Looking forward to the upcoming High Level Meeting on Effective Development Cooperation in Mexico I read through the documents that will mostly determine the talk of the day during those deliberations.
As much as I am aware that Mexico is rather a follow-up to Paris, Accra and Busan in a search for effective development strategies, I also see a break away from an NGO-led poverty focus towards a Private-Sector led sustainability focus.
So what effectiveness will we be talking about in Mexico? Doing my preparatory reading for session 5 of this meeting I read the following statement:
"Smarter financial partnerships between private corporate and financial entities, development assistance providers, and foundations are creating new opportunities for scaling up development finance. By providing for sound financial return so as to maximize social impact, these partnerships are transforming the prevailing paradigm to a private-sector–led model, and thereby accelerating the progress and impact of development finance."
So what is effectiveness about? Smart partnerships between money, money and money that should show a tremendous increase in development financing hence solving the global development crises. However, this idea much resembles the post-war 'financial push' paradigm. It did bring welfare to Europe, but did it bring sustainability?
Last week the UN gathered in a 10th session preparing for the post 2015 agenda and I am sure next week will feed into that process as well, though they are seperately organised. My recommendation for a truly private-sector led developent agenda would be to have only the private sector actors sitting with themselves (not in partnership with public agencies or civil society) taking the Sustainable Development Goals as they develop in the UN and design a theory of change that will transform its own profit premise into a value premise and come up with smart indicators that will help all other players (public agencies and NGOs) to keep them to account. Would that not bring true sustainable development? There is but one thing. Make sure the whole private sector is on board.
Next week I won't be in Mexico but will spend time in the Horn of Africa instead figuring out how Self-Help Groups may be part of the answer in addressing the protracted crisis of resource conflicts that characterises this region. One of the items on the agenda is partnerships. How to effectively connect to public agencies and private sector operators. However, after having embraced each other so firmly, I wonder if the public-private partnerships advocated for in Mexico, can be effectively turned into a tripartite agreement that includes people. Wishing all dignatories a very effective High-Level Meeting in Mexico, hoping that they will acknowledge the importance of people for making partnerships work.
My name is Reinier van Hoffen.
Click here for a summary.
Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.