Opening by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to this informal planning and brainstorming meeting for the next phase of the DCF. 

The DCF is a young institution in the global development cooperation architecture.  It is an institution that needs both nurturing and support to reach its full potential in the service of the international community.

Since its founding in 2008, the DCF has become a highly respected platform that advances informed and inclusive policy dialogue on key development cooperation issues.

Today, I am particularly pleased to see many different stakeholders attending this planning and brainstorming meeting. There are many familiar faces to the DCF process – governments, UN system entities, civil society organizations, national parliaments and foundations.

Your continued engagement is critical for the Forum’s success.  

Let me therefore start off by expressing my sincere appreciation to all of you for your commitment to the DCF.  Your engagement has helped establish this Forum as an important part of the global development cooperation architecture.    


The global context for development cooperation is changing faster than ever.  These changes continue to pose challenges and opportunities for the role and relevance of the DCF. 

In recent years, for example, the number of actors, approaches and modalities of development cooperation has increased substantially.  Now, we see more South-South cooperation, engagement from private philanthropic foundations and non-governmental organizations, as well as innovative sources of financing. Each one of these plays an increasingly important role.

That said, these actors can only complement and not substitute the official development assistance, which will remain the principal source of development finance for developing countries, especially Africa and the least developed countries. And for this reason, there is renewed interest in policies that enhance coherence around common goals.  Here, the DCF can play an important role in continuing to energize and reinvigorate development partnerships.

Since the first DCF in 2008, its strategic priorities have always been guided by careful analysis of the broader development cooperation environment.  The priority areas of the DCF have also been strongly influenced by regular consultations with key stakeholders.

This has included: 

  • meetings with Member States;
  • feedback from participants in DCF High-level Symposiums and expert group meetings;
  •  regular exchanges with my Advisory Group for the Forum;
  • a consultative group of civil society organizations and other non-executive stakeholders; and
  • periodic meetings of the “Friends of the DCF”.

Each of these has helped me better understand the views of stakeholders on the evolving role and priorities of the Forum.   

Looking back, I believe the impartiality of the Forum’s analysis has helped enhance its value.

In my view, the Forum has also become important by: 

  • addressing critical gaps in the international debate on development cooperation;
  • promoting dialogue on issues that are both practical and forward-looking;
  • addressing concerns of policy-makers at the country level, particularly in programme countries; and
  • by not shying away from sensitive issues. 

For example, in the past two years, the Forum has stepped-up its analysis and reporting on issues related to mutual accountability and transparency.  The Forum has consistently stressed the continuing primary role of ODA in development cooperation.

Based on the experience of the DCF so far, I believe that in the next biennium, the Forum could focus on the following two strategic areas:     

Firstly, it can cement its position as an apex body for global efforts in the area of development cooperation for sustainable development.

Secondly, in the next two years, the DCF could help focus the attention on the role of development cooperation in the post-2015 development agenda context.

I believe we all agree that the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference and the post-2015 development agenda are likely to have important implications for the future role of development cooperation. In my view, the DCF is well-placed to foster a constructive dialogue among all concerned actors on this important issue.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have tabled these preliminary ideas to stimulate our discussion at this informal brainstorming meeting.  I look forward to hearing your views on how the DCF can best serve the international community in the next two years and beyond.

Following this meeting, we will prepare a draft strategy paper for the next phase of the DCF.  This will be discussed in a meeting of my Advisory Group, to be held in conjunction with the first High-level Symposium in Vienna in late October.

I would also welcome your thoughts on how your government or organization can support the work of the DCF during the next phase.

Thank you.