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Lord McConnell speaks on Global Goals at the Development Cooperation Forum

Development Cooperation: Lever for Effective Implementation of 2030 Agenda

The 5th Biennial High-level Meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum took place in New York almost 1 year after the agreement of the Sustainable Development Goals – now known as the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development or Agenda 2030. 2015 marked a milestone for sustainable development with three summits in Addis Ababa, New York and Paris agreeing a comprehensive agenda for financing development, global goals and action on climate change. The DCF followed the High-level Meeting of ECOSOC at which several countries presented their first national strategies for the implementation of the Global Goals.

The DCF brings together member states of the UN, development experts, NGOs, the private sector and others, to improve development cooperation. This year’s Biennial Forum focussed on the implementation of the new goals. Speakers came from the UN, from individual member states both rich and poor and from other multilateral organisations and agencies, the private sector and development NGOs. Discussions ranged across finance, capacity building, south-south cooperation, data and other topics. A series of concept notes are available on the ECOSOC DCF website, and a Ministerial statement, agreed at the end, is also available on that website.

Many participants welcomed the statement by Ambassador Martin Shearman of the United Kingdom that, following recent changes in the UK government, the UK remained committed to spending 0.7% of our national income on ODA. However, the majority of discussions on finance were concentrated on attracting new forms of investment finance and mobilising domestic resources in the developing world through improved tax systems and tax collection. While delegations such as the representatives from Ghana stressed correctly that each country must implement Agenda 2030 in the most relevant way for them, driven by national strategies and national accountability, speakers also referred regularly to the need for the United Nations system to change and adapt to provide more support to countries for this task. In particular, issues such as data collection and economic analysis were highlighted as areas where global action might help individual countries deliver better outcomes.

I was invited to speak in the final session on The Way Forward. My contribution stressed the need for more urgency in acting on the Global Goals and the danger in the search for perfect systems and outcomes, as that might block or stall basic progress. I called for more accountability within countries to national parliaments and to citizens with a bottom-up approach to engagement rather than simply international monitoring. I also stressed the importance of early investment in capacity building, and the need to begin targeting those who were furthest to reach: those experiencing the most extreme poverty or vulnerability. Finally, I reiterated the importance we attach to Goal on peace building.

Answering questions, I was able to stress the key role that young people had played in the consultations on the Global Goals and that they had to play in implementation. I was also able to support calls for changes in the culture of the United Nations to ensure more effective support for countries meeting this huge development challenge.

Lord McConnell was grateful to the BGIPU for facilitating his participation in the 5th Biennial High-level Meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum and thanked the BGIPU Chair for the assistance provided.

Lord McConnell