20 December 2019
On 10 December, the OECD published the 57th edition of the Development Co-operation Report. Despite positive trends like a record low number of people living in poverty, the report depicts a grim picture referencing wearying action in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as increased geo-political and trading tensions between the world´s biggest economies. In response, the report presents a call for revived action. For the TUAC, the report is a dire reminder of the need for social dialogue and gives reason to caution the OECD and member countries about the use of private finance.
The report unfortunately shows a drop in overall net Official Development Assistance (ODA) by members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) from USD 147.2 billion in 2017 to USD 143.2 billion in 2018 with only seven countries honouring the 0.7% global commitment for development assistance. The report also finds that the least developed countries are receiving a smaller share of DAC members total ODA from 32.5% in 2010 to only 29% in 2017. At the same time, the report highlights the need to step up funding for gender equality and a scope for further “greening” of ODA. When it comes to finance mobilised from the private sector, the report considers USD 33.9 billion in 2017, or almost a quarter of ODA volume, as modest. Hinting at a need for further involvement of private finance for development.
A fairer, greener, safer tomorrow
Under the heading of the report calling for a fairer, greener and safer tomorrow, the report seeks to align development co-operation with today’s most urgent global priorities, from the rising threat of climate change to the wearing response to the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. Furthermore, the report provides evidence, analysis and examples that is intended to help reinvigorate public and political debates on development. It concludes with a call for action by calling for a change of course in development co-operation. As such, the report suggest that governments;
The TUAC welcomes the focus on how to strengthen development co-operation and the call for action. However, words will not do it alone. There is an urgent need to step up ODA. Whilst we appreciate the idea of modernising the development narrative in order to harness human solidarity and interests, OECD member countries must work towards fulfil the 0.7% global commitment for development assistance. The current reduction in ODA is unacceptable and member countries need to live up to their commitments.
We agree that retooling development in order to ensure that it is still fit for purpose and leaving no-one behind is timely and the TUAC would encourage the OECD and member states to look towards social dialogue as a tool to ensure coherent action for a Just Transition.
We also welcome the call to team up with relevant partners – including civil society actors. We agree also that private finance can play a role in development. However, we must once again caution against the notion that private finance can prove to be a quick fix.
The OECD and member countries should be aware that private finance comes with a price of its own. Development is about public goods and about social purpose. Development projects are therefore too important to be left to private investors alone and private finance should not be considered a substitute for ODA. The public option for involving private sector in development (namely traditional public procurement) should remain the preferred option because it is the one that keeps governments in the “driver’s seat”, not the lawyers, not the financial investors.
Read the OECD report here.