Roma, 10 dic 2011 16:28 - (Agenzia Nova) - Some are already talking about “a new era of development cooperation.” One thing is certain, and that is that over the last few days at Busan, in South Korea, decisions were taken which will outline new ways of fostering development, open the doors of international solidarity to newcomers in this field and increase the commitment of the key actors to achieve the Millennium Goals fixed by the United Nations for 2015. The Fourth World Forum on Aid Effectiveness saw the participation of some 2,500 delegates from over 160 countries who gathered to take stock of progress made to date, to share successful experiences and to draw up a new agenda for development immortalised in the outcome document – “Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation”- adopted by all the participants.
First and foremost, this document is proof of the obsolescence of two indirectly linked models of development cooperation. Firstly, the international community has shelved the traditional North-South dichotomy to welcome new emerging powers that until now have been reluctant to assume rigorous responsibilities. In fact, at the end of long negotiations both China and Brazil agreed to adopt the outcome document pledging a new commitment to solidarity thus paving the way to becoming leading actors of a renewed South-South cooperation. It is no coincidence that a few days after the summit came to a close the FAO inaugurated its first Global South-South Development Expo, dedicated to food insecurity.
Belloni: “Interesting results but Europe could have done more”
Roma, 10 dic 2011 16:28 - (Agenzia Nova) - Elisabetta Belloni, Director General of the Italian Foreign Ministry’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation, headed the Italian delegation at Busan. “China and Brazil have accepted the document, albeit with a diluted formula, and this is an important result,” commented Ms. Belloni when speaking to “Nova”. She went on to say that “The involvement of emerging countries is linked to another important factor; the attention of donor countries was drawn to all those countries which although suitable for carrying out South-South cooperation activities are still to be considered developing countries themselves because of the pockets of poverty on their territory.”
The other traditional model shelved with the Busan Forum is that related to aid effectiveness; this has now been replaced by the concept of development effectiveness thus extending decision-making processes to the new cooperation actors. “At Busan,” as Elisabetta Belloni pointed out, “for the first time recognition was given to the plurality of the actors in the field of cooperation with the NGOs, the private sector and international agencies; naturally this has positive implications in terms of cross-checks, effectiveness and, consequently, results.” Thanks also to this inclusive approach, Italy is satisfied with the outcome of the summit the results of which, “although not visible as yet are nevertheless very interesting,” as the head of Italian Cooperation commented.
There are however both negative aspects (“Personally, I’m disappointed about the absence of the EU at Busan,” Ms. Belloni underlined, “and it’s a shame as we are talking about the world’s largest donor; a more substantial and active participation would have been useful”) and purely practical ones. One of these is the setting up of a more flexible monitoring and governance structure called “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation” that by June 2012 will replace the current “Working Party on Aid Effectiveness.” And it is not just simply a question of form; the OECD-DAC forum (formed of the most advanced nations)will no longer be responsible for assessing progress made by the international community and providing guidance on policy in the field of cooperation. In the future these tasks will be carried out by an independent consensus backed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the OECD itself.
As the head of Italian Cooperation pointed out, “The OECD promoted the Busan summit because it was aware that time for change had come. In fact, it emerged from the Forum how the OECD feels the need for new instruments and new procedures focused on major questions, in particular those regarding effectiveness and the involvement of all partners in decision-making processes. We will have to wait and see how this new system develops.” We are also waiting to discover who will lead the Global Partnership. The idea aired in South Korea was for a group of nations to represent the global needs of cooperation actors although DGDC sources have disclosed that Italy was hoping for a more inclusive solution.
Roma, 10 dic 2011 16:28 - (Agenzia Nova) - Two members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, Mario Barbi (Democratic Party) and Enrico Pianetta (People of Freedom) were part of the Italian delegation at Busan. In a communiqué released on the fringe of the summit, the two MPs described the Forum as “an important event” and “the opening of a new cooperation phase,” adding, however, that “this makes the absence of the active participation of a member of the Italian government in the Forum even more regrettable. Italy not only missed the chance to show the greater attention it now gives to cooperation, clearly evident thanks to the creation of an ad hoc ministerial responsibility, but also the opportunity to make a contribution and to discuss at high level the global dynamics bound to impact on our country and particularly on our development cooperation system.”
Also the two MPs criticized “the insufficient capacity on the part of the EU, despite its contribution in the conclusive phase of the Forum with the Commissioner for Development, Andris Piegalgs, to exercise the political leadership appropriate to its role as primary donor.” For example, the reluctance of China to agree to new commitments was overcome thanks to the pressure exerted by the United States (represented at Busan by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton) and by South Korea (represented by the President of the Republic, Lee Myung-bak), and with the addition of a clause relative to the voluntary basis of the commitments of the so-called “partner countries” and of a formula of compromise establishing that the pledge to cooperate on the part of the new actors shall be “based on common objectives, shared principles and differentiated commitments.” Barbi and Pianetta recalled, however, that the document approved at Busan, even in its new formulation, reaffirms “universal points of reference for the fight against poverty and inequality and the commitment to sustainable and inclusive growth based on respect for human rights, democratic values and principles of good practices.”
Italian NGOs: “Satisfied but with reservations”
Roma, 10 dic 2011 16:28 - (Agenzia Nova) - Italy’s civil society also reacted positively towards the Forum’s outcome document, “albeit with certain reservations.” As Maria Egizia Petroccione, spokesperson of the CINI (Italian Coordination of International Networks) commented, “The good news is that the emerging countries and new donors, including China, India and Brazil, have adopted the outcome document of the Forum; the less positive news is that to enable this to happen, concessions were made regarding the voluntary nature of the application of the principles and the commitments specified in the document.”
Ms. Petroccione underlined that “Civil society applauds the recognition of the role of NGOs contribution to development, the emphasis on democratic ownership and transparency, the reference to the Istanbul Principles and the Siem Reap Consensus and the pledge to create an enabling environment to maximise the work carried out by civil society organisations. The downside is,” she continued, “the lack of an evident commitment regarding a rights-based approach to development, the absence of a deadline for the application of commitments agreed on in Paris and Ankara, the voluntary and non-binding nature of the principles and commitments subscribed to and the fact that too much importance is given to the role played by economic growth, and therefore the private sector, in the development process.”
The lead up to Busan
Roma, 10 dic 2011 16:28 - (Agenzia Nova) - The Busan Forum, the fourth high level summit on aid effectiveness, was only one leg of a long journey that started in Rome back in 2003 and continued with the Paris and Accra summits respectively in 2005 and 2008. In Paris the 13 aid effectiveness principles were outlined, while Accra saw the direct and concrete involvement of civil society organizations in the process for the first time. Over time this process has assumed an increasingly pressing importance; with the onset of the international economic crisis, coordinating aid for developing countries and improving aid effectiveness is the only possible strategy not only to achieve the goals set by the international community for 2015 but also to respond to the many ongoing human emergencies, at times but not always foreseeable.
This process is still in its early stages. At global level, only one of the objectives established in Paris has been achieved. A study conducted in 2009 by an independent organization for the European Commission estimated that if the cooperation activities carried out by European countries were to comply with the aid effectiveness agenda, the EU would save from 3 to 6 million euros a year. Convinced that interventions in developing countries need to be conducted in a more organic and coordinated manner, to this end the Italian Foreign Ministry set up an institutional round table to extend the dialogue on cooperation to the greatest possible number of both public and private development actors.
Kosovo and Ethiopia: two successful Italian projects
Roma, 10 dic 2011 16:28 - (Agenzia Nova) - At Busan, Italy presented two successful initiatives. The first is the National Action Plan for disabled persons outlined by the Kosovo government with the support of Italian Development Cooperation. The document, drawn up between 2009 and 2011, is the result of a long negotiation that saw the participation of local and national institutions, NGOs, associations of persons with disabilities and international agencies. The plan will be used for the development and implementation of strategies addressed to the full social inclusion of the disabled in all sectors. In accordance with aid effective principles, the document was also the result of a “participative approach” that involved all the actors concerned and gave voice to everyone on the matter.
The second initiative was implemented in the southern region of Ethiopia where Italy organized and supervised an emergency programme to supply and distribute clean water to the local population in an area particularly hit by adverse environmental and climatic conditions as well as by the flow of refugees from neighbouring countries and internally displaced persons. The intervention, backed with a million euros of Development Cooperation funds, involved all the major Italian NGOs operating in the area: the COOPI (International Cooperation), the CCM (Medical Collaboration Committee), the CVM (Worldwide Volunteer Community), the CUAMM (Doctors with Africa) and the LVIA (Lay Volunteers International Association).
Agenzia di stampa quotidiana. Registrazione presso il Tribunale di Roma n. 17/2010 del 19.1.2010
Direttore responsabile Sebastiano Fusco. Redazione salita di San Nicola da Tolentino 1B, 00187 Roma.