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Busan Global Partnership and development cooperation’s future

On Nov. 29, 2011, more than 3,000 participants gathered in the bustling city of Busan to attend the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Its outcome, the “Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation,” is the most inclusive agreement on the effectiveness of development cooperation to date.

In addition to setting out shared principles, common goals and differentiated commitments to effective cooperation, participants agreed to forge a global partnership to support these efforts and decided to finalize the working arrangements of the partnership by the end of June this year.

After the forum, an interim group was formed to prepare detailed transition plans and lead the consultative process with diverse actors. After broad consultations, it has laid out the final proposals on the working arrangements of the partnership with a selective and relevant set of global indicators and targets to support broader monitoring and accountability efforts. On June 28-29, the global partnership will be officially launched at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations headquarters in Paris.

The partnership represents a new milestone in development cooperation and has distinct features compared with other global initiatives.

First, it offers a new, independent and open platform for policy dialogue that embraces diverse modalities and approaches to development, establishing a new governance structure for coordinating all stakeholders including governments and non-government actors. It also highlights the role of the private sector as an engine of economic development. The partnership will be jointly steered by governments, international organizations, civic groups, parliaments and the private sector.

Second, the partnership creates a differentiated policy space for emerging economies. Partners in South-South cooperation are invited to join on a voluntary basis. Given the Partners’ unique status as both recipient and provider of develop cooperation, they will not be treated in the same way as the traditional donors in implementing the Busan commitments and actions, creating a more comfortable policy setting for them to participate in the new partnership in an evolving and gradual process. They can contribute to the partnership by sharing their own development experience and knowledge on how to make development happen and by engaging in policy dialogue in shaping a new, multi-actor, multi-perspective paradigm for development cooperation at its initial stage.

Third, the partnership has ushered in a new era of systematic cooperation among global development fora. Recognizing the role of the United Nations in enhancing effective development cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme along with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has been invited to work together in supporting the effective functioning of the partnership. Empowered by the U.N.’s universal convening power and its field presence, as well as the OECD’s policy expertise, the partnership will increase its legitimacy and effectiveness in its operation.

To provide strategic leadership for the partnership, regular ministerial-level meetings will be held to maintain the political momentum. Also, a steering committee with the 18 multi-stakeholder members will be established to prepare the ministerial meeting with the joint support from the OECD and the UNDP. Korea has been elected as one of the three members of the committee, representing donors along with the United States and the European Union.

The partnership represents the high aspirations of the global development community for effective development cooperation. The impact of the new process largely depends on support by all development stakeholders. In particular, the voluntary and proactive participation of emerging economies is essential to driving the new global partnership forward. However daunting a task this may be, the Busan forum demonstrated that with the right spirit and strong political will, progress can be made.

Korea will remain fully committed to working closely with the global community to make the Busan spirit alive throughout the progressive transformation of the new global partnership. 
Enna Park
Enna Park

By Enna Park

The writer is director-general for development cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. ― Ed.
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