Financing global development: What role for official development assistance?
Briefing Paper 7/2015
Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Dt. Ausg. u.d.T.:
Finanzierung globaler Entwicklung: welche Rolle kann öffentliche Entwicklungszusammenarbeit spielen?
(Analysen und Stellungnahmen 4/2015)
The UN Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July 2015 will pave the way for the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. The Briefing Paper series “Financing Global Development“ analyses key financial and non-financial means of implementation for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discusses building blocks of a new framework for development finance.
Preparations for the upcoming conference show that the concept, provision and monitoring of official development assistance (ODA) remain contentious issues.
Divergent positions are being offered regarding the future role of ODA.
There are groups proposing that ODA refocus on poverty reduction, mainly in poor and fragile states.
- Others advocate that ODA play a more catalysing role in terms of mobilising other forms of (particularly private) finance.
- There are calls for repositioning ODA as an instrument to deal with the provision of global public goods.
Although it is clear that not all expenditures on global public goods (e.g. clean air) should be reported as ODA, it will not be easy to separate what is relevant to development from what is not. A key tension remains: as the SDG agenda moves away from an agenda directly concerned with progress in individual developing countries, the ODA reporting system still focusses on resource transfers from developed to developing countries. The SDG agenda will likely not reflect a consistent vision on global development finance but instead innovate where possible and conserve where necessary. The resulting hybrid vision will likely promote universality and North-South transfer simultaneously, representing one gradual step in converging towards a global sustainable development agenda with universal reach. As a main proponent of this agenda, the OECD has expended substantial political and technical resources on the ODA concept and its statistical system, to the relative neglect of designing a broader Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD) measure and furthering discussions on the financing of global public goods beyond ODA. It needs to redirect this focus now that discussions on TOSSD have intensified.
In principle, all Addis Ababa stakeholders recognise a broader understanding of “development finance”, which includes all relevant financial contributions from all stake-holders. Nevertheless, ODA will likely remain a hot item on the conference agenda. Although it remains important to closely monitor ODA inputs, what the new global development agenda really needs is for the current system to evolve into one that places reporting on financial inputs at the service of multi-stakeholder efforts to share joint accountability for ensuring results. An important step forward would be to complement the existing provider-centric ODA reporting system by developing countries’ own reporting of development-relevant external finance through the UN High-Level Political Forum.
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