May 16, 2014
The venue where the many stakeholders gathered for the formal meeting
The First High-Level Meeting of the "Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-Operation" was held in Mexico City April 15-16.
Approximately 1,500 people from some 130 countries and organizations including governments, private companies and civil society organizations participated in the meeting. The participants included President Enrique Peña Nieto of host-country Mexico, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Helen Clark, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretary-General José Ángel Gurría, British Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah, and from Japan, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Kihara. From JICA, Vice President Hiroshi Kato attended, and he spoke at side events related to triangular cooperation as well as middle income countries.
The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-Operation is based on an agreement reached at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (the Busan High Level Forum) held in November 2011 in Korea. It is a platform formed with various constituents including emerging nations, civic societies and private companies, to be able to deal with international cooperation that goes beyond the conventional framework for assistance between developed countries and developing countries. At the meeting, the participants checked on progress toward the goals (1) agreed on in 2011 and discussed issues relating to the period after the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
At the opening ceremony Ban said, "The deadline for achieving the MDGs is approaching and a greater effort is needed to achieve those goals. In thinking about development issues after 2015, the international community must promise to promote future development goals through a 'new global partnership' (2)."
After the opening ceremony, at the main assembly, five sessions were held: 1. Progress Since the Busan High-Level Forum, 2. Partenering for Effective Taxation and Domestic Resource Mobilization, 3. South-South Cooperation, Triangular Cooperation and Knowledge Sharing, 4. Development Cooperation with Middle Income Countries and 5. The Private Sector – Business as a Partner in Development. At the sessions, representatives of the various governments and other organizations exchanged ideas.
In the intervals between the main sessions, various side events were held related to the five themes.
JICA Vice President Hiroshi Kato was a panelist at the side event Effective Development Cooperation in Middle-Income Countries," jointly organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other organizations. He told the panel and audience that four elements are important for avoiding the middle income trap and achieving continuous development: improving socioeconomic infrastructure, human resources, systems and organization and a clear vision and leadership on the part of government. Middle-income countries are important providers of South-South cooperation, in which they can offer capital and technology to developing countries. Triangular cooperation, in which developed countries provide indirect assistance to middle-income countries on the funding and technical fronts, plays an important role in promoting South-South cooperation, he said.
JICA Vice President Hiroshi Kato (second-from right) speaks at a JICA co-organized event.
JICA, on the other hand, co-organized a side event on triangular cooperation with OECD and the Colombian Presidential Agency of International Cooperation (APC-Colombia), and it shared its ideas based on its experiences so far. Vice President Kato spoke at this side event about the researches JICA has carried out to promote better triangular cooperation and the lessons learned through them. Fundamentally triangular cooperation is useful for creating new knowledge and offering innovative solutions, as well as for strengthening relationships between the countries involved, he said. He also said that with triangular cooperation, not only middle income countries, but also low-income countries, can become providers of knowledge.
In addition, Vice President Kato also touched on JICA Research Institute's research report analyzing the mechanisms of Japan, Germany and England's triangular cooperation. Introducing the points of difference among the three countries, he said, "In addition to success stories, research into examples of difficulties faced and additional analysis of the mechanisms of triangular cooperation are necessary."
As the United Nations General Assembly in September approaches, the international community's debate surrounding development issues after 2015 is expected to become more active. Accordingly, in addition to the standpoint of what to do, the standpoint of how to do it, which was discussed at this meeting, is expected to be important in that debate. Based on its accumulated experience, JICA will contribute to the international debate.
1: Ownership, a focus on results, partnerships, and transparency and shared responsibility were affirmed as principles of development cooperation, and 10 concrete indicators related to these principles were established, as well as objectives to be achieved by 2015.
2: The current MDGs propound eight objectives and "the promotion of a global partnership for development." The new global partnership will aim to maintain those fundamental ideas with regard to development issues after 2015, while involving more diverse actors, including middle income countries and civil society, in development, and mobilizing not just ODA for development funding, but also domestic resources and public funding of the developing countries themselves.