was originally published in Devex.

How the Green Climate Fund can help Bangladesh address climate change challenges


By Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary of Economic Relations Division and National Designated Authority of Bangladesh to Green Climate Fund, Bangladesh


Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The poor and the marginal groups stand to suffer the most from adverse climate effects. Change in the climate is also having a disproportionately large impact on the life, property and livelihoods of poor groups in Bangladesh. The concerns and vulnerability of poor and vulnerable people should be the warp and woof of our strategy for implementing a climate resilient development pathway.

The investment required for undertaking adaptation and mitigation efforts is huge. As public sources for meeting this investment demand are inadequate, it is necessary that external funding and private flows, both domestic and international, bring complementary financial resources to bridge the gap. Yearly public sector funding in Bangladesh for climate change related programmes and projects reached approximately $800 million in FY14.

One of the remarkable successes of Copenhagen Climate Summit (COP-15) in 2009 was securing firm funding commitments for climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. Developed countries at that meeting agreed to provide ‘new and additional’ resources to the tune of $100 billion per annum by 2020 with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation. Consequently, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established in COP-16 in 2010 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The fund will be available for member countries coping with and adapting to the effects of climate change. The governing board of the GCF has decided to use its funds equally for adaptation and mitigation purposes on 50/50 basis. The GCF aims to mobilise $200 billion by 2020.

The recent UNFCCC process has reinforced the importance of strong national climate strategies as well as in-country institutional structures, and there were strong urgings within these discussions on “direct access.” These discourses have made me share my personal thoughts in the context of GCF, while my organisation (ERD, Ministry of Finance) has been nominated as National Designated Authority (NDA) of Bangladesh to the fund. Direct access to climate fund is a long-standing expectation of Bangladeshi institutions, as this also demonstrates recognition of the strength of our national institutions in global standard. As NDA of Bangladesh for GCF, I have been looking at the matters very carefully, and found that the process of direct access is difficult and challenging, but also brings opportunities for institutional capacity development.

climate-change_5GCF is expected to play a key role in channeling new, additional, adequate and predictable financial resources to developing countries. The GCF is different from many other global funds as it will be scalable and flexible in nature; it is meant to maximise the impact of adaptation and mitigation actions in a way that transforms the business-as-usual development, while bringing environmental, social, economic and development benefits in a more inclusive and gender-sensitive way.

Bangladesh is a member of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, and a sitting member of the Global Partnership Steering Committee. As such, our country continues to stress the strong need to use effective development co-operation principles, including country-owned development, a focus on results and inclusive partnerships, in our daily co-operation with national and international partners. These principles must also help guide the global discussions this year on Financing for Development and the Post-2105 agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as how Bangladesh will work with the GCF.

The GCF provides a clear example of how using effective development co-operation principles can support country driven development to produce results that impact how Bangladesh will be able to continue to fight poverty with the added challenge of climate change, now and in the future. As established at the first Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey in 2003, and to be continued this July in Addis Ababa, development co-operation must use frameworks that are led by developing countries to be masters of their own growth and development.

The GCF will start to receive project/programme funding from least developed countries, Small Island Developing States and African states from June 2015. The Bangladeshi government is keen on accreditation of its potential National Implementing Entities (NIE) with GCF so that accredited NIEs can start implementing climate change projects immediately. NDA is trying hard to support the national entities so that a few of the national institutions are accredited to GCF and direct access is significantly enhanced.

The NDA recently organised a workshop, at which 14 national entities reviewed their capacity self-assessment with the direct guidance of GCF representatives and an international experts. We are very encouraged by the interest of the national institutions, and the way they are stepping up to get ready for accreditation is highly appreciable. However, the process is challenging and there are opportunities to gain direct access to GCF. We need to take a pragmatic path in accreditation process. I will highlight a few steps here.

Institutional Capacity
The first and most important step should be improving institutional capacity in the area of environmental and social safeguard policy and practices. We have Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) guideline, which is widely practiced both in public and private sector projects, and this EIA includes social safeguard issues as well. However, we need to improve our EIA practices at both project and programme level.

Create an Enabling Environment
The second step will be to enhance the fiduciary standards and project management capacities. This might demand strong efforts as the fiduciary standards needed might not be seen within one entity, as we follow a wider institutional architecture in fiduciary risk management of our public funds, where auditor general’s office, accounts department, finance cell of different ministries, internal audit and monitoring process of different institutions, implementation, monitoring and evaluation by IMED and accountability through public accounts committee play critical roles, and all these needs to be factored. Therefore, the task is not easy and the capacities need to be properly articulated, maintained, recorded and presented in favour of the fiduciary standards in the accreditation application process. We also need to be frank and self-stimulating in meeting the gaps, if any, in the self-assessment process.

Ensure well-planned programming
The third, and in my view most critical, step is to have well designed and credible bankable projects or programmes to be forwarded to GCF for funding. We have a significant number of project ideas developed by different ministries. These ideas will be translated into bankable projects for submission to GCF. This requires further effort and will probably be the most important task before us in the near future to get access to GCF.

I am hopeful that Bangladesh will be able to directly access funding from GCF in the near future. I am optimistic about the potential of GCF in transforming the development landscape in addition to the development aid that we get under ODA.

Senior_secretary_ERDAbout the Author: Mohammad Mejbahuddin is the Senior Secretary of Economic Relations Division and National Designated Authority of Bangladesh to Green Climate Fund, Bangladesh.

This post was originally published in the Daily Star newspaper in an edited format.

Local priorities to tackle economic development challenges and fight poverty


By Nomveliso Nyukwana, Mayor of Emalahleni, South Africa

How can we empower local governments as leaders of development? Before answering this important question, I wish to first address why local governments should be leaders of development strategies.

We have heard it many times before: the future is local. Developmental challenges are most evident at local level. Take, for example, my own municipality of Eastern-Cape Emalahleni Local Municipality in the South-East of South Africa. My country might meet some of the Millennium Development Goals targets as a result of the national average, but we still have much to do to tackle extreme poverty in my own area. I am really worried about opportunities for youth and for vulnerable groups in our municipality. The issue of unemployment, as well as the need for housing, is particularly problematic in my Emalahleni.

Local governments must respond to the development challenges of our citizens. Our municipality’s task is to think about innovative ways of job creation and food security. We need to localise our production, to ensure that for every product we produce, we are able to process it locally. A value chain within the municipality needs to be created.

These are absolute priorities for Emalahleni municipality. But sustainability is an issue. Projects are being started and concluded, but continuity is hardly ever ensured. I can even say that the funding itself is not the main issue for development in my municipality, but it is crucial to ensure that we, as a municipality, and with the support of our development partners, train our inhabitants and maintain skills within our territory. As a municipality, we cannot employ all inhabitants, so many capable people with entrepreneurship skills leave if we don’t provide them with opportunities. Our integrated development planning needs to initiate projects that can create sustainable jobs. If we manage to localise the production, we can create opportunities for entrepreneurship that will not depend on employment by the government.

Local governments take a leading role in development strategies

6375619585_f857c553c0_bLocal governments are on the frontline of dealing with development challenges and identifying solutions to these challenges. It is therefore only natural that they should lead development strategies for their areas.

In Emalahleni municipality, for example, it is important that we ensure education in relation to the economic demand of the area and at the same time, work on the region’s ability to attract businesses. This can also be done in partnership with development partners and our central government, but we at local government level need the capacity to create dialogue with these stakeholders.

In order to empower local governments to seize their role in development strategies, I think it is crucial to strengthen their capacities. Cross-sectoral concerns can be addressed by consultations between the national, provincial and city level officials in the areas of health, environment, housing, and others to ensure co-ordination. I believe that this vertical co-ordination and co-operation currently gets too little attention in South Africa. Strengthening local governments is crucial to achieve the development goals. A top down approach by central government can result in development policies that are ill-adapted to local needs and contexts.

How to strengthen capacities
There are various ways to strengthen local government capacity. Programmes implemented by the national government can strengthen decentralisation, possibly supported by international donors. Individual support can also come from partner local governments in the region or other parts of the world.

Emalahleni municipality is supported through the Local Government Capacity Programme, managed by VNG International, the international co-operation agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG). This type of co-operation, in which Dutch municipal experts from the City of Dordrecht (Netherlands) partner with experts from our municipality, complements other relevant support. The co-operation focuses on local economic development, a very important matter for my municipality, as I mentioned earlier.

I have found that this type of peer-to-peer decentralised co-operation has a high degree of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability in comparison to other development co-operation programmes. The themes and issues addressed in the co-operation initiatives are based on the key priorities for the municipalities involved and on long-term relationships, which are based on trust, transparency and good dialogue.

I think it is very important that this instrument of local government development co-operation be recognized as one of the ways to reach the post-2015 development goals.

United Cities and Local Governments

The global organisation of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), along with the local government associations of Canada (FCM) and the Netherlands (VNG International) have set up a group of UCLG Champions on Development Co-operation. This group of mayors from different continents aims to boost recognition for the role of local government development co-operation at all levels. I, as mayor of the municipality of Emalahleni in South Africa, am part of this group. My electorate and my municipal council understand and advocate for the important role that local governments play in development.

Within the steering committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, I believe we should focus on the way in which we ensure that local governments be seen as full partners in the definition of national development strategies. This should also be subject to monitoring of the Global Partnership. Also, I am sure that our challenges are shared by many other local governments. Let us share approaches, to ensure effective solutions for better development.

ChampionNyukwana.jpgAbout the Author
Nomveliso Nyukwana is mayor of Emalahleni Municipality, South Africa, since 2011, after serving many years as a councillor. Since 2012 she has been appointed as UCLG Champion on Development Cooperation for the global organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The UCLG Champions are supported by the UCLG Capacity and Institution Building Working Group, which has its secretariat within the International Co-operation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG International). For more information contact

Six Ways to Strengthen Links Between Effective Development Cooperation and the Financing for Development Agenda















Brief Overview of Development Finance in the Asia-Pacific Region

By Rolando G. Tungpalan, Undersecretary for Investment Programming, National Economic and Development Authority
Government of the Philippines

The Asia-Pacific region has a strong history of collaboration via regional mechanisms to strengthen institutions that support and are supported by effective development cooperation. For instance, countries within the Pacific Islands Forum have committed to a peer review of country systems, as well as expenditure and accountability assessments, to ensure greater progress in MDG completion and guarantee that development outcomes are tracked, planned, budgeted, and monitored.

Given this focused regional atmosphere, Asia-Pacific countries are positioned to continue to contribute to development financing and the post-2015 development agenda, particularly in terms of providing linkages between on the ground realities and global policy dialogue. In preparation for the Third Global Conference on Development Financing, over 120 delegates from 24 countries including representatives of government, civil society, the private sector, came together in Manila in March to work together to strengthen connections between effective development cooperation and the Financing for Development agenda in the Asia-Pacific.

PH_topBy focusing on the “how” of achieving the Busan Principles and the eventual Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in Manila, Asia-Pacific leaders worked together to reinforce the importance of strong, transparent, and integrated national systems to enhance the planning and budgeting of all finance flows for better development results.

The regional meeting provided the following six key recommendations for strengthening the use of country systems:

  1. National development priorities should continue to guide international development flows. As maintained by the Busan Principles, country-led development means that cooperation must support country goals.
  2. The use (and strengthening) of country systems is essential to financing the means of implementation for the SDGs: country systems lead to country-led development.
  3. Civil society, the private sector, and all development partners must be at the table to support Integrated National Financing Framework at the country level.
  4. Open and transparent data at the country level must inform decisions within Integrated National Financing Frameworks. Using such data in decision-making will limit inefficiencies that create further challenges to developing countries.
  5. Countries must also be accountable for monitoring of financing for SDG implementation. The linkage must be made to the national processes, with regional and global processes leading the post-2015 dialogue.
  6. South-South Cooperation should guide partnership within the Integrated National Financing Frameworks so as to take full advantage of the myriad of economic, social, technical, and other knowledge resources from Southern countries.

The Philippines: Strengthening Ties Between Effective Development Cooperation (EDC) and the Financing for Development (FfD)

The Philippine country context provides an important input to regional dialogue surrounding the changing nature of development finance. National reforms in the Philippines have resulted in stronger links between development planning, budgeting, and institutional frameworks to mobilize more effective uses of development finance, the effect of which is evident in increases in domestic revenue as well as declining reliance on external borrowing and ODA. In addition, ongoing reforms undertaken by the Philippines have resulted in a stronger link between the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and the development budget, and a robust institutional framework to mobilize and more effectively use diverse flows of development finance.

To this end, a Development Finance and Aid Assessment (DFAA) was commissioned by the Government of the Philippines through the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to take stock of current development finance, and its successes and lessons learned.

The study’s outcomes found an increasing reliance on DRM and more efficient financial markets as important sources of development financing in the future. The DFAA also suggests that the Philippine government will be able to meet and perhaps surpass its fiscal deficit targets if it continues with the pace of fiscal reforms. Reliance on external borrowings and ODA are expected to continue to decline and Public-Private Partnerships and foreign direct investment could become significant sources of development finance if the country succeeds in addressing regulatory and political risks.

Overall, the country has a strong outlook for development financing with several key issue areas of focus moving forward, including areas linked to the Busan Principles of country ownership, accountability, and focus on partnerships and results. Areas for future consideration include:

  • • Ensuring government ownership and accountability to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and using the PDP as a platform for better coordination of various donor CASs (Country Assistance Strategies);
  • • Improving the quality of the PDP with the increased use of evidence-based recommendations in selecting and prioritizing policies and interventions;
  • • Increasing dialogue with donors to examine how their CAS contributes to the Philippines’ own national development priorities and formulating a development cooperation strategy to identify further synergies between government and donor development initiatives;
  • • Promoting discussion around improving the role of bilateral and multilateral donors in the provision of key public goods such as disaster prevention, post-disaster rehabilitation, and post-conflict transition;
  • • Intensifying the use of ODA as a catalyst for attracting private capital to finance certain public goods; and
  • • Providing the NEDA Monitoring and Evaluation Staff with technical training from institutions and various other Southern countries to further build in-house monitoring and evaluation capacity.

These focus areas lend further support to the recommendations made at the Manila Regional Meeting that the principles of Effective Development Cooperation remain relevant as supporters of development financing and sustainability as articulated in the post-2015 agenda.

DDG RGT 4Mr. Rolando G. Tungpalan is the Undersecretary for Investment Programming of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of the Government of the Philippines. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and the Asia-Pacific Community of Practice on Managing for Development Results (APCOP).

How data could help Tanzania’s young informal workers


(Photo credit:  Alessandro Capurso / CC BY-NC-ND)

By Dilhani Wijeyesekera, former Country Director Restless Development Tanzania.

Tanzania is facing a youth unemployment crisis. The World Bank has reported that around 900,000 young people enter the country’s job market annually, but only 50,000 to 60,000 formal sector jobs are created each year. With more than 66% of the population under 25, this job shortage will keep rising. On the flipside, young people are adapting to their situation and increasingly seeking work and opportunities to make money in the informal sector. A study of young people across seven regions of the country, found that 75% of participants earned their main income through the informal sector with most earning around the poverty line.

What are the government and private sector doing in Tanzania to ensure young people can provide more for themselves and their households? How can they achieve a dividend for growth and development through the country’s young and energetic population?

Although Tanzania’s national poverty reduction strategy emphasises employment for women and young people, as yet there are no specific policies to directly support and protect young informal workers. Instead, Tanzania’s economic development and job creation efforts focus mostly on promoting large-scale infrastructure projects and strengthening the formal private sector. In addition, while services to develop small and medium enterprises are on the rise in Tanzania, most young Tanzanians sit well below the qualifying standards to access the micro-credit and loans they provide.

So what’s data got to do with all of this? As we focus on growth and development, how can open data help us to ensure young people are not being left behind? A key government instrument on the labour market is the Employment & Earnings Survey. However, it focuses heavily on the formal sector and currently does not include analysis of the youth informal sector, nor wage earners in seasonal smallholder agriculture. Of 9,431 businesses it consulted in 2012, less than 1% of its sample came from the 15-24 age group according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Over the last year, Restless Development has been working with grassroots networks of young people – dubbed ‘Kijana Wajibika’ (Youth Lets be Responsible!) – across fourteen regions of the country to ensure their voices are heard in the constitutional review process, and to create spaces for dialogue between young people and their leaders. A major theme coming out in the project’s participatory learning is that young people’s major concern for the future is their livelihoods, and their government’s accountability to provide a better environment to help this grow. The government has a key role in regulating access to land, business development services, and similar. I was talking to a young entrepreneur in our network a few weeks ago, and he shared some of the challenges with me: “To register my business in Mbeya, I need to travel to Dar to get the paperwork done. The registration costs are really high. After that, I’m faced with government audits for a business ten times my size. For those few of us who understand the rules, we just don’t bother to imagine growing and prefer to stay small.”

We at the youth-led development agency Restless Development want Tanzania’s national and local policies and actions on economic development to consider the informal economy and meet young people’s needs. In participatory research, young people in Tanzania have identified the trend of their increased movement into the informal economy as one of their greatest development challenges. That’s why we have chosen to focus on Tanzania in the first phase of the Big Idea, a new programme to support youth-led, data-intensive accountability. The programme is listed as one of the Voluntary Initiatives of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, driving on-going efforts to meet the Busan commitments on effective development co-operation and move into new areas such as open data for development, enhanced accountability and youth as partners for development.

In developing the Big Idea, we analysed why many well-intentioned projects hoping to unlock accountability through better data fall short of expectations. We believe this is partly because too little attention has been paid to ensuring that citizens and their organisations have the capacity and confidence to work with data and turn it into evidence for advocacy. We also believe that accountability is fundamentally about growing the relationships between citizens and governments, and expanding not only the space for participation, but growing the capacities and comfort levels of all parties involved to work together.

To get to that point, our district-level informal youth-led groups aim to work with national partners to reach around 2,000 young people. With training and mentoring, they will develop key questions of enquiry, pull together official data on young informal workers in Tanzania, and gather new data through community consultations. By bringing the two evidence bases together, they will build a clearer picture of the conditions for and priorities of young informal workers in Tanzania. Participants will then carry these messages into policy dialogues that will deepen their relationship with decision makers, focusing on areas where consensus can be expanded. From our experience in Tanzanian communities since 1998, we expect to see many young people creating their own community solutions to the challenges they find in collaboration with their community leaders and local governments.

The Big Idea programme is at an early stage, and we know that Tanzania is not alone in facing problems of youth unemployment and a growing informal sector. The World Bank’s 2014 report, Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, states that ‘informal is normal’, and a new study by International Labour Organisation on Labour Market Transitions of Young Women and Men in the United Republic of Tanzania, found youth informal employment in Tanzania to be at 78%. As well as Tanzania, we are also testing our Big Idea programme with youth-led, data-intensive accountability projects in Ghana and Nepal. We are also looking ahead to the Sustainable Development Goals to be decided upon late 2015, advocating that they should include a distinct goal on governance, which should support young people’s participation in governance at a national and global level.

In Tanzania, Ghana and Nepal, we hope to develop and test a model that could have potential wider replication in many other contexts where youth exclusion and youth poverty are barriers to development. We’ll be documenting and sharing our learning, and hoping to inspire others Please follow our progress on the Big Idea webpage as we go along, and get in touch if you want to know more about our work in Tanzania.

RestlessDevAuthorDilhani Wijeyesekera served as Restless Development’s Country Director in Tanzania from February 2011 to December 2014. She is now a Global Director at Restless Development.

Korean social enterprises go global

By Jeong Tae Kim, CEO and President of MYSC and Executive Director of Social Enterprise Network

Social enterprises – businesses that prioritise human and environmental benefits equally to profits – are effective vehicles to achieve development goals as their market-based approaches bring sustainability and scalability that are essential to create long-term impact.

South Korea’s social enterprise ecosystem has grown rapidly in recent years. Following the country’s new Social Enterprise Promotion Act of 2007, we now see many Korean social ventures creating impact in various ways, with many aiming to achieve development goals while conducting business activities in developing countries.

Koreans’ interest in bottom-up approaches to development is closely linked to our country’s own unique development experience via the ‘New Village Movement’ of the 1970s. This was a pan-national movement focused on rural development. The central government provided equal amounts of cement to each community, encouraging communities to initiate development projects of their choice. Those that successfully accomplished projects through their own residents’ efforts and investment were rewarded with more resources for cooperative work. The programme is widely considered to have contributed to the development and modernisation of Korean society as a whole. Many Koreans feel proud of the development they achieved in such a short time frame and are willing to spread this spirit and experience to neighboring countries.

This bottom-up approach can tie in with the growing interest in social enterprises from both the public and private sectors. If both sectors want to engage with each other, can there be a mutually beneficial mechanism that reflects the nature of each sector? This is the beauty of social enterprises and social ventures, which act as vehicles for public-private partnerships. In this context, both Korea’s public and private sectors are increasingly seeking opportunities to support social enterprises to accomplish their respective goals.

Inclusive development partnerships are a core principle of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation launched at the 2011 High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea. This way of cooperating poses interesting challenges to traditional development players such as governments and civil society organisations in cooperating with other development actors, including the private sector. How can the private sector be engaged in development activities? And how can the quality of public-private partnerships be measured?

From the private sector perspective, developing countries have increasingly been recognised as a new market. The four billion people living on less than $2 a day, those at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) , have been perceived as a market in which businesses can earn profits through innovations in technology, business models, and managing procedures.

Along with this motivation, many Korean companies are also under strong pressure from their communities and society to support development impact, including by designing Corporate Social Responsibility or Creating Shared Value strategies. MYSC, Korea’s first social innovation-focused consulting firm, advises its private sector clients to invest in social enterprises as part of these strategies, and we look forward to seeing more trial cases in the near future. Among Korean conglomerates, Hyundai has active global Creating Shared Values programs; it established automobile technical high schools in Ghana, Indonesia, and Cambodia in partnership with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) to create stable jobs for local youth.

socialEnt-KoreaLast October, KOICA collaborated with the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency to launch an incubator programme for Korean social entrepreneurs. MYSC is now training six teams sent to Cambodia and Vietnam to develop their business models.

This programme is symbolic of KOICA’s use of Official Development Assistance to leverage business activities contributing to development and is promoting social businesses such as a cooperative to produce construction materials from urban waste and a K-pop performance team composed of local unemployed youth.

Along with these businesses, social enterprises in Cambodia and Vietnam are supporting the countries’ development goals, such as increasing employment and protecting the environment while carrying out urban development.

The Korea Social Enterprise Promotion Agency has also added a global section to its annual social entrepreneurship incubator programme to support entrepreneurs wishing to launch their social enterprises in developing countries.

Through the Korea Development Bank’s Pioneer Village The Nanum (Sharing) programme MYSC trained ten teams of entrepreneurs to launch social businesses in Asian and African developing countries in 2013. Using MYSC’s ‘design thinking’ approach, the teams conducted in-depth field research in the respective countries to develop their businesses based on the actual needs of their target groups. Several of the teams are now running sucessful business, including ‘Tella’ which employs Ugandans to provide remote text-based English tutoring services to Korean customers. This fills a need in the Korean English education market while creating jobs that pay fair wages for well-educated jobless people in Uganda, which faces a high rate of unemployment for young adults.

Another Project, ‘Soul of Africa’ aims to support Kenyan and Tanzanian artists by protecting their intellectual property rights and purchasing their artworks to be sold at SoA’s gallery in Seoul at fair prices.

By promoting the successes and lessons learned via multi-stakeholder partnerships on the ground we hope that Korean social enterprises can help to inform how the private sector can play a key role in more effective development co-operation.

1411369782116.9.29-1Jeong Tae Kim is the CEO and President of MYSC and Executive Director of Social Enterprise Network (SEN). He has worked as Communications and Outreach Officer at the United Nations Project Office on Governance.

Business can be a partner for Myanmar’s shared prosperity

By Khine Khine Nwe, Joint Secretary General of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and member of Myanmar Investment Commission

Myanmar’s ongoing reform efforts include private sector development, helping the country create an attractive business environment for domestic and international investors. The country’s private sector is working with policymakers to develop its investment strategy, raise awareness about employee rights and ethical business, as well as to provide jobs and vocational training to vulnerable groups such as human-trafficking victims and many others.

Myanmar’s case encouraged experts at the Busan Global Partnership Workshop in November 2014 in Seoul, South Korea, to discuss how the private sector can partner for a country’s development.

Ms. Khine Khine Nwe, Joint Secretary General of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and member of Myanmar Investment Commission, discussed some ways for business to be a partner for Myanmar’s shared prosperity:


What is the private sector’s role in Myanmar’s development?

If the private sector grows, the country grows. I am glad that governments are now recognising that. We create income, jobs and wealth and help develop domestic resources. We all have the same goal as we want to move forward to see the nation grow and develop.

Myanmar has had positive developments during its transition period. More than 456,000 jobs have been created there since 2011, and new investment to the private sector is helping to develop the country, bringing new jobs for more of its 51.4 million people.

We now need to transform from a focus on profit to seeking ways to benefit the many. It is important that all business comes with responsibility – it should do good for society and no harm to the environment. The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (the Federation) is trying to raise awareness among all businesses, though we still have a lot of challenges.

In Myanmar, one way of encouraging the private sector to think about its role for the country’s development is through participation in the UN Global Compact. Some may see this as basically for promoting corporate social responsibility, but it is in fact about setting business principles for the private sector to be responsible for its contribution to development. In this sense, we are introducing the Global Compact’s 10 principles, which uphold the four pillars of human rights, labor rights, environmental protection and anti-corruption for Myanmar businesses.

We toured the country from early 2014 and now more than 150 enterprises have already committed to the Compact. We hosted the UN Global Compact summit in December in Yangon, to celebrate and mobilise the Myanmar Local Network – with the aim of making our way to a thousand plus members.

The Federation has also worked to sensitise the private sector on human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, anti-corruption and other issues. Myanmar Garment Human Resources Development Center has conducted awareness-raising sessions with the Center’s over 2,000 trainees and supported other enterprises in Myanmar to organise talks on the issues of human trafficking and HIV/AIDS, together with the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Department of Revenue also conducted national level workshops on taxation systems, as better tax collection will also boost funds for the country’s development.

I am not saying that what all of the private sector is doing is noble. We are all human beings and we are trying to contribute to the wellbeing of our country.

How can governments promote the private sector for development?

During the transitional period, the Myanmar Government tried to democratise political and economic reforms.

Last year, our country was ranked one of the most difficult places to do business. We came 182nd out of 189 countries in the World Bank Doing Business Report. That was quite alarming. The government established 27 delivery units in various Ministries and the Chamber of Commerce established 29 working groups, which are now talking on every issue to make things easier for businesses. For example, procedural constraints are not a major issue in the country any more and Myanmar moved up to 177th place in this year’s World Bank report.

We are preparing to host the Myanmar Business Forum in early 2015 to discuss all the issues that we cannot solve on the ground at this high-level forum to benefit all investors.

The new Myanmar Government is also trying to support the private sector with the new investment law. This will merge the two currently separate Myanmar domestic investment and foreign investment laws to become one in order to level the playing field between local and foreign businesses. Import and export trade barriers are also coming down as the government is trying to support the private sector.

How does the private sector work with other actors such as communities, government, local organisations to enhance the effectiveness of development in Myanmar?

For example, Myanmar is now planning three Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to help boost development. One is in Thilawa near Yangon, one in Dawei in the south of Myanmar, and the third in Rakhine State on the western coast.

In the sensitive area of Rakhine State, the Kyauk Phyu SEZ can help develop the area. If we teach people to focus on prosperity then eventually it can reduce the focus on tension there.

The SEZ should be environmentally sensitive and economically sustainable. The masterplan has already been released after multi-stakeholder engagement from a management team consisting of government, local authorities, community leaders, civil society, resource persons and the private sector.

There was initial resistance from local people in the Kyauk Phyu area due to lack of knowledge. They worried that SEZs did no good for the community and that they would occupy the region. But we showed the people the real SEZ area would be smaller than they imagined, asked them for more information about the area and told them more about its development.

Now, some of them already bought sewing machines with funding from the local government to be ready to start social businesses before launching the SEZ. These workers will get a certain salary from what they produce and invest back in the business to buy more machines and bring in more workers. This will eventually help transform job seekers into job providers.

How can the Global Partnership help Myanmar toward development effectiveness?

Global agreements on effective development must also meet local requirements. Myanmar is a least developed country, which means that development partners cannot come with a ready-made package for aid effectiveness. Least developed countries need time to adapt before adopting something like this. We need development partners to help us grow together within the local context, while speaking the same language.

Khine Khine Nwe is Joint Secretary General of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and member of Myanmar Investment Commission. She is also Deputy Managing Director of Best Industrial Company Ltd. She was part of Myanmar delegation to the 2014 Busan Global Partnership Workshop in Seoul, Korea, with her participation supported by the UNDP Myanmar Country Office.


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