Development Cooperation in the post-2015 era: What will it take?

Isabella Pagotto, Global Institutions Division, Swiss Development Cooperation Agency

From 8 – 10 April 2015 a high-level symposium of the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum gathered representatives from governments, multilateral institutions, parliaments, think tanks, the private sector and civil society to discuss in an open and frank atmosphere how development cooperation can support the implementation of the post-2015 agenda.



Reviewing new trends and effectiveness of development cooperation

The biennial United Nations Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) is a global multi-stakeholder policy forum of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) mandated by the 2005 World Summit for Sustainable Development. It provides for a policy space among representatives of different actors to reflect and discuss in an open and frank manner new trends of development cooperation and aims at promoting greater coherence and effectiveness among activities of different partners.

Website of the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum.

Implications of a universal post-2015 agenda for development cooperation

A transformative, unified and universal agenda post-2015 requires a renewed global partnership for sustainable development based on solidarity and shared responsibility. While building on the successes of the MDGs, new ways must be found to mobilize, allocate and use unprecedented amounts of domestic and international, public and private financial resources and other means of implementation more effectively. All actors will need to contribute to the achievement of such an ambitious agenda. It also implies that policy coherence is becoming even more important in order to achieve sustainable development goals in all countries.

Smart development cooperation

In a post-2015 era, development cooperation will need to adapt to the new circumstance. Since the 90ies the number and diversity of development cooperation actors has increased rapidly, including, for example, a much wider range of countries and many more private actors, such as philanthropic foundations, private sector, civil society organizations. Bringing together the right actors to solve a specific problem will be even more important to support the implementation of the post-2015 agenda for the next fifteen years. In this context, capacity building, knowledge sharing, technology facilitation, including taking to scale local technology and innovations will become key instruments.

Participants of the symposium highlighted the need for better official development assistance and its role of leveraging other sources of financing for sustainable development, both public and private at domestic and international levels. The symposium provided an opportunity to discuss principles of effective cooperation and their implications for new actors and instruments, including concerns that a focus on the so-called “catalytic aid” could come at the expense of financing for the poorest and those most in need.

The dialogue should continue

The discussions showed very clearly that the complexity of a unified and universal agenda post-2015 requires even more so spaces and platforms allowing for thorough reflection and open discourse among all relevant actors about the future implications for development cooperation.

Background studies on fundamental questions related to the role and future of development cooperation