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The biennial high-level Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) is one of the principal new functions of a strengthened Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  It was mandated by the 2005 World Summit. ECOSOC convened the first biennial DCF in July 2008 to review trends and progress in international development cooperation and promote greater coherence among the development activities of different development partners.

Preparations to the first DCF and the first forum established ECOSOC as a principal forum for multi-stakeholder dialogue on international development cooperation at global level.   It brought together all key development cooperation actors, including Member States, multilateral organizations and players from the United Nations system as well as civil society organizations, parliamentarians, local governments and the private sector. 

The ECOSOC President’s Summary of the 2008 DCF  urged the forum to further strengthen the voice of all stakeholders.  It asked the DCF to consider the broad range of issues which affect aid effectiveness such as climate change, food security and policy coherence.  It also called on the DCF to continue to provide independent and high-quality analysis of development cooperation; play a key role in drawing together analysis of progress in national and global-level mutual accountability processes; and focus its meeting in 2010 on developing a more inclusive framework for guiding effective development cooperation, taking into consideration the concerns of all stakeholders.  

The DCF had an impact of the outcome document of the Doha Follow-up Conference on Financing for Development in November/December 2008.  The conference 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 and recognized the efforts of the forum to improve the quality of ODA and to increase its development impact.