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Forum for the Future of Aid

Southern Voices for Change in the International Aid System Project

The Forum on the Future of Aid is an online community dedicated to research and opinions about how the international aid system currently works and where it should go next

organised by ODI

The Follow up Conference to Financing for Development, Doha 2008

Background to the process

Summaries of the latest related events

OECD/DAC Global Forum on Development: latest events

Ownership in Practice, Paris, September 2007

OECD/DAC Global Forum on Development

Background to the process

Summaries of the latest related events

DCF Launch, New York July 2008

The Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) was officially launched on 5 July 2007 as part of the High-level Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Geneva.

Here, the General Assembly asked the DCF to give policy guidance and recommendations to promote more effective international development cooperation. In addition, the DCF was tasked to make practical and policy recommendations to improve coherence and promote development cooperation to help achieve internationally agreed development goals.

The official launch included a plenary session followed by two roundtables on: “Promoting greater coherence among development activities of different development partners: the role of national aid coordination and management” and “Review of trends in international development cooperation: South-South and triangular cooperation”. In addition, an informal Stakeholder Forum was convened to discuss the role of the DCF in promoting improved oversight of aid commitments and aid effectiveness

Cairo High Level Symposium, January 2008

A second symposium will be held in Cairo on January 19-20, where the participants will review development cooperation trends under the theme of ‘results-oriented development cooperation: pursuing national interests’. Topics to be address will include the nature of conditionality, including recent experiences with outcome-based conditionality; examples of successful South-South and triangular development cooperation; and the possibility of rethinking the current framework for assessing aid quality, including aid effectiveness, based on principles such as national leadership and mutual accountability. The Cairo symposium will serve to inform the consultative process and analytical preparations for the 2008 DCF.

ECOSOC DCF: summaries of recent related events

Cairo High Level Symposium, January 2008

DCF Launch, New York, July 2007

Vienna High Level Symposium, April 2007

ECOSOC Biennial Development Cooperation Forum

Background to the process

Summaries of the latest related events

Upcoming Global Aid Policy Events

Recent developments in the policy debate around the aid delivery system offers opportunities for greater engagement by Southern civil society organisations. There are a number of key intergovernmental fora and related processes which are taking place. These are

OECD/DAC Global Development Forum

2008 Follow up Conference to Financing for Development, Doha

2008 Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, Accra

2008 ECOSOC Biennial Development Cooperation Forum

2007 Meeting of the G20 in South Africa

2007 Meeting of the G8 in Germany

2007 Spring meetings for the Bretton Woods Institutions and Regional Development Banks

2007 replenishment negotiations for the World Bank's concessionary lending arm, the International Development Association(IDA)

2008 replenishment negotiations for the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD)

2007 Meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, Uganda

Click here for a calender of global aid policy events

The Follow up Conference to Financing for Development, Doha 2008

By Ajoy Datta and Simon Burall

The UN International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico aimed to agree how the financial resources required for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could be raised. The ‘Monterrey Consensus’ was supported by 50 heads of state and contained decisions on: mobilising domestic financial resources, mobilising international resources, international trade, international development cooperation, external debt and the coherence of the international monetary, financial and trading systems.

The important, but somewhat weakly mandated, follow-up process has two main recurring elements. These are an annual ECOSOC high-level meeting and the biennial General Assembly High-Level Dialogue (HLD). In addition there is a third element, a Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development will take place from 29 November to 2 December 2008 to review progress in implementing the Monterrey Consensus. These are all briefly described below.

Annual ECOSOC high-level meetings: These meetings take place immediately after the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and involve the Bretton Woods Institutions, the WTO and UNCTAD. These meetings aim to facilitate dialogue among ministers of finance returning from the Washington meetings (from both donor and partner countries), on the one hand, and ministers of aid and foreign affairs (from donor countries), on the other. Civil society and private sector representatives have also participated in these meetings. The last ECOSOC high-level meeting took place in April 2007.

Biennial General Assembly High-Level Dialogues: These dialogues are the second element of the FfD follow-up process. They serve as the intergovernmental focal point for the general follow-up to the Conference and related issues. The most recent High Level Dialogue (HLD) took place in October 2007. The HLD is a ministerial-level forum, with the participation of all relevant stakeholders in the Financing for Development process (including ministers of aid agencies from donor countries and ministers of finance and/or planning ministries from partner countries). It aims to assess the state of implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. The 2007 HLD addressed six main areas, which emerged at the first International Conference on Financing for Development in 2002 (see above). The summary report of the ECOSOC high-level meeting is a key input to the HLD. Both follow up meetings have often led to the adoption of resolutions and decisions (or legislative mandates) during UN substantive sessions.

Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development: Although issues such as commitments to increase aid from donor countries, debt cancellation and the emergence of new donors such as China and India, are bound to dominate debates prior to the 2008 Doha conference and shape the agenda, at the time of writing the conference agenda had not been decided upon. In the UN resolution on the FfD follow up conference, governments avoided commitments and defined the purpose of the conference in general terms.

“[…] the review conference should assess progress made, reaffirm goals and commitments, share best practices and lessons learned, and identify obstacles and constraints encountered, actions and initiatives to overcome them, and important measures for further implementation, as well as new challenges and emerging issues.” (UN GA, 2007)

Some of the key questions to be raised in the run up to the FfD follow-up Conference in Doha include 1) which Monterrey achievements most need international political protection against roll back and further support for implementation? 2) which Monterrey-based initiatives are most realisable but need a political push? and 3) which new issues of concern are coming up and most deserve active lobby work toward specific solutions? In addition, the NGO committee has produced a list of potential topics for international discussion in Financing for Development.

Stakeholder involvement: According to the UN Draft resolution, the follow up conference ‘will be held at the highest possible political level, including the participation of heads of state or government, ministers and special representatives’. The conference will include plenary meetings and six interactive multi-stakeholder round tables on the themes based on the six major thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus. Registration to the conference is open to all NGOs that are accredited with ECOSOC; to the Conference or its follow-up process (UN, 2007).

Although governments have requested that the UN consult with member states and all stakeholders in an open, inclusive and transparent manner, a reliable official plan for the preparatory process was, at the time of writing, still lacking. Nevertheless the UN resolution (2007) called on UN regional commissions to hold regional consultations during the first half of 2008 to provide inputs to the preparation of the Review Conference. Further, the resolution called for informal review sessions on the six thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus lasting 11 days and one day for informal hearings with civil society and the business sectors between January and June 2008.

The International Facilitating Group on Financing for Development (IFG) represents the largest NGO community monitoring the Financing for Development agenda and has organised NGO inputs to the ECOSOC high-level meetings and General Assembly HLDs.

Another key facilitator is the NGO committee on FfD, which aims to strengthen NGO relationships with the FfD office of the UN Secretariat and aims to integrate FfD issues into the work of ECOSOC and UN commissions. Unofficially, international CSOs have hosted international seminars for civil society on development financing before HLDs with the intention of feeding key outputs into the HLD.

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