Helen Clark: Towards a New Consensus on Aid and Development

Dec 1, 2011

On behalf of the agencies and programmes which make up the UN Development Group, I congratulate all those who have worked so hard to bring this major conference together and negotiate the outcome document. Your work has opened up new ground for effective global partnerships for development.

The full spectrum of development actors assembled here, from representatives of governments to grassroots and multilateral organisations, NGOs, and the private sector, is sending a clear message from Busan - that the new partnership for development co-operation must be broader and more inclusive than ever before to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and advance sustainable human development. 

We know that aid is an important part of the development toolbox,  and that the fundamental principles for its effectiveness remain as relevant as ever. Where aid is catalytic, where it invests in the drivers of inclusive and equitable development, where it supports country ownership and leadership, and where it builds capacity, then it will help improve the lives of people and lay the ground for future growth and stability. 

But on its own aid is not a panacea – policy coherence across trade, migration, and the global response to climate change is critical for development effectiveness.

The conference has rightly had a focus on results, and getting the maximum value for the investments made in global development. 
In the Call to Action, issued here by the UN Development Group, our agencies, funds, and programmes called on all to take the steps needed for the results of our development efforts to be sustained, from this generation to the next. 

That means supporting countries to build the institutions and acquire the know-how, and technology to strengthen their resilience to global shocks, fluctuating markets, and natural disasters.

It means support to build the capacity for inclusive and equitable growth, establishing social protection systems, expanding opportunities for marginalized groups, generating jobs, adapting to the impact of climate change, and for building peace and social cohesion. 

Here in Busan diverse actors have agreed to renew their commitment to achieve the MDGs through a more responsive, and coherent development assistance framework. Commitments have been made to:
extend mutual accountability through country-level frameworks, 
expand South-South co-operation;
scale up triangular approaches;
make aid more predictable and transparent;
strengthen national institutions and capacities, including though a ‘New Deal’ for transition and post-crisis countries; 
combat corruption; and
make climate finance more accessible.
These commitments must be more than just words, they must inform both the way we act and the decisions we make in Rio next year and on the post 2015 development agenda. 

The UN’s Development Co-operation Forum can play an important role, helping countries to connect the agendas emerging from the international fora. The spirit of Busan must be taken to Durban and to Rio. The Development Co-operation Forum can support countries to monitor progress on development effectiveness, including through the survey it is undertaking on mutual accountability and partnership frameworks.

Through the convening power of the United Nations, the Development Co-operation Forum provides a platform which can help countries and diverse actors form new partnerships, including increasingly through South-South and triangular co-operation, and make better use of all sources of development finance. Through on-going exchange and learning, the Forum can help development actors deepen their impact. 

The UN will continue to work as a partner with the OECD Development Assistance Committee. On the ground, the UN development system will help countries implement their Busan commitments. UNDP will continue its work to strengthen governments’ capacities to manage aid and lead development processes, and will participate actively in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation agreed here in Busan. 

The UN Development Group endorses the New Deal developed by the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, and our development system will strengthen its support for crisis-affected countries, helping them grow the capacities and institutions they need to move forward. 

Together, all of us working on development in our many modes and capacities can continually improve what we do, learn from our own experiences and those of others, and apply lessons learned to increase our impact. 
By implementing the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, we can advance catalytic and equitable development initiatives, we can support countries to achieve the MDGs, and we can help build more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous futures for all. We at the UN look forward to working with all stakeholders present to achieve that.   

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