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Global accountability in development cooperation

Implementing the post-2015 development agenda will require robust accountability…

Global debate on a post-2015 development agenda points to a need for enhanced monitoring and accountability at all levels. This will be essential to ensure delivery on commitments and sustainability of development results, by facilitating effective allocation of resources and more targeted and predictable contributions.

…building on national mutual accountability.

Mutual accountability serves as an overarching principle for the effectiveness of development cooperation. The concept of mutual accountability aimed, initially, to address imbalances in the relationship between recipient and provider countries. It has been broadened in recent years to reflect the changes in the landscape of international development cooperation, namely, to include other stakeholders and other contributions in addition to Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The potential of mutual accountability enjoys wide recognition by member States and other stakeholders…
United Nations Conferences and Summits since 2002 have encouraged all stakeholders to improve mutual accountability and transparency. The 2010 MDG Summit reiterated the importance of greater accountability in international development cooperation, in both donor and developing countries. It called for a focus on adequate and predictable financial resources, as well as their improved quality and targeting.

…yet progress remains limited at country level.

Few national mutual accountability mechanisms exist that carry forward this notion of balanced responsibility, mutuality and inclusiveness. Those that do have shown an ability to solidify trust between central governments and their development partners.

The DCF can serve as driver for greater accountability in development cooperation among all actors…

The Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) has global accountability as one of its priority themes. It acts as an independent body overseeing mutual accountability in development cooperation. In the run up to its 2014 session, the DCF is facilitating multi-stakeholder discussion on a renewed global partnership for development to support implementation of a post-2015 development agenda.

…and aims at key priorities in global accountabiity for the 2012 to 2014 cycle:

  • Advance mutual accountability as a technical tool and overarching principle in a post-2015 development agenda.
  • Promote enhanced reporting on agreed commitments in development cooperation at global level.
  • Strengthen the role of the DCF as the accountability framework for the global partnership for development.
  • Develop the DCF as the authoritative and comprehensive source of two-way information on status and progress of country-level frameworks for mutual accountability and transparency.
  • Review the relevance and usefulness of existing mutual accountability mechanisms and their interplay at different levels and promote their consolidation.

The DCF features a dedicated dialogue on effectiveness and accountability in a post-2015 era.

The third preparatory symposium for the 2014 DCF [link] will assess how to feature effectiveness and accountability in the post-2015 development agenda. It will further examine how to support the agenda’s implementation with a coherent global accountability framework for commitments on development cooperation and a renewed global partnership for development. Independent analytical studies, including on mutual accountability as a pillar of effective development cooperation and global accountability architecture, will also preparations for the symposium and for the 2014 DCF.

The DCF will also bring together independent analysis on mutual accountability.

The DCF global accountability survey is generating evidence to support governments in their efforts to strengthen development partnerships at country level. Similar to the first two surveys (analysis of 2009 here and 2011 here), the third survey invites relevant national stakeholders to identify ways to implement tools that support mutual accountability, such as dialogue platforms and aid and partnership policies.

By engaging in the survey stakeholders are also encouraged to address capacity challenges in strengthening mutual accountability, in light of the changing composition of development finance and expectations of development cooperation in the post-2015 era. While previous surveys showed limited progress, they were critical to identify enablers and barriers to ensure that the expected change in behaviour is taking shape.

3rd global accountability survey:

Questionnaires in English, Spanish and French

Links to recordings of webinars in Asia-Pacific and Africa/Europe/Americas and power point to support roll-out
UNDESA has an active DCF research programme on mutual accountability…

…and supports capacity development to strengthen mutual accountability at country level.

UNDESA supports the implementation of enablers for mutual accountability, in response to specific requests from Member States, through capacity development activities in developing countries, in close partnership with UNDP. A pilot project in four Sub-Saharan African countries will produce guidance material and policy recommendations to advance mutual accountability for consideration by the DCF.

For further information, please contact the DCF Secretariat, Development Cooperation Policy Branch, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, UNDESA (dcf@un.org).

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