We are on the ball: how to achieve the new global development goals


By Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands

We are approaching a critical year. In 2015 the international community is expected to reach agreement on a set of new goals for international development, as a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals. The new goals will address sustainability in the broadest sense and we will need to implement them as effectively as possible. And this is where I believe that the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation – which I co-chair – can make a big contribution.

Recent developments…

The Global Partnership aims to go beyond the traditional means and methods of development aid. Acting alone, states can no longer respond effectively to today’s development challenges, as these are becoming increasingly transnational and complex. States must not only cooperate more to tackle them; they must also work together with key partners from civil society, the private sector, local governments, regional organisations, trade unions, international and national development banks, and so on. These actors have indispensable knowledge and expertise that can make all the difference.

These new trends can also be seen in the way international development is funded. Development aid from governments still plays a key role, but it has to be complemented by alternative sources of finance. More and more, developing nations are working together. Or we cooperate with one developing country to support a third country in what we call triangular cooperation. And in recent years the private sector has also become a significant player in this area. Such investments make an important contribution to developing economies.

… have prompted a novel response …

The Global Partnership is a useful framework that functions as an umbrella for these and other developments. By acting like a broker and bringing together the various actors, both old and new, it identifies windows of opportunity for new partnerships. By sharing practical details on what works and what doesn’t, actors have access to a continuously evolving pool of best practices. And through international forums, we draw attention to the added value brought by these multi-stakeholder partnerships.

We work on the principle that stakeholders in developing countries take the lead in achieving development, while development partners provide the support. By opening its membership to all stakeholders involved, the Global Partnership is uniquely inclusive. This principle is reflected in our Steering Committee, which includes representatives of recipients, providers and recipient-providers of development assistance, as well as representatives of the private sector, parliaments, local governments, civil society, foundations, development banks, the UNDP and OECD. Best practice sharing and mutual learning between such a diversity of actors is essential in order to provide the most effective policy solutions to development challenges.

The Global Partnership proactively monitors its members’ progress on meeting their development goals. This fosters mutual accountability and learning. Our members hold each other to their commitments on a regular basis. Here too, countries themselves take the lead: monitoring relies on their own data and processes. In order for international development to have a lasting effect, it should be geared towards the local country context.

… that serves to strengthen the new global goals for development

Engaging a wide variety of actors in the spirit of true partnership; collecting best practices; holding each other to account, and in so doing making development co-operation more effective: this is what the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation can bring to the table when it comes to the new global goals for development.

FotoPloumenLilianne Ploumen is Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands. She is one of the three Co-chairs of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation along with Minister of Finance, Economic Planning & Development of Malawi, Goodall Edward Gondwe, and Foreign Affairs Secretary of Mexico​, José Antonio Meade Kuribreña.

Need to Enforce Mutual Accountability for Better Post-2015 Development Co-operation


By Taekyoon Kim, Associate Professor of Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University, South Korea

Accountability is a crosscutting pillar of the post-2015 development agenda. It is crucial to delivering development effectiveness, along with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their means of implementation.

Albeit among various frameworks and global partnerships for development, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation stands out in terms of devising ways to hold aid partners accountable.

The UN Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) has also been an enduring facilitator in shaping renewed partnerships for development co-operation, collecting vantage points for launching global accountability mechanisms to make sustainable development happen.

The Global Partnership is a multi-stakeholder partnership involving not only governments and international organisations but also non-state actors including CSOs. Even BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – emerging as non-OECD-DAC donors can be integrated into this open partnership. The Global Partnership’s architecture of global accountability not only goes beyond government-centred approaches but is designed as a true multi-stakeholder partnership where actors interact at both the country and international levels. Its vision of global accountability is based on combining existing country-level mechanisms with strong regional and global frameworks. But having more partners in development co-operation requires much clearer accountability to mark different participants’ mandates; otherwise buck-passing will become a problem.

We need to rigorously redefine accountability to prevent its utility from falling into mere political rhetoric without practicality. Such an effort can also make the Global Partnership more accountable and sustainable.



A new conceptualisation of mutual accountability can be explained by the following three components: responsibility, answerability, and enforceability.

First, responsibility is key to accountability in that those in authority must clearly define their duties and performance standards to enable transparent and objective assessment of their behaviour. Clear identification of who is responsible for what at the start of aid programmes also helps avoid confusion over who holds other partners to account for what throughout aid programmes.

Second, answerability requires public officials and institutions to justify their actions and decisions to those who are affected by them. In development, power relationships between individuals and state institutions, or between aid providers and programme partners are often asymmetrical. Enhancing information sharing transforms these asymmetries by empowering partner countries to better influence the aid-giving countries’ behaviour. Sharing information symmetrically also promotes quality of monitoring and evaluation.

Last but not least, enforceability requires public institutions to monitor public officials and institutions’ compliance with established standards, and to sanction officials who do not comply. They should also take appropriate corrective and remedial action when required. Enforcing accountability is not only about penalties, but also about ensuring that fair and systematic mechanisms assess partner countries’ compliance with agreed responsibilities. In this sense, enforcement mechanisms are the last resort for partner countries to hold each other accountable through inspection or rigorous oversight.

All in all, mutual accountability requires all three elements of responsibility, answerability, and enforceability to be organically connected. Thus, effective accountability requires steady and reliable information and communication between stakeholders as well as the means to impose penalties when required. In principle, any partner who violates standardised principles should be excluded from development partnerships.

However, international aid agencies and traditional donors that meet these three conditions are very rare. Indeed, it is not easy to satisfy them all simultaneously. They can do so by trying to be more open and attentive to serious complaints arising during programme implementation, by adapting to changing needs throughout aid programme cycles, and by complying with sanctions when their performances are properly inspected in accordance with complaints.

Enforceability is the most taxing element, mainly because both donors and recipients are reluctant to adopt mechanisms that may hold back their sovereign decisions. Aid recipients also tend to see all three components as a threat or organised shackles by which traditional donors aim to rule their behaviour. Nevertheless, excluding enforcement will render accountability mechanisms meaningless for holding partners accountable. It is unfortunate that both discussions on the Global Partnership and UN processes for the post-2015 agenda lack genuine consideration of how to enforce mutual accountability.

In a nutshell, the next round of inter-governmental processes for the post-2015 development agenda should include the three following aspects.

First, mutual accountability should operate not only at country-level, but also internationally. Discussion should harness ways to link country accountability processes with global mechanisms. Second, mutual accountability mechanisms must have full participation of networks representing parliaments, civil society organisations, local governments, businesses and even non-OECD-DAC donors such as BRICS countries. Third, enforcement mechanisms should be a prerequisite for mutual accountability at both country and international level.

In so doing, it is worth noting that a centralised enforcement institute, which can impose penalties on the rule impingement beyond state boundaries, would prompt political backlash from newly emerging donors or programme partner countries. It is also important to note that the overemphasis on enforceability could politicise aid effectiveness, while still fully acknowledging that enforcement mechanisms are required at the international level as a key to consolidating accountability. Therefore, more discussion is needed on how to align enforcement mechanisms between aid donors and partner countries for development processes post-2015.

In this regard, the Global Partnership already aims to provide a political space for development discussions on better enforcement mechanisms, on the basis of a multi-stakeholder partnership. The Global Partnership should take a further initiative to carry the resulting enforcement mechanisms to inform upcoming UN dialogues for the post-2015 era.

KimbioTaekyoon Kim is an Associate Professor of International Development at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), Seoul National University, South Korea. He can be contacted at: oxonian07@snu.ac.kr.

Enhancing Bangladesh’s development co-operation through AIMS


By Mohammad Mejbahuddin Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh

Globally, the data revolution is underway – offering both policy makers and ordinary citizens unprecedented new opportunities to make informed decisions. The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda, in its 2013 Report, drew attention toward a number of transformational shifts that will be required for inclusive sustainable development through enhanced global partnership. In order to translate this vision into reality, goals or targets relating to development efforts will have to be rigorously monitored to assess impacts. The Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG), in its A World that Counts Report published on November 6, 2014, underscores the need for data standards to facilitate openness, and specifically standards that accommodate open, disaggregated, accessible, timely and comparable data that caters to the needs of a wide range of users. This trend toward open data has gathered momentum following the realisation that transparency and mutual accountability are essential for effective development.

The issue came to the forefront during the third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra in 2008 and has been a prominent topic in the global aid effectiveness agenda since then. Keeping with this global trend, Bangladesh has become one of the few countries in the world to set up a locally developed online aid information platform called Bangladesh Aid Information Management System, or Bangladesh (AIMS) – a web-based software application that will help the country to track and manage its aid flows.

AIMS is a publicly accessible database that captures data on aid flows of a given country. This kind of online database helps both development partners and recipient countries to track where the aid is going, which groups in the society are getting benefits and what is being achieved. More importantly, it will provide a window into the channels of aid delivery and the overall quality of aid management in Bangladesh. The overall objective of such a database is to provide common aid data for government, development partners, CSOs and other stakeholders.

There has to be big bang for bucks if we want to have effective development partnerships. In order to make it happen, we need comprehensive, comparable, timely and easily accessible data on foreign assistance. This helps the government in coordination and planning while also allowing development partners to know how their assistance is being used for what purposes and the sector composition of investments. It helps civil society, media and academia to measure the quality of aid expenditure while critically analysing our efforts and providing pragmatic and honest suggestions to ensure better results of development partnerships. All of this will ensure a stronger impact of development efforts on the lives of the people. Transparency in aid management will also assist legislative oversights of public expenditure for development.

In the recent High Level Meeting on Effective Development Cooperation in Mexico earlier this year, countries reiterated to accelerate their efforts to fulfill the pledges made in various international forums to provide timely and forward-looking data so that the gains made on transparency at the global level get translated into real benefits at country level.

The same was also echoed in the “Joint Cooperation Strategy” signed in 2010 between the government of Bangladesh and major development partners. In addition, Bangladesh’s improvements in governance through the enactment of the Right to Information Act and the establishment of an Independent Information Commission has contributed to promoting data openness. Against this backdrop, Bangladesh decided to develop a home-grown, economical and technically robust database to manage aid.

BangladeshAIMS2There has to be big bang for bucks if we want to have effective development partnerships. In order to make it happen, we need comprehensive, comparable, timely and easily accessible data on foreign assistance.

It is satisfying to note that the response from our development partners since the establishment of AIMS is very encouraging. For the majority of donors on the system, we now have a quite comprehensive data set. It is expected that regular and timely data sharing on AIMS will ensure better availability of comprehensive, accurate and timely aid data to get a complete picture of aid flows. This will improve national budgeting and promote sector level alignment with national priorities spelled out in the 6th Five Year Plan.

Besides, through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a group of voluntary donors, recipients and civil society organisations has developed a global standard defining exactly the type of aid information that is needed to ensure effective development cooperation at country level. The Economic Relations Division with the support of IATI is preparing to implement automated data transfer in the near future.
Bangladesh aspires to become a middle-income country by 2021. To overcome the challenges of poverty, the core goal of our partnership should be achievement of substantive development results. It is essential that the development partners respect strong country ownership by ensuring alignment of their programmes with national priorities in different sectors and by using our country systems in respect of Public Financial Management (PFM) and Procurement. Sharing aid data through a national database is a part and parcel of ensuring country ownership.

Bangladesh AIMS is expected to play a key role in promoting effective development partnership in Bangladesh. It must be remembered that enhancing aid transparency and ensuring better aid management are joint responsibilities of the government and the development partners and by working together we can move faster towards that goal.

bangladeshbioMohammad Mejbahuddin is Secretary of the Economic Relations Division in the Government of Bangladesh and also a Steering Committee member of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. The article was first published on The Daily Star – an English language newspaper in Bangladesh.

Domestic resources enter the development co-operation spotlight


By Daniel Runde, Center for Strategic and International Studies

As we approach the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, it is clear that domestic resource mobilisation (DRM) will be a central part of the post-2015 conversation. Effective domestic resource mobilisation will allow countries to finance much of their own development, and reduce dependence on official development assistance and other forms of development co-operation.

“Domestic Resource Mobilisation” is the technical phrase for savings and revenue generated by households, domestic firms, and governments. Taxes collected, domestic savings, and remittances all count towards DRM, and in a number of emerging economies these sources account for a majority of the national budget. In fact, official development assistance, or ODA from wealthy countries, and South-South co-operation dollars should be reoriented in ways to support domestic resource mobilisation. Though DRM has been a part of the conversation since at least 2002, this has not often been done in the past.

Domestic resources already dwarf aid even to Sub-Saharan Africa, and this is unlikely to change. Africa’s domestic resource total rose from $137.5 billion in 2000 to $527.3 billion in 2012. Compare that to ODA totals headed to Africa of $15 billion in 2000 and $52.7 billion in 2012, and the point is clear. Accordingly, various organisations have started to identify DRM as a development priority. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an organisation under the umbrella of the African Development Bank, recently released the Africa Looks Within report, which identifies DRM as the defining factor in the next 50 years of African development. The report finds that “Official Development Assistance has helped, but will not deliver sustainable growth and development in Africa” and states that the continent has the resource base to support the development and implementation of its own domestic finance instruments.

Bountiful Harvest


Aid is no longer billed as the main protagonist in driving development. Instead, this role falls to the private sector and effectively governed states with their own resources.

The international community first focused on DRM when it was identified as one of the “six leading actions” following the 2002 Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, and it took a central role at the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea as well as the subsequent Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. Furthermore, a 2012 OECD report suggests that ODA is a catalyst for sustainable financing for development, rather than a means to development on its own. In other words, aid is no longer billed as the main protagonist in driving development. Instead, this role falls to the private sector and effectively governed states with their own resources. My strong bias is towards democratically governed states.

Given the scale of resources potentially available through tax systems, remittances, and domestic savings, it is paradoxical that official donors have done very little to support stronger and more effective mobilisation of domestic resources. Unfortunately, conversations about DRM almost immediately becomes very technical, and is less emotionally compelling than some other development issues, making it less exciting than other “it” topics. Focusing on its immense potential to increase transparency and efficacy of government, though, rather than the technical aspects of tax systems, is certainly worthy of excitement. Some large donors also may hesitate to focus on DRM given possible accusations that they are seeking to shirk their aid commitments.

This leads me to four takeaways from the recent Busan Global Partnership Workshop I attended in Seoul in November on the future of development co-operation and DRM.

First, developing countries will have to seek specific advice and assistance from official donors and other partners. Assembling a well-functioning regulatory and tax regime is a complex task– donors and multilateral agencies can bring experience, knowledge, and global best practice to help host governments tackle the challenge.

Second, donors should seek to increase assistance to tax systems, devise new ways to use remittances to finance projects (innovative examples from Ethiopia were cited at the workshop) and find ways to bring informal economic activity back into the formal sector. These challenges are worth additional efforts on diplomacy, trade policy engagement, and multilateral solutions.

Third, there was also a call for a greater understanding of the “size” of different parts of the DRM map—almost a mapping of DRM by country and region.

Finally, there was a sense that regional bodies could play important roles in looking at DRM.

For my day job and work at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), we will release in January a report on how official donors can support DRM. While I encourage you to read the full text, here are the three “bumper sticker” takeaways:

  • Place DRM and public financial management at the center of a renewed effort around good governance;
  • Increase commitments to DRM on a bilateral level and also to multi-donor trust funds or multilateral initiatives; and
  • Donors should tie use of local systems to a commitment to improve public financial management and tax systems in order to mobilise additional domestic resources.

  • RundeBioDaniel Runde is director of the Project on Prosperity and Development and holds the William A. Schreyer Chair in Global Analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He formerly served in leadership positions at the World Bank Group and the US Agency for International Development.

    Strengthening revenue collection to help finance economic growth and poverty reduction


    By Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs

    Improving governance—including the rule of law—and supporting stable investment and taxation environments are critical to economic growth and poverty alleviation. Countries need less aid when they can raise adequate revenue themselves to meet development goals.

    Global Financial Integrity estimates that outflows from developing countries due to tax avoidance and illicit financial flows amount to around US$1 trillion each year, which dwarfs global aid flows of $134 billion.

    Australia is committed to strengthening efforts to build revenue capacity and effective tax, governance and anti-corruption systems in developing countries. As part of this, we are building institutional linkages through our Treasury and Taxation Office and their counterpart authorities, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

    Youth centre

    Australia’s support is focused on long-term outcomes through strong and collaborative government‑to-government partnerships—this must extend beyond aid.

    This was one of the issues where good progress was made at the first High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation in Mexico in April.

    For example, Australia is working with Papua New Guinea to build institutional tax capacity, implement new automated tax systems, increase tax compliance and strengthen audit capacity. This includes assistance through the Australian Treasury, in partnership with Papua New Guinea, to undertake a General Tax Review in 2014.

    During Australia’s presidency in 2014, the G20 has continued to pursue reforms to make the international tax system more coherent and transparent, and to ensure tax is paid where economic activity occurs and value is created.

    In 2014, to assist developing countries to reap the benefits of these reforms, the G20 has:

  • strengthened our understanding of the impact of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) in low income countries or those with limited capacity;
  • developed a roadmap on steps developing countries can take to access information on profits and income held offshore by their taxpayers; and
  • agreed on a multi-year agenda for the G20 to assist developing countries to address international tax avoidance and evasion, and strengthen their tax systems.

    In addition, the G20 is contributing to global efforts to fight corruption, which undermines a government’s ability to mobilise domestic resources for development. For example, the G20 has developed high-level principles to improve the transparency of information on who owns and controls companies and other legal structures (known as beneficial ownership transparency). This will help prevent the illegal use of companies for money laundering, tax evasion or other illicit purposes.

    Looking beyond 2014, the G20 will work with international and regional organisations to develop toolkits that provide tailored approaches for developing countries to effectively implement reforms to combat profit shifting and tax avoidance. We will undertake additional work on related tax issues that developing countries raised as priorities during consultations, such as the effective use of tax incentives to attract investment.

    To help developing countries access more and better information about their taxpayers’ profits and income being held offshore, the G20 will also support developing country pilots on arrangements to automatically exchange tax information with other jurisdictions.

    The G20 will further strengthen these efforts to promote international tax transparency by identifying steps and taking concrete actions to implement the G20 High-level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency.

    I look forward to continuing to work with the G20, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation and our developing country partners on these crucial reforms. These form part of a broader package of support Australia will invest to help developing countries participate in, and benefit from, the G20 international tax agenda.

    bishop-portrait-high-resJulie Bishop is the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Australia’s Federal Coalition Government. She is also the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and has served as the Member for Curtin in the House of Representatives since 1998.

    New ways of working to reach the unreached children after 2015

    Return to Senzani - Saving Infants from the Effects Of AIDS

    By Mike Wisheart, World Vision International

    In a country with an abundant supply of fresh food, five-year-old Asha is lucky to be alive. A lack of awareness and access to the right nutrition at the right time in rural Tanzania robbed her of her sight, but thankfully not her life.

    Despite global progress in the last 15 years, millions of children like Asha still die or suffer life-long effects of poverty and under-nutrition every year. Out of sight, out of reach, out of mind, they are the often-invisible victims of two of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)’ failings – aiming to halve extreme poverty has seen a job half done; and measuring success through averages has failed to close the gaps in countries where the most vulnerable children live, and die.

    The post-2015 framework must not only build on the MDGs’ success, but go much further to finish the job, ensuring that invisible and unreached children feel the benefits of global development progress.

    World Vision believes the next set of goals must aim for zero; zero preventable deaths, zero violence against children, zero under-nutrition. We believe that achieving this is possible, but not by doing more of the same. New and innovative approaches are needed.

    Like the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, World Vision is committed to identifying practical actions to implement the post-2015 development goals. It is vital that the process gives significant consideration to how the new goals will be achieved, and in particular to engaging businesses as partners.

    Creating and strengthening links between groups who may have traditionally been seen as strange bedfellows is one way to achieve this. For example, partnerships between government and business, or other private sector actors and civil society, or between government, private sector and UN agencies, will help maximise development successes.

    World Vision is already involved in cross-sector partnerships at various levels. Nearly 2,000 frontline staff are working in a programme to systemically build and strengthen capacity for brokering collaborations. They are full of praise for the approach. “It builds ownership, capacity and contribution of resources,” said one. And another: “The response to our new approach has been overwhelming. When we did our action planning collaboratively, people were saying ‘I can provide this’, ‘I can provide that’. This wasn’t happening before.”

    Last year, World Vision and global science company working in nutrition, Royal DSM, began an ambitious partnership to tackle under-nutrition, starting in Tanzania, recognising that children like Asha continue to fall through the gaps. With a focus on fortifying maize flour with essential micronutrients, both organisations are leveraging expertise, resources, and reach.

    A recent World Vision study, including over 30 interviewees from government, business, civil society and the UN, explored two questions: (1) how targets for cross-sector partnerships could be captured in the post-2015 framework, and (2) how cross-sector partnerships can help to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children.

    We found that the post-2015 framework should include three targets to enable cross-sector partnerships to flourish. We need multi-stakeholder platforms at both the national and global level, and accountability mechanisms covering all cross-sector partnerships.

    Our study affirmed the importance of cross-sector partnerships to reach and help the most vulnerable children, but unearthed differing views on whether ‘market-based’ cross-sector partnerships are realistic.


    Those who felt this approach was feasible said that it was only viable for those at the very bottom of the pyramid – the most vulnerable children living in fragile contexts – if subsidised, to offset the costs involved.

    Those who did not agree were not, in principle, against market-based solutions for development, but said they were only viable to help less vulnerable children at the higher strata of the pyramid.

    Reaching the most vulnerable is most challenging in fragile contexts, but business can still make a significant contribution within cross-sector partnerships. One way is by building infrastructure and improving physical access to children living in the most remote or conflict and fragility-affected communities. Another is by strengthening capacity within governments and among those with influence on the broader economic environment.

    World Vision believes that companies should take a holistic view of their investments to ensure they maximise the benefits to the world’s most vulnerable people, especially children. This could include focusing any philanthropic spending on reaching the most vulnerable children, especially those living in fragile contexts, and ensuring alignment with national strategies and global coordination mechanisms.

    Business can also increase investments in:

  • inclusive, sustainable business models, within market-based, cross-sector partnerships for the upper levels of the base of the pyramid
  • infrastructure projects that benefit the poorest in fragile contexts
  • capacity-building to strengthen civil society, local business and governments in fragile contexts

    Companies can also use their influence to advocate for pro-poor government policies and practices, particularly in fragile contexts, and act as role models in their own behaviour. As leaders across sectors look to a new set of development goals, we need to seize new opportunities and partnerships. Asha’s life was saved because a large NGO partnered with local health workers and government officials, in a programme funded by various international donors, to raise awareness of and access to the right kind of nutrition for children.

    “Every morning I would prepare porridge mixed with sorghum, groundnuts, maize and millet. This was the type of food we were taught to prepare for better health of children,” her adoptive mother said. Our hope is that in 15 years time, cross-sector partnerships will contribute to making better health the norm. For every child.


    Mike Wisheart is World Vision International’s senior advisor for corporate engagement within the Advocacy and Justice for Children team. He previously worked for six years in a faith-based development organisation in Tanzania and prior to that in the private sector in the UK. Mike can be contacted at mike_wisheart@wvi.org and on twitter @MikeWisheart.

  • Triangular Co-operation: a view from Germany


    By Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn, German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

    Germany is often regarded as a so-called “traditional donor country”. The word “traditional” may sound a little antiquated at first. But I believe that Germany has shown that its policy is anything but old-fashioned. Germany is ready to embark on new avenues and forge new partnerships.

    One of the new avenues on which we want to embark is to expand the instrument of triangular cooperation. Germany has been supporting this form of cooperation for a long time, since the mid-1980s in fact. Since then, geopolitical changes and the growing importance of emerging countries have led to the appearance of new actors and donors in the global development landscape. To increase the involvement of these new rising powers, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) strives to further exploit the potential of triangular cooperation. We emphasised this intention in the Busan Outcome Document. To us, triangular cooperation arrangements act as an important link between South-South and North-South cooperation.

    Together with Japan and Spain, Germany is one of the most active, sought-after and biggest supporters of triangular cooperation. At present, the BMZ and its implementing agencies are carrying out more than 20 triangular cooperation projects in partnership with various emerging countries. The majority of projects are in Latin America and the Carribean, with major partners such as Brazil, Mexico, Chile or Peru. Another major partner for triangular cooperation projects is South Africa, which cooperates with Germany and a number of African partner countries. Most of the projects are financed through our joint triangular cooperation funds in Latin America and South Africa. While the majority of triangular cooperation projects are with Latin American countries, Germany also wants to increase the use of this instrument in Asia and Africa as a whole. Some projects in Asia already show great promise.

    Equal Work


    A global group for joint learning and collaboration on triangular cooperation is what we should be striving to cement.

    For Germany, triangular cooperation is an additional innovative instrument of cooperation with emerging economies, with a particular focus on our partner countries Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa. These countries are hereinafter referred to as Germany’s “global development partners”. Besides mobilising transfers together with our emerging country partner – from whom we expect a significant contribution – Germany wants to share knowledge, help develop the institutional architecture of development agencies in emerging countries and foster joint dialogue on values, modes of cooperation and interests. Triangular cooperation can have a particularly significant impact when all three partners succeed in jointly addressing sensitive topics, such as the protection of global public goods, that none of them could have tackled alone. Topics should always be selected according to the interests and needs of the beneficiary country. We believe it is essential that the beneficiary country takes the lead and steers the entire process. This, however, is not an easy task. We see ourselves neither as pure donors nor as pure intermediaries; rather, we see ourselves as an equal partner in a joint project. Contributions at the first High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in Mexico made clear that development agencies in many emerging economies are already in the process of forming adequate structures, developing mechanisms and mobilising resources to fully unfold their potential. Triangular cooperation arrangements are a means of supporting this process further, since they combine political and technical dimensions of cooperation with our “global development partners”.

    In the last few decades, the international community has gained considerable experience with triangular cooperation. This is definitely true of Germany. In many cases, however, exchanges of experience are limited to certain groups or topics. One way to further improve mutual learning and collaboration would be the creation of a global group on South South and Triangular Cooperation. The key issues to be taken into account by this group should include the following questions: How can we further reduce transaction costs and maximise ownership on the part of the beneficiary country? What are appropriate, well-matched instruments for monitoring and evaluating triangular cooperation projects? What are suitable formats for reporting, or communication and cooperation structures? We need to integrate experiences and lessons learnt on South-South cooperation, as well as the findings of think tanks already working to better understand various approaches and impacts. Germany therefore also supports the independent work of think tanks from the South and the North in this effort. The Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and the UN Development Cooperation Forum (UN DCF) have a very important role to play in this regard. Germany would like to encourage all actors to share their experiences. A global group for joint learning and collaboration on triangular cooperation is what we should be striving to cement.

    PStS Thomas Silberhorn (BMZ) 2014Thomas Silberhorn is Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development. He was previously Deputy Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Parliament (Bundestag). He is also Germany’s Governor at the African Development Bank and is responsible for bilateral development cooperation with the continent of Africa. Another regional focus is on Near and Middle East countries.

    Science and technology at the heart of agricultural development

    Timor-Leste Farmer Carries Away Crops Destroyed by Heavy Rains

    By Dr Dyno (J.D.H.) Keatinge, AIRCA Chair and Director General of AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, and Dr Trevor Nicholls, AIRCA Steering Committee Member and CEO of CABI

    Science may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of development but it often forms the foundation of solutions to tackle some of the world’s most critical issues, like ensuring people can grow enough food to eat. Today is World Science Day for Peace and Development, an opportunity to show the important contribution that science, knowledge-sharing and technology make to global development, especially to food and nutrition security.

    Access to science-based information can make the difference between harvests that flourish or fail. While much agricultural information is readily accessible to farmers in the developed world, it remains out of reach for many others. Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer are the keys to building the livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest smallholder farmers – people who grow food to eat or to sell on a small scale. Surprisingly, mobile technology is fast becoming one of the best ways to reach farmers with this information.

    Around 40% of people in the developing world now actively subscribe to mobile services, with 130 million new subscribers every year and mobile 2G coverage available for around 95% of users. This makes delivery of information by mobile phone one of the most effective ways to reach smallholder farmers; a phenomenon that governments and organisations will want to embrace.

    Mobile delivery of agro-advisory services, through voice messages for example, can help overcome no or low literacy, as well as language barriers. Innovative provision of these services helps to address the fact that there there are too few trained people who can bring agricultural knowledge directly to the world’s farmers.



    Science-based knowledge delivered by phone can address the full range of information needed to help people to feed themselves, all the way from field to fork.

    For example, information on integrated soil health management can help smallholder farmers to increase their crop yields by as much as two- or threefold. Likewise, information about crop and plant health can help farmers reduce substantial losses to plant pests and diseases, as well as help them better handle, store and transport produce. This is important as up to 40% of the world’s food is lost in post-harvest production. The knowledge shared must be geared towards helping farmers grow more and lose less.

    Sharing of science-based nutritional information is also essential. Malnutrition is the largest single contributor to child mortality worldwide and a hugely important issue that needs tackling urgently. Helping people achieve a well-balanced diet will help address the problem of ‘hidden hunger’ due to malnutrition. A diet with sufficient consumption of fruit, legumes, vegetables, and other crops is the obvious key to alleviating this serious health problem.

    Mobile services can combine agricultural and nutritional information, helping farmers understand not only what to grow but also how to prepare and cook new produce and get the most out of it nutritionally by combining it with complementary foods. Iron bioavailability, for example, can be at least doubled for teenage girls in south Asia who consume mungbean (a kind of legume) dhal daily if some tomato and a little oil is added in the cooking process. Mobile services can share information about neglected and underutilised crops that, due to their resilience, are able to produce sustainable yields and good nutritional value. They can deliver the right information to the people who need it most, often teenage girls and mothers.

    Supporting women is central to supporting food and nutritional security. Again, knowledge-sharing and science can help dramatically. In many parts of the world, growing food for the family, often in small kitchen gardens, is the responsibility of female members of the household. Helping women understand the nutritional value of growing a range of fruit and vegetables can make a big difference to the health of whole families. The challenge is finding the means to get the right information to women, as in some cultures they are not always as easy to reach as men.

    Aside from mobile services, face-to-face training schools, where girls and women can receive an education in agricultural skills, are helping to make a difference. Educating girls and young women about agriculture and helping them build careers in farming is important. While young people may believe there is no future in farming, quite the opposite is true. By 2050, global food demand is predicted to grow by 60% from 2005 levels. As such, effective, efficient and sustainable food production is becoming more important than ever before, and nurturing young women’s careers in agriculture will be a vital part of addressing this.

    Partnership-focused, science-based programmes, like Plantwise, can also help make a significant difference. Plantwise brings together over 168 partners to support countries in opening plant clinics fielded by plant doctors, who help farmers to diagnose and solve plant health problems, and thereby grow more and lose less of what they produce. With an eye on the role of gender in advisory services, the programme has encouraged more than a 25% uptake by women plant doctors, who, in turn, are reaching greater numbers of women farmers with knowledge to manage pests.

    Knowledge sharing – especially the sharing of important scientific knowledge and modern technologies – lies at the heart of successful development. Today is an important day to think about the ways in which we can share knowledge to empower future generations to answer some of the world’s most important questions, like how we grow enough food to feed and nourish a fast growing global population.

    DSC_0829Dr Dyno Keatinge is Director General of AVRDC, the World Vegetable Center, based in Taiwan. He is Chair of the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA), Chair of the Global Horticulture Initiative and is on the Advisory Committee to the USAID Innovation Lab for Horticulture.

    Trevor_0924Dr Trevor Nicholls is the Chief Executive Officer of CABI, a not-for-profit scientific research, publishing and international development organisation. He is a Steering Committee Member of AIRCA, a nine-member alliance focused on increasing global food security by supporting smallholder agriculture within healthy, sustainable and climate-smart landscapes.

    Trapped in the Middle? Why middle income countries need our continuous attention


    by Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre

    Middle-income countries (MICs) have taken centre-stage in the global development arena in their dichotomous role as both providers and recipients of development assistance. From Brazil to Bhutan, they encompass a diverse set of countries that have managed impressive economic growth in the past decades and collectively contributed to the phenomenon that the OECD Development Centre has termed “Shifting Wealth“. Since 2010, MICs hold a larger share of global GDP than the OECD countries.

    This shift of the centre of gravity of the world economy has been accompanied by a large reduction of poverty. According to the World Bank, the amount of people living on less than USD 1.25 per day decreased from 52% in 1981 to 21% in 2010 over the last decades. However, most of this overall poverty reduction is due to progress in China and poverty in its manifold forms prevails in many MICs. The concentration on universal goals, in this way, obscures the important differentiation across and within countries. Roughly three quarters of the world’s poor and vulnerable people are reported to live in MICs at present. The many remaining poor in MICs suggests that the income-based definition of poverty should be broadened to include those that fall below a defined income threshold of 1,25 USD. It needs to be complemented by looking at non-income poverty, including dimensions such as people’s ‘’well-being’’ which adds dimensions such as jobs, housing, health, education, civic engagement and governance or personal security. It does not only better reflect their state of living but it is also better placed to identify if people are at risk falling back into poverty, for instance when they do not have health insurance and have to pay for unexpected hospital bills.

    Although the “Shifting Wealth” is continuing, many middle-income countries are not on track to convergence. Hence, impressive GDP growth rates tend to conceal the many challenges these countries face including structural challenges such as economic, social, environmental and institutional bottlenecks that prevent the transition to a higher income level and to better and more equally distributed living standards. While China, Kazakhstan and Panama are estimated to reach OECD levels of average income by 2050, a number of middle-income countries – including Colombia, Hungary, Mexico and South Africa – will take much longer at current growth rates to converge. Estimates show that for Thailand it would take about 20 years and for countries like Indonesia or the Philippines some more 30-40 years to reach high-income status.

    Middle-income countries thus appear to be very heterogeneous. The most effective combination of policies to reach the target of inclusive and sustainable growth will depend on countries’ specific needs as well as on the capability of their governments not only to develop but also to implement these strategies. But how can we support MICs in finding this effective policy mix- and encourage them to share the lessons from this endeavour as well? And what are the implications when it comes to financing for development in MICs and how effective development should be thought about?

    Inclusive partnership initiatives such as the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation can provide platforms to discuss these challenges with a variety of stakeholders, from governments (North and South) to the private sector, civil society and foundations. This was reflected in discussions held at Ministerial level last April in Mexico, where the Development Centre played an active role and supported the work of the partnership on challenges and prospects for ‘’Development Co-operation with Middle Income Countries’’. This dialogue has been ongoing within the Global Partnership and beyond, with the OECD Development Centre’s Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India 2014: Beyond the Middle-Income Trap, which has allowed dialogue amongst countries in the region on how to overcome the middle income trap while suggesting that sustaining the economic progress of Emerging Asia will be a challenge and requires a new approach to development.

    Therefore, the high number of poor living in middle-income countries and the lack of convergence with higher income countries points out that middle-income countries need our continued attention. The view that MICs “need” less support than low-income countries is widespread – and yet it is erroneous. If we truly want to tackle poverty in all its dimensions, then we need to continue to support MICs to make sure their growth translates into income and well-being. To this end, Policy Dialogues through platforms such as the Global Partnership or the newly created Policy Dialogue networks of the OECD Development Centre allow for an equal footing exchange of peers have enabled us to recognise that there is no single trajectory towards a prosperous and inclusive society. These dialogues also lead us to reconsider that we just cannot afford to look the other way when three quarters of the world’s poor live in MICs.

    Portrait Mario PezziniMr. Mario Pezzini is Director of the OECD Development Centre. The Centre is an institution where governments, enterprises and civil society organisations informally discuss questions of common interest. Its Governing Board includes most of the OECD countries but also developing and emerging economies as full members. It helps policy makers in OECD and partner countries find innovative solutions to the global challenges of development.

    From development information to a data revolution

    The International Year of Forests (2011) Forest Heroes Awards Winners.

    By Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS.

    True development geeks will know that today is World Development Information Day. Since 1972 the United Nations has been urging us all to raise awareness of development challenges. Four decades on, with a call for a ‘data revolution’ in development by the High Level Panel on the post-2015 Development Agenda and the creation of an Independent Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) on this revolution, the issue of development information is squarely back on the agenda.

    But over these years a very important transformation has taken place. In 1972, the UN General Assembly felt that “improving the dissemination of information and the mobilisation of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development.” Today, after dramatic developments in information and communications technologies, talking of one-way ‘dissemination’ seems antiquated, if not a little patronising. Instead, we have unprecedented opportunities for people to engage in two-way or indeed many-to-many conversations, and for data and information itself to be a transformative part of the development process.

    The clearest demonstration of this transformative potential lies in the ability of ordinary citizens to collect, curate and use data to hold power-holders to account. There a plenty of examples of innovation on this front.

    In India, www.ipaidabribe.com is crowdsourcing citizens’ reports of being asked for a bribe via free phone calls, mobile apps and the Internet. This has created new data to show policymakers about the prevalence of bribery in India and also a new map of citizen-reported data on corruption. Shack/Slum Dwellers International, a network of community-based organisations representing the urban poor in 33 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, works with whole communities to count households, map settlements, and survey at the household level to develop a detailed socio-economic profile of the settlement, thereby making these marginalised groups become active partners in their own development. The Participate ‘knowledge from the margins’ initiative and the Initiative for Equality’s field hearings are two primary examples in which samples of the poorest and most marginalised sectors of society – likely to be missed by traditional indicators – have been directly asked about their needs and priorities.

    Approaches of this kind could serve as an important model for scaled-up methods used to acquire qualitative data on development – not just for the sake of collecting data but also for empowering people in the process.


    This World Development Information Day, please bear in mind what we need to do to realise the true emancipatory potential of information and data in the development process. Let’s make this data revolution truly revolutionary.

    While greater and more accurate information is course welcome, the data revolution risks being a missed opportunity if it fails to directly engage and empower people. What we should focus on, therefore, is improving the quality and accessibility of data most relevant to people’s lives, and equipping them with the information to hold decision makers to account.

    This is why we at CIVICUS launched the Big Development DataShift as a voluntary initiative at the Mexico City High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. Our aim is simple: build the capacity and confidence of citizens and civil society to generate and use data to monitor development progress. At the moment the vast majority of civil society organisations do not use the tools and techniques required to tap into the potential of the data revolution. Building this capacity will require a heavy lift but it is essential, not just to create the demand for the vast amounts of data being opened up but also to encourage them to become more active players in generating data.

    Development contexts are complex, but a bottom-up approach puts citizens at the centre of sustainable development. The needs, interests and experiences of individuals and communities will reveal the most telling insights about development progress or lack thereof.

    So, today, as you celebrate World Development Information Day, please bear in mind what more we need to do to realise the true emancipatory potential of information and data in the development process. Let’s make this data revolution truly revolutionary.

    Danny%20smallDr. Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah is Secretary General and CEO of CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance with members in more than 140 countries. His previous roles have included Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Interim Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, and Deputy Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research. He can be found @civicussg on Twitter and Facebook.


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