Not surprisingly, discussion of a CSO Co-Chair, of a second CSO seat, and of a seat for the trade unions (outside of the CSO seat) and local government was completely shot down. This issue, among others, was a sore point for civil society in June, and caused us to take a step back from the process. Instead the decision to expand has now been left to the Ministers at the first Ministerial – like that is ever going to happen! But despite this major setback, there does seem to be greater efforts to accommodate all the members of the Steering Committee, and so for now, civil society has decided to remain engaged.
But back to the meeting.
In terms of synergies with the Post-2015 agenda, the joint OECD-UNDP secretariat and some members of the Steering Committee are trying to situate the GPEDC within the work of the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Agenda (HLP) and to carve out a niche for themselves as a successor to MDG 8 and the global partnership for development. The connection makes some sense and the links won’t be hard to make. British Prime Minister David Cameron is an HLP Co-Chair and British Development Minister Justine Greening is one of the Steering Committee Co-Chairs; the other two GPEDC Co-Chairs, Indonesian National Development Armida Alisjahbana and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are also either represented on the Panel (Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is also an HLP Co-Chair) or are HLP members.
In terms of merging the post-2015 process with the agenda of the Busan Partnership for Development Effectiveness (BPd), the secretariat has also made some clear linkages. It draws on a number of elements: the role of the private sector and private flows; the opportunities for knowledge sharing and peer learning in South-South Cooperation; the multi-stakeholder nature of the Partnership in terms of engaging civil society, local, municipal and regional governments, as well as parliamentarians; the “Beyond Aid” focus of the BPd.
In practice, going forward the Steering Committee envisages four work streams leading up to the first GPEDC Ministerial meeting (provisionally set for October). Under the broad umbrella of “What’s changed since Busan,” these include the following: the post-2015 linkages; domestic resource mobilization, including tax evasion, linked to country financing and discussions around global financing for development; the role of the private sector and its ability to leverage aid resources; inclusive development, including a focus on democratic ownership, rights based approaches, gender equality and decent work; and, knowledge sharing and peer learning, as an effort to more readily engage emerging economies.
What remains unclear as the Steering Committee looks to identify synergies between its role and this work, is how this complements – and doesn’t undermine or displace – existing fora, including the HLP, the UN Development Cooperation Forum, the UN Financing for Development process, regional initiatives and the work of the G-20. For some governments, the GPEDC has yet to establish its legitimacy and credibility (since Busan, India, China and Brazil have remained on the periphery), in particular as it relates to more inclusive and universal fora like the UN. But given the concrete space and voice that civil society has defined for itself within the Steering Committee of the GPEDC, the GPEDC may have some added-value in terms of influencing potential.
Regardless of where you sit, the GPEDC clearly envisages itself as a key player and fora for these discussions and any post-2015 framework, and the intent is to showcase this at the First Ministerial. These Ministerials need to maintain political momentum in the process. Beyond profiling the outcomes of these workstreams, and highlighting synergies with other existing for a, the Ministerials will also need to profile data and evidence gathered that demonstrates progress on the global indicators and Busan commitments. Again how the secretariat and Steering Committee plan to do this is also unclear. In the paper on the monitoring framework that was prepared for the meeting, only five of the ten global indicators have been finalized, with varying degrees of progress on the other five. Most are not expected to be concluded until March. This leaves barely six months to generate the data and evidence required to feed into the Ministerials.
This will be challenging since the secretariat is still developing operational guidance to enable countries to implement the various methodologies, many of the indicators will still need to be test-piloted, and data gathering at the country level in many cases still requires substantial support. Although some of the indicators may have developed some evidence by then, what may be more feasible – although not necessarily desirable, given the criticism CSOs have placed on the indicators – is establishing how these indicators could complement or inform the future accountability framework that is expected to accompany the post-2015 framework.
Finally, the GPEDC secretariat is also developing a communications and engagement strategy for the Partnership. This includes creating a visible brand around the GPEDC; a multi-lingual web site of key information, publications newsletters and opinion pieces; a web-based knowledge platform; and live web streaming and an archive of past meetings – key to promoting the transparency and accountability of the Partnership to its various constituencies.
2013 will be an important year for the Global Partnership. Will it come together?