From a development perspective, accountability and transparency have been steadily growing in political importance. Development stakeholders, both providers and recipients, want improved transparency to ensure better trust, planning, predictability and evidence to assess progress towards targets. A number of initiatives have emerged in recent years to promote and support transparency, ranging from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), the Open Government Partnership to the G7 group of countries’ Open Data Charter. Target 17.16 builds on these developments and promotes both mutual partnerships and transparency between partner countries.
The Inter-agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators selected the Number of countries reporting progress in multi-stakeholder development effectiveness monitoring frameworks that support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals as the indicator for this target. Two global monitoring frameworks have emerged over the past 10 or 15 years to try and measure, both from a quantitative and qualitative perspective, the extent to which developing countries are utilizing monitoring frameworks to support and improve development outcomes.
As part of the OECD/UNDP Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) monitoring framework, indicator 7 - Mutual accountability among cooperation actors is strengthened through inclusive reviews is measured using the indicator Proportion of countries that undertake inclusive mutual assessments of progress in implementing agreed commitments and meet at least four of the five proposed criteria. A country is considered to have a mutual assessment of progress in place when at least four out of the five criteria are met.
GPEDC (2015) report that of the 46 countries reporting in 2013, only 27 (or 59 per cent) reported having a mutual assessment review in place. The proportion of countries reporting having aid/partnership policies and country level targets was higher at 70 per cent and 72 per cent, respectively. A joint assessment of these targets was undertaken in 30 countries (or 65 per cent). Involving non-executive stakeholders and publishing results in a timely manner proved more challenging, with only around half of the countries delivering (figure 17.26). Regarding transparency, the report notes that while transparency is improving, high-level political commitment needs to trickle down through cooperation providers’ systems and procedures to allow truly transparent and predictable cooperation, where information is geared towards supporting developing countries’ own planning needs and activities.
In addition to the GPEDC monitoring framework, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) jointly conducts a complementary biennial global survey on national mutual accountability (MA) on behalf of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) - mutual accountability survey.
The third Global Accountability Survey was conducted during 2013-2014 and exploits a number of synergies with the measurement of indicator 7 of the GPEDC monitoring framework. The survey covers six broad areas of accountability. A total of 43 countries responded to the survey at the time of preparing the report.
ECOSOC’s overall assessment is that mutual accountability is still a work in progress but is evolving in a positive direction (ECOSOC, 2012). More than half of the recipient countries (53 per cent) assessed their strength of MA at national level to be moderate, with a further 31 per cent assessing MA as high or completely achieved (figure 17.27). The majority of recipient countries believed that they have seen progress in mutual accountability since 2005. Thirty-eight per cent rated the progress as good or very good, while 43 per cent rated progress as moderate. Around a fifth of countries (19 per cent) believed that there was little or no progress in mutual accountability in their countries.
While these monitoring frameworks are useful in showing how the indicator may be measured, for the moment they focus on a too narrow range of development partners and stakeholders. To address the universal scope of the Sustainable Development Goals, the increasing role and contribution of South-South cooperation must be incorporated into these measures. Southern partners potentially have a significant impact on development cooperation at national level, yet in many instances they do not participate in formal mutual accountability structures at national level. While it is understood that the nature of South-South cooperation is different to traditional donor aid, it is nevertheless important that southern partners cooperate with national coordination and measurement mechanisms. Private philanthropic and private sector forms of development cooperation must also be integrated. The OECD/UNDP report also highlights the need for more investment in strengthening national monitoring, reporting and evaluation capacity.
ENHANCE THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Achieving the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda requires a revitalized and enhanced global partnership that brings together Governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors, mobilizing all available resources.
Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.
To address the universal scope of the Sustainable Development Goals, the increasing role and contribution of South-South cooperation must be incorporated into these measures.
Achieving the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda requires a revitalized and enhanced global partnership that brings together Governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other actors, mobilizing all available resources. Meeting implementation targets, including the raising of necessary funds, is key to realizing the Agenda, as is the full implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Increasing support to developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, is fundamental to equitable progress for all.
Stronger partnerships will contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development by mobilizing resources, sharing knowledge, promoting the creation and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, and building capacity. There is tremendous scope for making the existing financial system more sustainable by integrating the environment dimension.
Growing cooperation among multilateral organizations, donors and private sector is needed to provide developing countries and beneficiaries with technologies that increase efficiency the use of natural resources, generate low waste, treat the generated pollution and mitigate climate change.
Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires the mobilization and effective use of all types of development resources. As such the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (the Global Partnership) provides a multi-stakeholder platform to advance the effectiveness of development efforts by all actors, to deliver results that are long-lasting and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Global Partnership promotes open dialogue among different stakeholders on an equal footing thereby promoting the paradigm shift from aid to development effectiveness, in line with the 2030 Agenda and Financing for Development processes. It aims to foster peer learning to enable behavioral change and further strengthen trust, accountability and participation of all actors in development co-operation, for sustainable results on the ground. Based on the prevailing global context and learning from the findings of the 2016 monitoring round, the Global Partnership re-commits itself to the four principles of the Global Partnership –ensuring that no one is left behind by the development process:
National ownership over the development process
Inclusive partnerships, recognizing strength in diversity
Partnerships aligned to priority results set by national governments
Transparency and mutual accountability
Strengthening partnerships to achieve the SDGs and Leave No One Behind
The 2030 Agenda requires an improvement in the quality, quantity and diversity of resources. Central to this universal agenda is a change in outlook and behavior, where interdependence drives collaboration. Development finance, including ODA, must be deployed and utilized more effectively if it is to achieve its potential in realizing the 2030 agenda. Partnerships to realize the SDGs, with the overarching commitment to leave no one behind, must recognize the specific challenges in Middle Income Countries and fragile and conflict-affected states, as well as the importance of gender equality and youth inclusion. Increased private sector engagement is critical for effective development co-operation, as well as strengthening the enabling environment for civil society’s role in sustainable development. There is need to ensure all development interventions are country led and are responding to specific country needs and context. It is also essential that renewed focus is put on strengthening and using county systems, including country results frameworks and public financial management and procurement systems, and that this not be only a political choice, but rather a commitment to country ownership.
In line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, establishing and strengthening comprehensive and holistic frameworks to manage the totality of diverse development finance flows is a key to ensure all resources are used to address the challenge of leaving no-one behind. Such a framework can also foster multi-stakeholder partnerships and mutual accountability at country level.
Transparency in development activities is essential for fostering strong multi-stakeholder partnerships and accountability to ensure no-one left behind in achieving SDGs. Transparency in gender tracking systems, development planning, mutual assessment reviews, as well as on development co-operation is critical for effective policy formulation and for accountability.
Removing barriers to effective development will depend on honest dialogue between countries and development partners to address persistent constraints, including devising new, innovative ways of jointly managing risks. Strong institutionalized partnerships at the country level supported by the quality of dialogue can build mutual trust and underpin transparency and accountability.
It is important to promote concerted effort by all partners to capture lessons learned in implementation of effective development co-operation and to actively engage in available knowledge-sharing platforms to exchange lessons and innovative solutions to development challenges.
Equally important, drawing on the potential of multi-stakeholder partnership mechanisms that strengthen complementarities among governments, development partners, business sector and civil society, removing traditional barriers between state and not-state actors, may multiply our joint results and progress towards more inclusive development progress.
How the Global Partnership will strengthen partnerships for the 2030 Agenda
The work program of the Global Partnership will translate these policy recommendations into action over the upcoming years by providing:
A global multi-stakeholder platform for promoting effective development co-operation and multi-stakeholder actions for SDG attainment;
Data and evidence generated and shared from country implementation efforts and monitoring;
A global, practical “go-to” platform with strong mechanisms for sharing knowledge and collaboration;
Support to the observance of effectiveness principles at the country level;
Increased engagement with the private sector and learning from diverse modalities of development co-operation, including South-South and Triangular Co-operation;
Political momentum around development effectiveness principles.