Symposium calls for mutual benefits and new voices in global partnerships

Addis Ababa, 6 June 2013 (ECA) - “While Africa has made significant improvements and aims to foster sustainable transformative growth, the mixed results recorded with the MDGs warrant that we think global partnerships anew.”  The call was made by Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) at the 2-day High-level Symposium on A renewed global partnership for development for the post-2015 era.

Mr. Lopes said global partnerships can work for Africa, “if they are aligned with the strategic vision of the continent and buttressed by a unified continental voice.”

The Executive Secretary elaborated on failures in mutual accountability that underline the global partnership for development as reflected in the downward trends in ODA flows, due in part to the Eurozone’s sovereign debt crisis; as well as the disappointing Aid for Trade commitments and disbursements.

“This phenomenon is occurring when resources are needed to ramp up efforts towards achieving the MDGs by 2015 - the timing of the decline in ODA could not have come at a worse moment,” lamented Lopes.

While critiquing the partnerships that have underpinned the MDG framework for not going far enough to address the Continent’s daunting challenges, he noted that the imminent end of the MDG era provides an opportunity to revisit and reframe global partnerships, in a way that is mutually beneficial and sustainable.

“A new global partnership must avoid, the donor-recipient logic underpinning several MDGs, which has reinforced the aid dependency of many developing countries, especially in Africa,” he stated.

“Global partnerships remain fundamental for addressing global concerns such as climate change, conflict and insecurity, financial instability, illicit capital flow, or health threats,” he said; and added that partnerships must focus on addressing the developmental priorities of the continent, in particular, “structural transformation and capacities to leverage and sustain the transformation agenda.”

According to Lopes, “global partnerships and financing should ultimately aim to promote autonomy and self-determination of African states, including through support for skills and technological development, as well as industrialization.”

He also called for a global partnership that includes new actors and diverse voices, including the youth.  

“This new global partnership and financing architecture must be respectful of the development priorities of Africa; and should promote the mutual interests of developed and developing countries; and credibly holds all sides accountable for their actions,” he said and emphasised that “failure to do so would constitute a dereliction of our duty as leaders of our institutions, communities and countries.”


Note to editors:

The meeting is the first of three major consultations in preparation for the 2014 ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum, where stakeholders will advance global dialogue on the future of development cooperation in the post-2015 setting.

With less than three years left to the final target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, the international community is stepping up efforts to accelerate progress towards the MDGs. Discussions on a development agenda beyond 2015 are ramping up. 53 African countries have prepared a common vision for such an agenda.

Organized by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of the Government of Ethiopia and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), with support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the High-level Symposium has brought together more than 160 high-level and senior officials from developed and developing countries, Southern partners, civil society, philanthropic foundations, the private sector, parliamentarians, local governments and international organizations.

The Symposium will launch a dialogue on what a renewed global partnership should look like to encourage action by all stakeholders and to effectively support implementation of goals and targets. Participants will engage in open and frank debates on the potential role, principles and strategic priorities of such a renewed global partnership for development, as well as its key features and working practices, and the role of enhanced monitoring and accountability to underpin such a partnership.

The High-Level Symposium was jointly opened by Mr. Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ethiopia, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs,

With its multi-stakeholder participation, the Development Cooperation Forum, a key function of the Economic and Social Council, fosters global dialogue and policy review on international development cooperation. The Ethiopia High-Level Symposium will be followed by two symposia in Switzerland and Germany and supplemented by a number of thematic policy dialogues and analytical work.

For more information, contact:

Mercy Wambui, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, +251-115-443652, mwambui[at]uneca[dot]org
Paul Simon, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, +1 917 367 5027, simonp[at]un[dot]org