Mr. Thomas Gass Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Opening statement to the DCF Switzerland High-level Symposium,
“Development Cooperation in a Post-2015 Era: Sustainable Development for All”

Mr. Dahinden,
Mr. Osorio, President of the Economic and Social Council
Executive Secretary Alkalaj,
Ambassador Bethel,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations, let me extend our deep appreciation to our host Switzerland.

As an important UN headquarters, champion of development cooperation and pioneer of sustainable development, Switzerland is a natural host for our discussions on “Development cooperation in a post-2015 era: sustainable development for all”.

The Special Event of the President of the General Assembly has called for a post-2015 development agenda that is unified and universal. It will have sustainable development at its core, yet keep poverty eradication as its highest priority. It will apply to all countries, developed and developing.

This agenda will be put to practice in a changed international context: the shifting geography of poverty; rising inequality; rapid globalization and slower global growth; increased need for collective approaches to global challenges; the emergence of new actors and instruments.

Excellencies,

We are here in Montreux to examine what all this means for development cooperation. Let me highlight five questions.

Firstly, what should development cooperation support?

Development cooperation will need to find balance – and synergies – in targeting social needs and providing sufficient resources to support the transition to sustainable development.

One concern is that ODA could be diverted from social priorities, to financing of global challenges.

Secondly, who should benefit from development cooperation?

The emerging agenda suggests that all developing countries will need continued support. Yet, what kind of support may vary across countries. For aid dependent countries, development cooperation has two main functions; it fills a financing gap and incentivizes particular actions that help advance development. For non-aid dependent countries, it mainly plays a catalytic role, and helps incentivize action to accelerate development progress.

All countries will need to support each other to put the world on a more sustainable path.

Thirdly, what type of development cooperation should be provided

ODA will remain critical, but not sufficient to achieve a new set of goals much broader in scope. We must ensure that the limited existing resources have a maximum development impact, and help leverage additional resources.

Development cooperation can help leverage resources by: further strengthening domestic resource mobilization; facilitating access by developing countries to international capital markets; and promoting philanthropy, vertical funds, innovative sources of development finance and South-South cooperation.

Fourthly, who should provide support?

Development cooperation was built around the notion of a North-South divide. With the emergence of new players and mechanisms, the situation today is much more complex.

A new global approach to development cooperation is needed. It should have a sensible division of work among the various actors, enabling all to fully leverage their respective strengths to help implement the post-2015 development agenda.

Fifthly, how can we ensure that all actors live up to their respective commitments?

Robust monitoring and accountability at all levels can help ensure that commitments are honored, and that the results achieved are sustainable. A global accountability framework should engage all actors, while recognizing their differentiated responsibilities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

While captured in simple terms, these five questions are tough, analytically and politically. Experience tells us that it does not help to paper over differences. To arrive at a shared agenda, supported by everyone, we must take the time to explain to each other our different vantage points. Let us think through these issues together.

I urge you to use the opportunity of this Symposium, and its gorgeous, yet informal, setting, to engage in a frank and honest exchange on the future of development cooperation.

I wish you successful deliberations.

Thank you.

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