Mr. Thomas Gass Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs

Plenary Session IV:
Monitoring and Review of Development Cooperation in the 2030 Agenda:
Quality, Effectiveness and Impact for Sustainable Development
Fifth Biennial High-Level Meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum

Your Excellency, Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Vice President of the Economic and Social Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to participate in this important discussion. The Development Cooperation Forum is known for its longstanding, excellent contributions to global efforts to build evidence base concerning the issues of quality, effectiveness and impact of development cooperation.

Today, I would like to brief you on the outcomes of the fourth Development Cooperation Forum Accountability Survey, by my Department, UNDESA.

The Survey sought the views of developing countries on the progress, challenges and impact of mutual accountability at the national level. It was undertaken in October 2015, with the support and collaboration of the UNDP in its roll-out. Fifty-eight countries participated – an increase from 43 participants in the 2013 survey. We are pleased to note that 33 countries from 2013 survey participated in it again in 2015. Clearly, they find the survey useful.

Let me highlight some of the key messages from the survey:

First, the issue of mutual accountability and transparency in development cooperation remains critically important. Good mutual accountability frameworks seem to provide scope for developing countries to negotiate a ‘better deal’ and for development partners to align their cooperation activities with developing country priorities.

Second, there has been modest, yet important progress in mutual accountability since the 2013 survey, in line with the broader narrative of development cooperation of the 2030 Agenda. Slightly more developing countries have national development cooperation policies in place, with some starting to expand their scope. The role of parliaments is being recognized. Some developing countries have more inclusive national coordination and review mechanisms for development cooperation.

Third, the progress in mutual accountability and transparency in development cooperation does not occur in isolation of wider public sector reforms.  We see improvements in reforms in public finance management; introduction of results-based management (RBM); and various efforts made to improve the quality of performance information for government programmes. Well-established domestic accountability and transparency systems seem to support mutual accountability processes.

Fourth, political leadership and implementation capacity are essential. Political will was a strong, consistent theme in responses received from both 2013 and 2015 surveys. Respondents also stressed the importance of institutional and financial capacities to implement mutual accountability systems.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The study presents the following four main recommendations.

First, developing countries should strengthen their national development cooperation policies in line with the 2030 Agenda. Governments should engage a broader range of stakeholders in review, development and implementation processes of their policies.

Second, development partners should use developing country systems. Development partners need to support developing countries to enhance their capacities relevant to monitoring and review of development cooperation. This includes the country systems in the areas of procurement, data and information management and monitoring and evaluation.

Third, development partners and other non-state actors should adjust their policies on development cooperation, with a view to strengthening country systems of developing countries – and not running parallel systems. These policies should also respond to demands from their citizens for greater transparency and accountability.

Fourth, the United Nations should continue to undertake the Development Cooperation Forum Global Accountability Survey, biennially.  With all countries currently undertaking the initial adjustments of development cooperation strategies in line with the new agenda, and entering into the early implementation phase of their policies, developing countries will find it beneficial for thorough self-assessment and evidence-based policy-making.

These are some of key findings from the DCF Accountability Study. Now, let us have honest and practical discussion around these issues.

Thank you.

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