Support of Multilateral Institutions by All States Vital to Tackling Development Challenges, Speakers Underline, as Economic and Social Council Forum Closes

ECOSOC/6917
22 May 2018
2018 Session, 30th & 31st Meetings (AM & PM)

Support of Multilateral Institutions by All States Vital to Tackling Development Challenges, Speakers Underline, as Economic and Social Council Forum Closes

All countries must uphold a spirit of international cooperation, support multilateral institutions and work together to tackle development challenges, participants stressed today, as the Economic and Social Council’s annual Development Cooperation Forum concluded.

The gap between the world’s rich and poor was not only a massive imbalance, but was also unsustainable and a source of turmoil and instability, emphasized Li Chenggang, Assistant Minister in China’s Ministry of Commerce, speaking during a panel discussion on leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable development.

Financing was a major challenge when it came to international development cooperation, he noted, with only six countries following through on their commitment to give 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance (ODA).

While each country was primarily responsible for its own development processes, international development cooperation was a useful instrument for supporting national development policies, said Agustín García-Lopes, Executive Director, Mexican Agency of International Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.

That sentiment was echoed by João Almino, Director General of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency of Brazil, who said that efforts must be made to strengthen the institutions of developing countries.  International development cooperation did not need to have a rigid framework, but it must have a comprehensive structure, considering the different realities that existed in developing countries.  He highlighted that development cooperation could be modest in nature, but still have an impact.

For Germany, the issue of development cooperation was not exclusively linked to resources, but was also related to information, particularly the sharing of knowledge to solve problems, said Uwe Gehlen, Head of Division on effectiveness, transparency and quality standards, International Development Policy, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany.

New solutions aimed at poverty reduction and sustainable growth were continually being discovered, he said, noting that his country was seeking to harness that creativity.  In that connection, Germany had provided resources to other countries that would allow them to devise solutions to their own distinct development challenges.

The world was witnessing an amazing technological “leapfrog” which impacted people all over the world, particularly those in developing countries, said Steve Hollingworth, President and CEO of the Grameen Foundation, speaking in a second panel discussion on bridging capacity gaps and facilitating technology development and transfer.

He emphasized that efforts must be made to ensure that technological advancements benefitted the poor, while also protecting their interests, warning that, although new capacities provided opportunities to glean a greater understanding of the needs and aspirations of the poor, they also presented inherent risks.

The role of technology in helping developing countries with their domestic resource mobilization challenges was another emerging trend, said Richard Watts, Senior Analyst at Development Initiatives.  Progress made in increasing national capacities to mobilize revenue had been insufficient over the last three years, he said, underscoring that, at the end of the end of the day, the focus must be on building States’ capacities to deliver services and its social contract with citizens and businesses.

At the outset of the meeting, a collaborative debriefing session took place, in which panellists reviewed the key messages from the meetings and events that took place on Monday, 21 May.

In the afternoon, two additional panel discussions were held on “Strengthening multi-layered review and assessment of development cooperation:  what works?” and “The strategic role of development cooperation in building sustainable and resilient societies”.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene on Wednesday, 23 May at 10 a.m.

Collaborative Debrief

JOSÉ ANTONIO ALONSO, Professor of Applied Economics at Complutense University of Madrid, said that, while many of the Development Cooperation Forum’s 21 May discussions were focused on the future, he believed there was value in looking to the past for lessons learned.  There was a clear need to reshape international development cooperation, including a move towards the democratization of the current system to ensure that it belonged to all countries, providers and recipients.  The current system was highly fragmented, which led to serious coordination challenges.  More time should be dedicated towards the exploration of soft elements that incentivized more effective and transparent coordination.  Development cooperation was much more than financial flows, and included the sharing of experiences, the search for innovative solutions and building capacities.

JONATHAN GLENNIE, Independent Researcher and Writer, said that the major shift that had taken place over the last few years was that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was now deeply embedded in all discussions around aid and development cooperation.  Another major change was that the South had a far more powerful voice than it did in the past.  Both those examples were part of an important paradigm shift.  Stakeholders were realizing the challenges in introducing more private finance into the development cooperation framework.  National ownership was another major issue that had garnered a great deal of attention during the 21 May discussions, including that, without greater engagement from recipient countries, there would be no serious sustainable gains.  He also expressed concern that since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals some momentum had been lost.

Session IV

Chaired by Marie Chatardová, (Czechia), President of the Economic and Social Council and moderated by Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, Chief Executive, South African Institute of International Affairs, the first panel of the day was titled “Leveraging South-South and triangular cooperation for sustainable development:  on the road to BAPA+40”.  Panellists included Daniel Raymondi, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Worship, Argentina; Li Chenggang, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Commerce, China; Agustín García-Lopes, Executive Director, Mexican Agency of International Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico; João Almino, Director General, Brazilian Cooperation Agency, Brazil; Uwe Gehlen, Head of Division on effectiveness, transparency and quality standards, International Development Policy, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany; and Amy Padilla, Executive Director, IBON International.

Mr. RAYMONDI said that the second United Nations conference on South-South cooperation, which would be held in Argentina in March 2019, would present an opportune time to focus on several important areas, including ways to strengthen cooperation through regional platforms.  There should be greater promotion of triangular and decentralized cooperation, he said, stressing that the former should be sufficiently flexible to allow for the involvement of many different actors.  Interregional synergies should be maximized, he emphasized, adding that such partnerships had a great deal of untapped potential.  Efforts should be made to move forward in the follow-up and evaluation of South-South and triangular cooperation to assess their capacities to contribute to sustainable development.

Mr. LI said that China was committed to reform and opening its economy with a view towards pursuing high-quality economic development.  He recalled that 2018 marked the fortieth anniversary of China’s cooperation with United Nations development agencies, which had accompanied his country on its historic journey of reform.  China had actively and successfully carried out triangular cooperation with the United Nations in developing countries.  All countries must uphold a spirit of international cooperation, support multilateral institutions and work together to tackle various challenges.  The gaps between the world’s rich and poor was not only a massive imbalance, but was also unsustainable and a source of the turmoil and instability.  Financing was a major challenge when it came to international development cooperation, with only six countries following through on their commitment to give 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance (ODA).

Mr. GARCÍA-LOPES said that, while each country was primarily responsible for its own development processes, international development cooperation was a useful instrument for supporting national development policies.  Both the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognized that development cooperation, in its various forms, was an instrument that complemented and strengthened other forms of assistance and was a catalyst for the mobilization of fiscal resources.  It was essential to view development in a multidimensional manner and to build strategies that responded to the specific needs of countries at their various stages of development.  The 2030 Agenda had demonstrated that challenges such as migration and climate change were issues that affected all nations.

Mr. ALMINO said that international development cooperation did not need to have a rigid framework, but it must have a comprehensive structure to consider the different realities that existed in developing countries.  Development cooperation could be modest in nature, but still have an impact.  Efforts must be made to strengthen the institutions of developing countries, he said, underscoring that there must also be greater quantification, evaluation and measurement of South‑South cooperation, considering qualitative aspects that went beyond a simple measurement of financial flows.

Mr. GEHLEN said that, for Germany, the issue of development was not only linked to resources, but was also related to knowledge, particularly sharing it to solve problems.  Human capacity and solutions were being created all over the world.  New solutions aimed at poverty reduction and sustainable growth were continually being discovered, he said, noting that his country sought to harness that creativity.  Germany had devoted resources to helping others come up with their own solutions.

Ms. PADILLA said that South-South cooperation was an effective way of rebalancing power relations in international cooperation.  Yet, South-South cooperation was not a substitute for, but rather should complement, ODA.  It was important to develop institutionalized mechanisms, especially at the local and national levels for South-South cooperation, bearing in mind the need to involve citizens.  She stressed promoting solidarity and democratic ownership in a well‑rounded and sustainable manner at the country level, while also underlining that human rights frameworks needed to be strengthened.

In the ensuing discussion, a member of Parliament of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said that, to successfully implement the 2030 Agenda, parliamentarians, as elected officials, must be included in the discourse.

A member of Parliament of Austria asked for the panellists’ views on the contributions of the global North regarding South-South and triangular cooperation.

The representative of Cabo Verde said that, as both a recipient and provider of South-South cooperation, their country recognized the potential of such partnerships, although they should not be viewed as substitutes for North-South cooperation.

That view was shared by the representative of Cuba, who stressed that South‑South cooperation should be complementary and pursued in a spirit of solidarity with respect for non-conditionality and sovereignty.

The representative of the European Union emphasized the potential of South‑South cooperation as assistance for countries experiencing fragility, where poverty was frequently concentrated.

The representative of Sudan said that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda had given rise to changes in international cooperation, highlighting that their country had contributed to South-South cooperation, including through the provision of academic scholarships.

The representative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) called attention to his office’s fruitful cooperation with the United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation.

Also speaking were the representatives of India, Iran and Andorra.

A representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also delivered a statement.

Session V

The second panel of the day, chaired by Ms. Chatardová and moderated by Mark Lewis, Assistant Director, Institute for Capacity Development, International Monetary Fund, was titled “Bridging capacity gaps and facilitating technology development and transfer in strategic areas”.  The panellists included Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP); Richard Watts, Senior Analyst, Development Initiatives; Zachary Chege, Director General, National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya, and Chair, United Nations Statistical Commission; and Steve Hollingworth, President and CEO, Grameen Foundation.

Ms. AKHTAR said that the multilateral development banks and ODA providers were trying to establish institutionalized platforms, which would help reduce the current ad hoc nature of providing assistance.  It was unclear whether such projects would offer tax policy advice, she said, adding that high priority should be accorded to regions and countries with low tax-to-GDP ratios.  Expanding tax coverage was extremely important, she said, stressing the need to rationalize and abolish tax regimes that allowed for tax evasion.  Highlighting that it was also important to harness the tax potential of large economies, she emphasized that informal economies did not lend themselves to resource mobilization.

Mr. WATTS said one of the key policy challenges for developing countries was domestic revenue mobilization, stressing that the progress made in that area over the last three years was not sufficient.  The question was how to build capacity among the relevant revenue authorities, particularly given recent technological advancements.  At the end of the day, the focus must be on building States’ capacities to deliver services and its social contract with citizens and businesses.

Mr. CHEGE emphasized that, to fully implement and monitor progress towards the development Goals, there was great demand for quality, accurate, timely, open and sufficiently disaggregated data.  In that connection, significant efforts must be undertaken to strengthen the data collection and statistical capacities of national authorities.  Some of the most critical issues that were yet to be addressed related to coordination and innovation and the way in which technology could be utilized to improve national statistical capacities, including the collection, dissemination and use of data.

Mr. HOLLINGWORTH said that the world was witnessing an amazing technological “leapfrog” which impacted people all over the world, particularly those in developing countries.  However, efforts must be made to ensure that those technological advancements benefitted the poor, while also protecting their interests.  Through new technologies, it was now possible to provide to field workers and the poor themselves information that was relevant to their daily lives, which also influenced their decision-making.  Such advancements provided opportunities to gain a greater understanding of the needs and aspirations of the poor, although those new capacities also presented risks.

The representative of Uruguay stressed the need to redefine policies to move forward and decrease inequalities and underlined that, for her country, it was important to have support that went beyond financial resources and included the sharing of knowledge and expertise.

The representative of India said that tax policy challenges often went beyond national borders and would require greater international cooperation and coherence.

The representative of Brazil highlighted that one of the primary strategic capacity gaps that required greater attention was data collection methodologies.

Mr. WATTS said there was a huge gap between the amount of ODA provided and the requirements for domestic resource mobilization.

Ms. AKHTAR said the big question that needed to be addressed was how to mainstream the sustainable development agenda within the current public expenditure frameworks of developing countries.

Mr. CHEGE noted that there was a new project under way that would include a financing mechanism for sustainable data.

Mr. HOLLINGWORTH said that the international community must be prepared to address the phenomenon whereby data becomes a commodity.

Also speaking were the representatives of Ethiopia and Ghana.

A representative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union also delivered a statement.

Session VI

The third panel of the day, chaired by Ms. Chatardová and moderated by Navid Hanif, Director, Financing for Sustainable Development Office, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, was titled “Strengthening multi-layered review and assessment of development cooperation: what works?”  The panellists included:  David Mehdi Hamam, Director, Office of the Special Adviser on Africa to the Secretary‑General; Ana Ciuti, Director General, International Cooperation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Argentina, and Chair, Intergovernmental Council of the Iberoamerican Program for the Strengthening of South-South Cooperation; Michele Demers, CEO and Founder, Boundless Impact Investing; Rahul Malhotra, Head of Division, Reviews, Results, Evaluation and Development Innovation, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and Erin Palomares, Global Secretariat Coordinator, Reality of Aid Global.

Mr. HANIF explained that the panel would present a diverse set of perspectives on measurements and results.  The 2030 Agenda required adaptation and translation so that the public could understand and embrace it.

Mr. HAMAM presented the African perspective and framework on managing the 2030 Agenda, as well as the African Union Agenda 2063.  The 2030 Agenda recognized the importance of reinforcing interlinkages between high-level forums, as well as reviews at the local levels.  In Africa, steps had been taken to coordinate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.  The 2016 Conference of African Ministers of Finance had decided to adopt a single monitoring and evaluation framework and a common reporting architecture to promote the integrated implementation of both plans.  The African Union Commission and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) had also supported integrating all the Goals into national development plans.  Moreover, the mandate of the African Peer Review Mechanism had been expanded to monitor the implementation of Agenda 2063 governance and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms. CIUTI said the programme for South-South Cooperation in the Iberoamerican region included 20 countries in its framework and aimed to develop strategic dialogues with other regions, as well as work on technical and methodological issues.  The entire community was involved at all times in the programme.  A global comprehensive report on South-South cooperation was needed, as her group’s report dealt with its specific region.  The Iberoamerican community had been contributing to the programme, the report, as well as a platform for measurement.  That platform contained qualitative and quantitative data indicators on how Iberoamerican South-South cooperation was contributing to Latin America in general in terms of complying with the Sustainable Development Goals.  The methodology was a valuable tool to share with other regions, she said.

The representative of Canada noted the challenge in coordination, asking about possibilities of integrating initiatives to ensure that countries had the ability to carry out relevant programmes.

Mr. HANIF asked about the Iberoamerican methodology, noting that it was difficult to come to an agreement about a shared framework to analyse delivery mechanisms and outputs, and asking how the organization had overcome that challenge.

Ms. CIUTI said the tool was a platform within which every country had to report its data.  That information was then evaluated according to a formula.  In the Iberoamerican community, they were attempting to constantly improve the system, and when a request came in from developed countries, the relevant data were available to answer it.  The system was complicated and time-consuming, but the information provided was very good and validated by all the countries taking part in any given initiative.

Mr. HAMAM said that, with the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, African countries had come up with NEPAD in 2001, which was the first African-led socioeconomic development framework.  In 2003, African countries also adopted the African Peer Review Mechanism, which was a programme to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  That constituted a way for African countries to show their advancement in terms of socioeconomic progress.  A panel conducted country reviews based on governance indicators, submitted to the Africa Peer Review forum.  After that review was completed, recommendations were submitted to countries and a second review covered progress on that action.

The representative of Uganda noted that cooperation happening in the South had to meet certain criteria to qualify as South-South cooperation.  Not all bilateral cooperation qualified, he pointed out.

The representative of Brazil said evaluation and assessment depended on evidence, and without investment in project design, it would be difficult to achieve a basis for effective evaluation.

The representative of India said his delegation remained opposed to the measurement of South-South cooperation, which was too heterogeneous and diverse.  As such, a one-size-fits-all approach was neither desirable nor applicable.

A representative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union said he found it difficult to follow the technical discussion.  He asked if there was a definition of tied aid and the best source regarding that.

Ms. CIUTI said that, in regional dialogue, they discussed and respected the principles of South-South cooperation, which had expanded and matured so much that a consensus was available on systems of assessment that everyone could use.  The regional forms of cooperation may be different, but a basic consensus was possible.

Ms. DEMERS said her firm was attempting to move more private capital into innovative solutions to environmental and social challenges.  A unique class of forward-thinking investors was trying to more rapidly advance progress.  The values-based investment market included socially responsible investing, impact investing and others.  It accounted for an estimated $23 trillion in assets and was rooted in an idea of concessionary returns.  Screening out companies that were detrimental to society used to be its approach, but the movement was now moving to screening affirmative behaviour.  She highlighted the importance of terminology because sustainable investing was different from impact investing, with the issue of “green-washing” being prevalent.  Her firm was focused on impact investment specifically, focusing on product impact rather than operational impact, which was harder to measure.  Turning to the importance of data, she said the prospect of holding companies accountable for their economic and environmental effects was promising.  However, methods of objectively tracking behaviour and change, rather than subjective reporting, would be increasingly used in the future.

Mr. MALHOTRA said that, at the national level, reality did not match the ideal scenario with regards to implementation and evaluation of the 2030 Goals.  He asked about the convergence and divergence of using the 2030 framework at the country level.  On multi-stakeholder partnerships, it was important to review norms and standards around partnership behaviours.  “Additionality” was a compelling concept, he said, highlighting the importance of measuring the impact of choosing a particular partner over another.  Several peer review mechanisms existed at the regional and multilateral levels, as well as review and assessment mechanisms covering certain blocs at the global level.  A case could be made about retaining tailored mechanisms, but there was also a strong case about bringing those mechanisms together and nudging behaviour change and fostering learning across constituencies in the interest of mutual accountability.  He recommended coming up with an exchange platform in that regard.

Ms. PALOMARES said that, in the Forum’s 2018 survey, while it was encouraging that a high number of countries had development cooperation systems in place, there were gaps in information in that regard, because it was more skewed towards inputs rather than outputs.  Review and assessment should concern itself with the impact of development on people’s lives.  Civil society organizations played a critical role in that context.  Citizens were active generators of reliable, experiential data on the ground which could be used to complement or even challenge official data.  Her organization examined the regulatory standards for accountability mechanisms with sustainable development objectives, asking which private sector entities were being involved.  Such organizing also strengthened a human‑rights-based approach to development cooperation, which shifted the focus away from economic growth to a holistic approach so that development was understood as a process.

Ms. DEMERS said that sustainability was “good business”, noting that the data revolution was helping create new standards for corporate behaviour.  Companies adhering to the 2030 Goals would be demonstrated as better investments.  Considering population growth and environmental change, many new industries were emerging that were solving those problems, for example, solar energy, alternative proteins and others.

Mr. HANIF noted the issue of incentive structures and regulatory structures in that regard, asking whether States were ready to modify behaviour and mind-set.

Mr. MALHOTRA said the pace of change with regard to the 2030 Goals was varied across countries, but the commitment was present and visible.

The representative of Ethiopia asked how States could access the trillions of dollars in the hands of the private sector and ensure that sustainable development programmes could be financed at the national level.  Also, without poverty reduction, the benefit of any kind of cooperation or partnership could not be harnessed, he noted.

Ms. DEMERS said that public-private partnerships were emerging as a method of financing and unleashing private capital for large infrastructure projects.  In those cases, the Government could monitor or run the project.  Debt and credit mechanisms existed in that regard, such as municipal bonds.  In closing, she noted that capital could be a force for good, but the financing industry needed reform, particularly in the United States.  More transparent, data-driven ways were needed to measure outcomes.

Ms. CIUTI highlighted the Iberoamerican instrument, adding that they were in talks with African countries.  Blended finance was an interesting mechanism for development, with the private sector playing an increasingly important role.

Mr. HAMAM said that three levels of monitoring, including at the country, regional and global levels, would allow coherent data coming from different partners.  Reliable statistics would also allow identifying gaps to move forward.

Mr. MALHOTRA said it was important to pool individual efforts in terms of assessing progress and incentives were needed across constituencies.

The representative of Guinea also participated in the discussion.

Session VII

A final panel, titled “The strategic role of development cooperation in building sustainable and resilient societies”, was chaired by Ms. Chatardová and moderated by Lilly Nicholls, Director of Development Research, Development Policy Bureau, Global Affairs, Canada.  The panellists included:  Mohammad Ismail Rahimi, Deputy Minister for Economy of Afghanistan; Gladys Ghartey, Head, United Nations Unit, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ghana; Margareta Cederfelt, Member of Parliament, Riksdag, Sweden; Prima Tukamushaba, Youth Representative, Ntungamo District, local government, Uganda.

Mr. RAHIMI said a recent survey in Afghanistan provided interesting results.  It revealed that 48 per cent of the population was younger than 15 years.  Poverty had increased to 55 per cent and food insecurity had also increased in 2017.  However, much improvement had also been observed, particularly regarding gender parity in education.  International aid to Afghanistan had decreased to $4.2 billion in 2015, and yet, the country was highly donor-dependent.  Two thirds of its budget was financed by aid assistance, he reported.  Regarding off-budget financing, he noted that it went to scattered and fragmented projects.  Such small projects were implemented by many agencies and institutions leading to increased transaction costs.  The development cooperation agenda in least developed countries like Afghanistan required constructive dialogue to resolve challenges and move forward.

Ms. GHARTEY said that international development cooperation was multifaceted.  She noted that the 0.7 per cent of ODA promised for emerging economies to help with their development agenda was not forthcoming.  She recommended that, in July, at the high-level political forum, it was important to stress that developed countries should make good on their promises for that assistance.  She also noted that for international development cooperation to be resilient, it should be coordinated with domestic efforts and regulatory frameworks and policies must be properly disseminated.  Turning to South-South cooperation, she recalled that the principles governing it had changed over the past 40 years, with certain countries becoming richer.  At the upcoming meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, those principles should be revisited.

Ms. CEDERFELT said that it was important to reach different social groups, including youth, in terms of policies and decision-making.  On accountability, she said that Parliament and Governments must decide on implementation.  Division of power was important so that Parliament, Government and institutions were separated from each other and spending could be scrutinized.  Regarding the South-South perspective, she said that ownership within countries was important to moving forward.  Donor countries also wanted to see results, she pointed out.  Corruption was a poison affecting the whole society, because it engendered mistrust.  She highlighted the importance of parliamentarians building networks and receiving support because they were responsible for legislation in their countries.

Ms. TUKAMUSHABA called for development cooperation to highlight local perspectives.  Youth were particularly vulnerable and should be involved in development, because they knew best the issues that affected them.  She proposed a United Nations youth fund to help young people receive practical skills and help with employment.  Many negative forces affected young people, and development organizations could help them with local partnerships to improve in concrete ways.

The representative of Ecuador highlighted the need to discuss South-South cooperation thoroughly, asking about the role of least developed countries in South-South programmes so that they did not have to be dependent on outside support.  She also asked about the role of middle-income countries such as her own, emphasizing the issue of graduation in that regard.

A representative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union said the concept of development cooperation was enshrined in the policies of all countries.  Regarding assessment and evaluation, she expressed hope that a concerted effort would be made towards implementation and application.

Ms. GHARTEY said that the way middle-income countries were treated was equivalent to “punishing the good guy”.  Two years ago, Ghana had asked for a smoother transition strategy for those countries, because support should not be abruptly withdrawn once a country graduated to that level.  She also highlighted the importance of technological strides, calling for more communication regarding the upcoming launch of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.

Mr. RAHIMI said that arriving at a common understanding for development cooperation was a key priority that affected a country’s prosperity.  That required constructive discussions between the receiving country and its partners.  Afghanistan had moved through different phases in that regard and had arrived at the modality of multilateral development cooperation, establishing two trust funds for construction and infrastructure.

Ms. CEDERFELT said that national ownership in terms of development was crucial, also underlining the importance of responsibility and accountability.  International networking was also important for parliamentarians, she added.

Ms. TUKAMUSHABA said that stakeholders in all countries must participate in development cooperation for it to work.

Closing Statements

In delivering closing statements, LIU ZHENMIN, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that the main message of the Forum was that States were on the right path in terms of the 2030 Agenda.  However, it was important to adapt at a swifter pace and move out of comfort zones.  The Forum had also strongly advocated for ODA, with specific commitments to be made in that regard.  Inclusiveness must be taken to a new level, with development cooperation placing a cross-cutting emphasis on gender equality and youth inclusion.  National development cooperation policies could prove a powerful tool in engaging civil society and the private sector.  Private-public partnerships were context-specific, he noted, and must be aligned with country priorities for sustainable development.  South-South cooperation had evolved with the times, but its principles articulated 40 years ago in Buenos Aires remained pivotal.  Innovation in that regard was important to heighten its impact.  Growing scepticism in public institutions posed a real threat to prospects for achieving the 2030 Agenda, he warned.  Monitoring and review were important in translating policies into strategies and action plans.

Ms. CHATARDOVÁ stressed that solving problems in a complex world would require a collaborative and iterative process.  Further, in a world where violent extremism was on the rise, where civic space was shrinking and where multilateralism was under attack, support for the broader public agenda could not be taken for granted.  Action was being taken in communities around the globe, aimed at achieving the future development agenda, but there needed to be more direct engagement with people and the creation of feedback loops for change in policy and practice to take place.  Building trust in institutions for development cooperation was a priority, she said, emphasizing the need for participation, inclusiveness and the strengthening of capacities and institutions for development cooperation on all levels.

For information media. Not an official record.