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Assessing the effectiveness of external financial flows for meeting 2030 Agenda goals

ICRICT commissioners Irene Ovonji-Odida and Wayne Swan will speak during the Berlin Global Solution Summit, at the panel "Assessing the effectiveness of external financial flows for meeting 2030 Agenda goals” March 18 (15.00 - 15.50)



The development landscape in the recent period has undergone dramatic shifts since the international community first agreed on a set of principles for assessing the effectiveness of aid flows in Paris in 2005. The discussion during the Accra (2008) and Busan (2011) high level fora suggested a shift from aid effectiveness to development effectiveness as part of a broader agenda on effective, accountable and transparent financing for development.

While new actors entered the scene making a wider set of development finance instruments available to developing countries, the changing profiles of recipients also significantly altered allocation, terms of delivery and expected outcomes of the flows. The launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with its core principle “leaving no one behind” make new demands on the effective use of resources. Meeting the financing gap is probably the most crucial challenge in achieving the 2030 Agenda. Official Development Assistance (ODA) flows as a share of GNI from traditional providers such as members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have been discouraging recently. Providers are far from meeting assistance of at least 0.7% of GNI – which they recommitted to in the 15- years Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) in 2015.

Moreover, less and less ODA is being disbursed as Country Programmable Aid (CPA) due to an increase in in-donor country spending (such as ODA funds for hosting refugees) and aid to global public goods (like climate change mitigation). There are also more fragile contexts among recipient areas so that more and more ODA is being spent on the management of humanitarian crises (again, assistance to refugees, but also emergency shelter). The question of how to do more with less is gaining increasing pertinence.

Development assistance from non-traditional providers (beyond DAC) are somewhat filling up the financing gap. However, southern development cooperation varies substantively in terms of guiding principles, operational modalities, and perceptions about outcomes. China in particular extended its foreign aid (that differs from “official development assistance”) with infrastructure being a key priority. There is yet to be a systematic assessment framework to capture the effectiveness of South-South flows of foreign direct investment (FDI).

The private sector is instrumental in ramping development financing from “billions to trillions” in meeting the SDGs. Innovative instruments like blended finance are increasingly gaining momentum for leveraging the private sector. Private philanthropy also emerged as an important factor. Again, efforts to assessing these flows in terms of their effectiveness have been inadequate.

Understanding the Political Economy perspectives – especially with regard to the power dynamics between providers and recipient countries in areas of ownership, capacity, predictability, transparency and accountability – is crucial. Further, there is an urgent need for a shared understanding of the principles, processes and outcomes of development effectiveness among traditional and new actors in the field.

Against this backdrop, the proposed panel hopes to bring fresh perspectives from both the South and the North in elucidating the necessity of adequate instruments to assess the effectiveness of development investments of all kinds in the recipient countries. The panel will discuss features and challenges of the evolving external financing landscape, interface of external financial flows with domestic resource mobilization (DRM) and finally country/region specific issues related to trends in development cooperation.


Moderator Ms. IMOGEN FOULKES, BBC Correspondent UN/ Geneva

  • Dr. DEBAPRIYA BHATTACHARYA, panel co-organiser Chair, Southern Voice Network; Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD)

  • Ms. IRENE OVONJI-ODIDA Chairperson, Action Aid International; ICRICT

  • Ms. MARGARITA BENEKE DE SANFELIÚ Director, Research and Statistics Center, Fundación Salvadoreña Para El Desarrollo Economico Y Social (FUSADES)

  • Mr. WAYNE SWAN President, Australian Labor Party (served as the Treasurer of Australia for nearly six years); ICRICT.

  • Mr. DIRK WILLIAM TE VELDE Principal Research Fellow, ODI

You can find the new conference programme on the website: 

Read about the panel here