On 14-15 April 2019, UNDP Seoul Policy Centre co-hosted an expert meeting on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC), together with the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). The meeting aimed to bring together policy makers, practitioners, and experts from different continents to discuss various aspects of the current GPEDC agenda and its future direction.
The GPEDC is a multi-stakeholder platform to advance the effectiveness of development efforts by all actors for long-lasting results, while contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since GPEDC’s establishment eight years ago in Busan, the development and cooperation landscape has been undergoing significant transformation; there has been increased number of development actors, proliferation of innovative financing mechanisms, and recognition of the importance of the private sector.
The two-day workshop consisted of multiple sessions and discussions to contextualize GPEDC to today’s climate, with particular focus on expanding partnerships per SDG 17, Partnerships for the Goals. “One essential keyword that describes the spirit of the GPEDC is partnership,” said Ms. Hyunjoo Oh, the Director General of MoFA. “Partnership is still valid and becoming more important than ever, even in the changing development landscape. This meeting is a great opportunity to generate momentum, and to affirm effectiveness.”
Two partnerships were emphasized in particular, the first which is one between the private and public sector. As continuously emphasized by United Nations entities, the private sector is a key partner to the achievement of SDGs. It is the engine of economic growth and job creation in developing countries, and a central actor in tackling development challenges with innovative solutions. While UNDP’s collaboration with the private sector has certainly been growing, participants took this expert meeting opportunity to discuss additional, potential channels for enhanced communication between the private and public sector that can help create a paradigm for systematic development cooperation. It was added that underscoring tangible outcomes and benefits of the GPEDC would further reinvigorate participation.
The second highlighted partnership was one between global platforms, like GPEDC, and country-level offices and entities. Country offices play a critical role as the primary vehicle through which programmes are delivered and managed. More often, these local entities have better insight into a country’s challenges and needs, and maintain closer relationships with related institutions and groups than global-level platforms. During the expert meeting participants debated how sustainable development initiatives can be implemented effectively in local levels, and how country offices can play a larger role in organizing and coordinating sustainable development strategies.
It is important that the GPEDC’s role, while linked to SDG 17, should also be inclusive and cut across all SDG targets. In light of the ongoing BAPA+40 conference and other High-Level political forums on development cooperation taking place this coming year, UNDP hopes that continued discussion, like this expert meeting, will enhance global partnerships for sustainable development.