75th UNGA, 50th anniversary of aid pledge: It’s time to fulfil promise to the world’s poorest

By Margaret Yarcia*

“To realise UN’s decade of delivery, wealthy countries need to meet the 50-year-old pledge to provide 0.7% of gross national income as official development assistance (ODA) to the world’s poorest,” states CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), a global civil society platform focused on effective development cooperation.

“As the international community gathers to congratulate itself on 75 years of the UN, we are calling them out on this long-standing, monumental failure. How long must the world’s poorest peoples wait for the promise of 0.7% GNI in development aid to be delivered?” CPDE Co-Chair Justin Kilcullen asks.

Latest ODA figures reveal how donors continue to fall short on the 0.7% commitment. Only five Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) donor countries delivered: Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The numbers are expected to shrink even further in the next two years, with Covid-19 battering economies around the world. In light of the pandemic, CPDE strongly emphasises the urgency of effective development cooperation to aid efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda and eradicate poverty and inequality.

“CPDE believes that achieving the future we want depends on concrete actions now. A key to making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is effective development cooperation. We reiterate the call for development efforts that advance the countries’ interests, focus on results, uphold transparency and accountability, encourage inclusive partnerships, and put primacy on human rights and enabling environment for civil society,” CPDE Co-Chair Beverly Longid added.

CPDE also calls on the UN to strengthen its support for civil society at all levels, from local to global. Despite pronouncements at the highest level of UN leadership on the important role civil society plays in development, its engagement remains marginal at the UN and its political processes, which has a cascading effect at the national and local levels. Situated in the global trends shrinking civic space, criminalisation of dissent, and persecution of human rights defenders, this is not approaching the enabling environment civil society needs to play its role and maximise its contribution to the 2030 Agenda. We must heed the words of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: “A human rights lens puts everyone in the picture and ensures nobody is left behind.”

One way the UN can promote an enabling environment for civil society is by throwing full support behind the Belgrade Call to Action, which articulates measures that can be undertaken by all actors to promote civil society participation in development. The Belgrade Call to Action campaign was led by CPDE, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Balkan Civil Society Development Network, Action for Sustainable Development, and Civic Initiatives (Gradjanske Inicijative) last year.

“Civil society and people’s organisations under our platform are united and resolute in helping build the vision of a peaceful, more equal world. We hope for the same commitment from the UN,” said CPDE Co-Chair Marita Gonzalez.
CPDE is an open platform that unites CSOs from around the world on the issue of effective development cooperation (EDC). It strives to make development more effective by reshaping the global aid architecture and empowering CSOs working on the ground.

*Communications Officer, CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness

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