Amidst the C19 crisis, DAC members turn to effectiveness and the private sector as ODA stays scarce
NGOs are calling for more aid and safeguards in private sector involvement
The High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) ended with a renewed commitment to implementing development effectiveness principles and to developing a policy instrument on enabling civil society. Some members spoke against financing activities harmful to the environment, and the HLM Communiqué calls for work to ensure that post- COVID-19 development policies and programs are consistent with international climate and environmental objectives.
However, the official conclusions only affirm the important contribution to Official
Development Assistance (ODA) in light of the current pandemic. More substantial
commitments to increasing ODA as an essential public resource to support the poor and
vulnerable populations across developing countries remain lackluster.
“The overarching narrative of this HLM was a reliance on partnering with private finance, with
an unproven track record, in responding to the compounding conditions of poverty and
inequalities, accentuated by both COVID-19 and the climate emergency,” said Julia Sanchez, one of the two representatives of the DAC-CSO Reference Group who were observers at the meeting.
“DAC needs to ensure the accountability of the private sector through safeguards and
accountability mechanisms,” said Sanchez, who is also the Secretary-General of ActionAid
international. She added that “what the governments can do is to mobilize public finance and massively increase ODA as a resource for crisis response and recovery. In doing so, they
must ensure that the integrity of the ODA is protected, and ODA is focused on the health,
social protection, and livelihoods of the most affected and vulnerable people.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the climate crisis, cannot be reduced to private sector
partnerships. Rather, these should be occasions to recommit to the development
effectiveness agenda, and meet long-standing ODA commitments, with greater inclusivity,
transparency, and accountability for all development stakeholders,” said Leo Atakpu, also a
representative of the DAC-CSO Reference Group at the meeting. Atakpu is the executive
deputy director of Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice.
“On climate finance, CSOs were encouraged by the statements of some DAC members who
spoke against ODA energy financing that leads to emissions, the urgent need to phase out
fossil fuel. There is also a need to rethink the implications of using ODA to leverage the private sector in large-scale energy projects such as large dams as solutions to the climate crisis. What are the social and environmental implications of this kind of financing, especially to vulnerable communities?” said Sanchez.
CSOs welcome references to the indispensable role of CSOs in responding to the pandemic
and in achieving the global development goals, particularly in building political support for
development initiatives. “We were encouraged to hear support for a DAC recommendation
on how DAC members need to work with CSOs and look forward to working with the DAC on how we can achieve a DAC recommendation in this area,” commented Atakpu.
The OECD DAC HLM was attended by development ministers and senior officials from over
30 donor countries and representatives from CSOs, academia, trade unions, and
international institutions such as the World Bank and United Nations Development
Programme. CSOs were represented through the DAC-CSO Reference Group, a coalition
of over 100 CSOs worldwide, which has the mandate to facilitate civil society engagement
with OECD DAC.
PRESS RELEASE , 11 November 2020
Reileen Dulay, Coordinator