Statement by Mr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development to the Development Cooperation Forum
New York, 1 July 2008

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have arrived at the closing of the first Development Cooperation Forum. In a moment, the President of ECOSOC will deliver his Summary of the discussions. Allow me first, however, to take this opportunity to explain how the Department of Economic and Social Affairs intends to support the DCF process moving forward.

    A brief account of the DCF experience so far suggests the following:
  • The DCF should continue to provide an inclusive space for a review process that may otherwise not involve the views and perspectives of all stakeholders.
  • The DCF is flexible, enabling us to interact and discuss constructively in a format that inspires new and innovative ideas and their implementation.
  • The DCF affords the opportunity for in-depth technical consideration of development cooperation issues. In this sense, the DCF offers an important nexus between political as well as normative dialogue and technical expertise.
  • With its inclusiveness and political legitimacy, the DCF is well-placed to level the playing field in global dialogue and policy review, thus strengthening mutual accountability in international development cooperation.

In 2008, the United Nations is involved in a number of actions to further the international development agenda. In this connection, the Doha Review Conference on Financing for Development is of particular importance. Your dialogue at the DCF over the past two days should serve as major input to the discussions that will take place in Doha on international financial and technical cooperation, one of the six core areas of the Monterrey Consensus.

Similarly, the outcome of this Forum is expected to influence the Accra Agenda for Action. I hope that we will see a final draft of this Agenda by the end of July, incorporating a broad range of the policy recommendations and messages of the DCF.

To maximize the impact of the first DCF on the substantive outcome of both Doha and Accra, discussions at this Forum have particularly focused on the quality of aid. Yet, it is important to acknowledge that even great improvements in aid quality will not amount to much if such progress is not matched in other areas related to development.

Looking to the future of the DCF, there are a number of issues and activities that I would like to call to your attention. First, the nationally-led preparatory meetings – such as those organized in Vienna, Cairo and Rome, pulling together varied stakeholders for informal exchanges and technical deliberations – have proven effective in gauging the gaps and obstacles in international development cooperation. They have also greatly influenced the preparation of the Secretary-General’s report, as well as the programme of the DCF itself.

These events enabled broad interaction with stakeholders. The consultations for the first DCF established relations with a number of development actors, which have greatly helped to promote and position the Forum. In the future, we will nurture and expand these relationships, engaging the widest possible range of stakeholders to ensure that the DCF becomes a truly universal platform.

The continued success of the DCF as a venue for dialogue, policy review and mutual accountability in development cooperation will also depend on its having a unifying theme as the focus of its work for each session. Only by tabling high priority issues that interest a broad range of actors will the DCF be able to push forward the agenda on international development cooperation.

I would also like to use this opportunity to urge those who have not already done so, to take a thorough look at the Secretary-General’s analytical background report. In the report, you will find recommendations suggesting how the Forum can offer a new course for development cooperation.

As with development in general, the effectiveness of the DCF is contingent on adequate funding and support. I would therefore encourage Member States to consider supporting the activities of the Forum. I would also urge Member States to consider hosting preparatory meetings for the 2010 Forum. I hope that the next two years will see support as generous as we have seen so far.

Last, but not least, I encourage all stakeholders to continue to engage in the DCF process and interact with our Department in ensuring that all voices are heard throughout the forthcoming preparations and consultations.

I hope that this process will enable us to gather in 2010 with a sense of accomplishment and continued dedication to achieving real results in improving the impact, coherence and effectiveness of international development cooperation – particularly in supporting the achievement of the MDGs and the other internationally agreed development goals.

Thank you.