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What works in development finance: a new blog series invites cutting edge commentary
The debate is hotting up on what, exactly, will follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But one thing is certain about the future post-2015 goals – without money they will remain just words on paper.
After the declaration of the MDGs in the historic Millennium Summit, countries gathered in Monterrey in 2002 to agree a financing consensus that was impressive in the range of issues it tried to tackle, emphasising the need to move well ‘beyond aid’. It covered areas as diverse as domestic financial resources, foreign direct investment, international trade, external debt and systemic issues in the international monetary, financial and trading systems and touched on the now commonly recognised problems of tax evasion and illicit capital flight.
Today, even more issues would be added to this list, prompting calls for a ‘Monterrey Plus’ conference in 2015. For such a conference to be successful, two things are needed: the right ideas, and a political coalition committed enough to turn them into reality.
Such a coalition would look very different to the one that brought delegates to Monterrey over a decade ago. Today, far more power lies in the global east and south, and there is less reliance on aid in all but the very poorest countries. The aims of development finance, meanwhile, are likely to expand significantly, to respond to the ever growing sustainability crisis that faces our planet.
Development Progress is a four-year project which aims to provide evidence for what’s worked and why in international development over the past two decades. Using evidence gathered from over 25 country case studies, we are analysing how progress in a range of dimensions – from health and education to political voice and sustainable agriculture – was financed. We hope that our analysis will provide evidence to support policy makers, budget holders and researchers as they try to navigate today’s much busier development finance landscape and apply successful ideas to their own unique contexts.
With that in mind, we have invited leading thinkers and practitioners to contribute to what is set to be an important series of blogs that will shed light on the most important aspects of development finance today. Over the coming months, these blogs will challenge and cajole, they will supply ideas, and they will add to the growing momentum for improved development cooperation.
We will start with a set of blogs that analyse the changing context within which this debate takes place. Helping us to set the scene will be (among others):
• Inge Kaul, the first director of the UNDP's Human Development Report
• Jose Antonio Alonso, Professor of Applied Economics at Universidad Complutense of Madrid
• Francisco Sagasti, now a Senior Associate at FORO Nacional Internacional
• Stephan Klingebiel, Head of Bi- and Multilateral Development Cooperation at DIE, the German think-tank.
• Alex Cobham, Research Fellow at the Center for Global Development
A second set of blogs will look at some of the main themes to be addressed by a new financing consensus, including the roles of the private sector and international civil society, the importance of taxation, the problems with microcredit and wranglings in the world of climate finance. Contributors will include (among others):
• Jon Lomøy, Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate
• Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development
• Andrew Wales, Director of Sustainability at SAB Miller.
In a third set of blogs we will zoom in on particular regions and their financing needs and possibilities, including contributions from:
Finally, we have invited leading contributors of development finance to write about how their role is changing, and how it will change in the future, including:
• Alex Thier, Head of Policy, USAID
• Mahmoud Mohieldin, Corporate Secretary and President's Special Envoy, World Bank Group
• Martin Rivero, Director of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation (AUCI)
• Kishan Khoday, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP, UNDP
• Hannah Ryder, DFID’s Team Leader for the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.
And, as you would expect, we will have ODI researchers joining the debate as well.
So we will certainly have a lot of ideas to chew over! But equally, and inevitably for such a broad topic, there will be many themes and areas of debate left that we just can’t cover. That’s why we want to encourage you, the reader, to join the debate, give us your vigorous comments on the proposals laid out and suggest topics for further blogs.
The history of development finance shows how ideas once thought of as pipedreams (such as debt cancellation and international taxation) can become reality. In a world in flux, this is ever more true today. In this blog series we welcome big ideas and new possibilities, but always with our feet firmly placed on the solid ground of practical action.