Development Cooperation Forum Advisory Group Meeting

Introductory Remarks as Chair by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of The 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I welcome all of you to this meeting of the Advisory Group on the Development Cooperation Forum. And I sincerely thank you for making the effort to come to Geneva.

This Advisory Group has always been a great source of inspiration and guidance for the preparations of the DCF. I count on your support to steer the DCF at this critical juncture.

The DCF was launched here in Geneva in 2007. I clearly recall the inaugural session. It was right after I assumed office.

The Secretary-General hoped that the DCF would become a venue for consensus-building … that it would generate – I quote, “meaningful and actionable policy guidance and recommendations of value to all stakeholders.” End of quote.

The DCF was viewed as a unique opportunity to enhance the global partnership for development.

During informal consultations of the UN General Assembly held this spring, Member States recognized the achievements of the DCF so far. They stressed its potential to, quote: “become the main international forum to discuss cooperation policies.” End of quote. Here, I reference the G-77 statement.

It is clear that the DCF has broadly delivered on its daunting mandate to: (i) review trends in international development cooperation; and (ii) debate ways to improve development cooperation and maximize development results.

It has also demonstrated its ability to identify good practices and action-oriented policy recommendations in specific areas.

The convening power of the DCF is a strong comparative advantage. The Forum opens up space for rich and poor countries civil society parliamentarians and others to express their views.

It brings fresh ideas and positions to the debate on development cooperation.

This is critical at a time when there is much reflection on how best to approach development. There is genuine eagerness to accelerate progress towards the MDGs.

Furthermore, the DCF needs to be forward thinking. I say this both in the context of Rio+20 and looking beyond 2015.

In regards to Rio+20, the SG has called it one of the most important conferences in UN history. I hope he’s right.

How will outcomes at Rio+20 shape development cooperation? I would like this Advisory Group to focus on the relevant issues.

No doubt, the DCF faces many challenges. The litmus test of its success will be if it impacts how various actors approach development cooperation.

It also needs to affirm its role as a “mutual accountability” forum. It should foster an environment where developing countries and their partners hold each other to account on commitments.

We will discuss how the DCF can best stand up to such challenges in the second part of our meeting.

During the first part, we will reflect on the preparations for the Busan High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

Busan is an opportunity to renew political commitments to development cooperation and aid quality. We must make use of this event. It is critical.

One challenge for Busan is to revamp the approach to aid effectiveness. Our approach needs to be broader yet straightforward. It needs to ensure development cooperation deeply impacts sustainable development and people’s lives.

Another – no less critical – challenge is to build trust between donors and developing countries. Busan should establish an aid effectiveness agenda with a set of clear goals that brings countries together in a spirit of partnership.

Transparency and a willingness to listen to the concerns of recipients are key. We need this to forge trust and improve effectiveness.