Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Informal meeting among Directors-General on the UN Development Cooperation Forum

Distinguished colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to begin by congratulating all of you on the endorsement of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Member States own this process. The outcome document will prove to be a success for generations to come and for our common future.

Let me now formally welcome you to this informal meeting. What better place to have this discussion than Addis Ababa this week, when we have just decided on a framework to finance sustainable development in all its dimensions and support the implementation of the post-2015 global development agenda.

Member States created the DCF at the 2005 World Summit. Its establishment responded to long time concerns about the lack of a dedicated platform within the UN to discuss ODA and other development cooperation activities. Since its inception, the DCF has had a clear focus on development cooperation. The DCF’s work programme is carefully crafted to avoid duplication with other global processes, at the UN and elsewhere.

The DCF was given a broad, but specific mandate to review key trends in international development cooperation, including strategies, policies and financing. It was geared to promote greater coherence among the development activities of different development partners and to strengthen normative and operational links in the work of the United Nations.

The Doha Review Conference on Financing for Development re-emphasized the importance of the DCF as the focal point within the United Nations system for holistic consideration of issues of international development cooperation, with participation by all relevant stakeholders.

The Doha Declaration acknowledged the contribution of the DCF to the efforts to improve the quality of ODA and its development impact. It encouraged donors to improve mutual accountability building on existing initiatives including the DCF.

The DCF takes place every two years, as part of the high-level segment of ECOSOC. It attracts wide participation from governments, parliaments, civil society as well as the private sector. The preparations of the forum involve analytical studies and research on key issues in development as well as a small number of high-level preparatory events during the two-year cycle.

These events are meant to provide space for policy makers and practitioners to engage in very hands on discussions and exchange of lessons learnt on issues sometimes underexposed at global level, bringing them to the centre of attention of decision-makers. The results of the discussions are concrete messages and policy recommendations to be put to use at global and country-level.

Since its inception, the DCF has succeeded in bringing together policy makers from developed and developing countries around the issues of their shared interest. Other stakeholders have also actively participated in the DCF and its preparatory processes. The policy analyses and policy dialogues of the DCF provided inputs to major norm-setting activities on global development agenda including the post-2015 and the FfD processes.

Today, the DCF provides a truly inclusive platform to gear development cooperation towards achieving development results, in particular the realization of the universal and unified development agenda.

The post-2015 agenda will reshape our framework for action to reduce poverty and advance sustainable development in the world and pose new challenges to the work of the DCF. These challenges include more integrated support, more coherent approaches and more inclusive outcomes. The DCF is working to promote a strong narrative for development cooperation in supporting the new global agenda. It has to ensure that no-one is left behind.

We have invited you here today to discuss the following questions: i) What do you consider key trends in development cooperation that will merit analysis and discussion at the global level, and where the DCF can play a unique role?; ii)What could be the key outputs from the next DCF High-level Symposiums as well as the 2016 Development Cooperation Forum; and iii)How to implement the recommendations of the DCF in practical terms?

I would also like to mention that the deliberations of the DCF will be key contributions to the follow-up of FFD. But the Forum should maintain its unique mandate and modalities. It should continue to facilitate the participation of practitioners and policy makers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I wish for an open discussion and exchange of views and experiences on these questions. I am eager to hear your suggestions to bring forward to planning the future work and focus areas of the DCF.

Before I open the floor, I would like to share some additional points. With the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, we are entering a new stage to implement the SDGs. We have to ask ourselves whether we understand the full impact of this agenda and whether are ready for the challenge.

This is the first time in history all of us, officials and people of 193 Member States reached consensus that our way of consumption and production is not sustainable. It is also the first time we agreed to pursue sustainability. Sustainability covers three dimensions, economic, social and environmental. It is easier said than done. We should come up with solutions. Solutions will involve change of mind-set and change of the way we work. Government officials usually focus on specific areas as government departments are structured in silos. Efforts have to be made to change the sectoral and siloed approach.

Another challenge relates to revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development. The global partnership has narrowly focused on economic growth. We are now facing new challenges. The global partnership needs to accommodate the needs of the three dimensions of sustainable development. We have to learn how to work with partners from different corners.

With these words I wish for a fruitful discussion, which will certainly generate important food for thought on the work of the Development Cooperation Forum.

Thank you.