We must seize the opportunity of the First High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's minister of finance and coordinating minister for the economy as well as a co-chair of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's high-level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 development agenda. Photo by: Jori Klein/Acumen Fund / CC BY-NC-ND

    In less than a month’s time, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation will hold its first high-level meeting in Mexico City.

    Conceived at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea, in 2011, the Global Partnership helps nations, business and organizations work better together to end poverty.

    The Millennium Development Goals deadline of 2015 is fast approaching. Phenomenal gains have been made, yet poverty still afflicts one in seven people — and one in eight still goes to bed hungry.

    The Mexico meeting, set for April 15-16, marks a major milestone in the fight against poverty and in the run-up to the MDG target year of 2015.  

    It’s also an important milestone in the global debate on the shape of the next global development framework that must build on the MDG successes, ensure universal, sustainable development and end the scourge of poverty once and for all.

    Mexico, the host nation, the three Global Partnership co-chairs — Justine Greening, the U.K. secretary of state for international development, Armida Alisjahbana, the Indonesian minister for national development planning, and I — and the wider Global Partnership are determined to make this meeting the success it needs to be.

    Heads of state and government, leaders from business, civil society, international organizations and big philanthropic foundations meeting in Mexico must agree on concrete actions to boost effective development cooperation, both now and after 2015.

    First, they must review global progress in making development cooperation more effective since the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011 — and take steps to boost impact on the ground.

    From Malawi to Moldova, we’ve seen some clear-cut country successes since the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, but clearly a lot more needs to be done.

    Leaders in Mexico must make a clear call for the Global Partnership — and for effective development cooperation more broadly — to be used as key elements in partnering for and implementing the next global development framework.

    The next set of global development goals cannot be met without inclusive, effective partnerships to drive progress.

    Secondly, we need concrete decisions to help developing countries get more of their own money. No country should be dependent on others’ resources.

    This is a critical issue for Africa in particular. The High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, estimates that the continent loses around $50 billion a year through tax evasion, undeclared business and corruption.

    Bringing together governments, development banks, businesses, foundations, international agencies and civil society, the Global Partnership can help developing countries analyze gaps in their tax systems and improve them.

    Third, we want progress on action to boost development cooperation for inclusive, sustainable growth in middle-income countries, which are now home to nearly 75 percent of the world’s poor.

    Fourth, we’re looking to agree on clear principles for what makes good South-South cooperation, including know-how and knowledge exchange between developing countries.

    The rising nations of the South are doing far more together — and we need to clarify what works best to ensure everyone benefits.

    Fifth, we need to share and support innovative, dynamic examples of how business boosts development — not just on the margins, but at the heart of their business models.

    As my fellow Global Partnership co-chair Justine Greening said recently in Abuja, “The days of development organizations working parallel to business are well and truly over.”

    So we’ve got a lot of ground to cover in Mexico — on big, cutting-edge development issues that can help build better lives and help strengthen the international development system.

    With the MDG target year rapidly approaching and deliberations on the next global development framework now well underway, we must go about this work with a shared sense of urgency and determination.’

    I’m confident that the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, which is an open, flexible, practical and modern forum, can provide the space where critical development challenges like these can be aired and tackled, both now and in a post-2015 global development framework.

    Follow Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Twitter @NOIweala and the Global Partnership @DevCooperation, or read more expert comment on the Global Partnership’s Effective Development Co-operation blog.

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    About the author

    • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

      Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is currently chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and senior adviser at Lazard. She is also chair of the board of the African Union's African Risk Capacity, an innovative weather-based insurance mechanism for African countries.