Development effectiveness: what happened in Nairobi?

By Graciela Rico (Caritas Spain) and Bob van Dillen (Caritas Europa)

On 30 November and 1 December 2016, governments, international organisations and civil society organisations (CSOs) from around the world, met at the Nairobi Civil Society Forum and the Second High-Level Meeting (HLM2) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC).

The GPEDC meeting was a key moment for advocates of a universal, transparent and effective development cooperation because it sent a strong signal about the critical role of the development effectiveness principles, effective development cooperation and multi-stakeholder partnerships in the delivery of the 2030 Agenda. Building on the work done in previous global meetings, participants at the HLM2 documented the progress made by all actors working on implementing the five development effectiveness principles: democratic ownership, focus on results, inclusive partnerships, and transparency and accountability.

A topic of great concern among CSOs is the need for free and guaranteed civic space at all levels, consistent with agreed international rights. This is essential for them in order to contribute to development, globally and locally, and to helping people realise their rights. In Nairobi, participants agreed that they need spaces and secure and enabling environments for participation in public policies, and to ensure adequate funding to implement development programmes. The debates also focused on the role of the private sector in the GPEDC and the importance for this sector to be accountable to funders and recipients in its development interventions, especially in aspects of labor, environment, and other human rights standards.

Civil society has insisted that the debate on aid effectiveness is no longer just about “doing more with less”. It is now about co-responsibility, interdependence, mutual accountability, building global and innovative strategies to achieve development, such as South - South and tripartite cooperation. It is about how to make all public policies move towards development, how to make all forms of cooperation effective in achieving it, based on locally driven objectives, ownership of development priorities, harmonisation of strategies, joint management by results, inclusive partnerships and transparency for accountability of what is being achieved and how. These new approaches are relevant for fragile states, middle income countries or any other developing country.

The universality of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and development effectiveness principles are essential to ensure that no one is left behind in the development process, especially the most vulnerable groups - those that are often excluded by economic systems (such as women, indigenous people, elderly people, migrants, ...). The type of global and inclusive alliance built around development effectiveness is an important model to follow because it maximises the impact of any form of development cooperation and defines development as a global public good.

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