The North-South Institute


NSI organizes two-day Ottawa conference on development cooperation

The Future of Multilateral Development Cooperation in a changing Global Order

October 29, 2012

Multilateral development cooperation could usher in a new era of diplomacy

The North-South Institute’s Ottawa conference on Multilateral Development Cooperation brought together more than 220 participants June 20-21, including 40 experts from Canada and around the world.

The North-South Institute’s Ottawa conference on Multilateral Development Cooperation brought together more than 220 participants June 20-21, including 40 experts from Canada and around the world.

The conference sought to determine how key multilateral development actors – such as the United Nations and the World Bank – could better serve the poor in the context of an evolving global order.

“There are new players on the scene who aren’t necessarily operating within the existing principles of the multilateral system,” explained NSI President, Joseph Ingram, who pointed to increasing levels of aid from such emerging economies as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) as well as from private sector foundations and large non-governmental organizations.

“This poses a challenge for development cooperation, but it also presents an opportunity for donors both new and old to learn from each other and to find better ways to work together to respond to the needs of those living in the developing world” said Mr. Ingram.

The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, opened the conference by emphasizing the importance of international development cooperation. “[Multilateral institutions] extend our reach, allowing us to accomplish more in the developing world than we otherwise could achieve alone.”

She cautioned however that while multilateral organizations must be ready for change: “Some are taking important steps, but clearly not all are ready for these challenges.”

Insights gained from the conference will be captured in the 2011 edition of the Canadian Development Report (CDR), NSI’s flagship publication. The CDR will contain five chapters stemming from key papers presented at the conference. It will also include a statistical analysis of Canadian contributions to multilateral institutions. Canada distributed about $5.1 billion in foreign aid in 2009-10, of which about $1.2 billion went to multilateral organizations. The report will be available in November 2011.An edited volume will also be published by Palgrave McMillan next year which will include a number of papers prepared for the conference.

Discussions at a glance

The following are insights from some of the conference panelists.

His Excellency, Joaquim Alberto Chissano, former President of Mozambique, gave the keynote address at the Gala dinner.On the subject of IMPROVING MULTILATERAL COOPERATION he said: “I believe that there is room for improvement of the operations of these multilateral institutions, with more participation of developing countries in their management and an alignment of their actions with the priorities of the African countries is imperative… The poor countries should have an effective representation and inclusion in the decision making leading to new international governance institutions.”
Justin Lin, the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Development Economics, of the World Bank Group, spoke about MOVING BEYOND AID. His key message was that:”Growth is needed to make strides in improving development outcomes and put the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) within reach…. A global infrastructure investment initiative would be a “win-win” for the world. It would boost growth and reduce poverty in developing countries, rejuvenate advanced economies, increase the demand for their capital goods exports, and create much needed jobs.”
Panelist Frannie Léautier, executive secretary of the Africa Capacity Building Foundation, spoke on South-South Cooperation: How Does Gender Equality Factor in the Emerging Multilateralism? ”A number of issues relating to gender need specific attention, including access to education by girls and women; risks of trafficking of women and children; gender, trade and regional integration; poverty levels among women; democracy, human rights and gender; intellectual property rights, indigenous knowledge and the role of women, etc. Data and analysis are critical to deal with these issues.”
The Honourable Winston Dookeran, the minister of finance of Trinidad and Tobago, pronounced the following closing words to the conference: “Perhaps now is the right time to make a declaration for a new commitment … by countries in both the North and South. This is a declaration for development and development cooperation.… Hence the suggestion that we develop a new diplomacy and where it is not working, we must fix it. This is a call for an action agenda for the future for development cooperation in a changing global order.”
Dr. Danny Leipziger, Professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University School of Business, spoke on the topic of the SHIFTING GLOBAL ORDER. In his talk he said: “Advanced economies are struggling; we are in for a rough ride multilaterally; it will be a system under stress; the role for government planning is more important now than ever due to uncertainty and market stress; climate change is the greatest long-term threat and international financial institutions must be empowered now to make critical investments.”
Dr. Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for the Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution, gave a presentation on RETHINKING THE ROLES OF THE MULTILATERALS. In his presentation Dr. Karas said: “Southern donors, private business, private NGOs – each of which is not well linked to (the) multilateral assistance (system). Multilaterals have an important role to play in the aid architecture. But they are being squeezed in size and have fewer resources to play their assigned role. Traditional donors are reverting toward bilateral or non-core multilateral funding.”
The Africa Development Bank’s Director of Development Research, Désiré Vencatachellum spoke on THE ROLE OF REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT BANKS. In Mr. Vencatachellum’s presentation he said Development Finance Institutions gained important lessons from the recent revolutions in North Africa, institutions which had until then viewed Tunisia as a success story. But since the January 14, 2011 revolution in Tunisia, the “new buzz words” are “inclusive development, accountability, voice and good governance.”

|| Speakers || Papers and Presentations || Event Details ||
|| Sponsors || Media || Canadian Development Report ||