OECD Forum Session Addresses “New Paradigms for Development”

Yesterday, the OECD 50th Anniversary Forum held a discussion on “New Paradigms for Development,” which included a panel on “Sustaining Development” and a second panel on “Mobilizing Domestic Resources and Partnerships.” Former MFAN Principal and current Chair of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, J. Brian Atwood, moderated the session alongside Bert Koenders, Co-Chair of the OECD Working Party on Aid Effectiveness. Atwood, who was also a former USAID Administrator, recently sat down with MFAN Partner ONE for an exclusive interview to talk about international development over the last 50 years.

During the first panel, speakers agreed that a “new era” where developing countries take ownership of their own development is possible so long as donor countries make meaningful investments in their potential. Panelists also seemed to agree that developing countries themselves must take responsibility for their own development by promoting sustainable growth and through more efficient mobilization of domestic resources. Atwood and Koenders—who talked about aid effectiveness in light of the upcoming 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea—called this a global partnership.

Food security was a prominent topic during the first panel. Farah Kalima, Director of Oxfam Novib, noted the need for clarity concerning the relationship between governments, civil society, and the private sector in order to mobilize everyone from “farm to fork.” Kanayo Nwanze, President of IFAD, also touched on food security, calling attention to the smallholder farmer who he sees as “a central part of the solution.”

Nwanze introduced another popular point of discussion: entrepreneurship as a means of promoting sustainable growth. Dambisa Moyo, aid critic and author, forcefully stated, “Development assistance does nothing if it is not creating jobs.” She added that African governments need to cut through red tape that prevents small entrepreneurs from starting businesses. Paul Collier, professor of economics at the University of Oxford, put growth into a global context, arguing over the next decade there will be tremendous opportunity for emerging economies to enter global capital markets.

The second panel dealt solely with the idea of domestic resource mobilization as a way for developing countries to wean themselves off aid. Transparency was a key theme throughout this discussion as all speakers touched upon the need for not only donor governments to be transparent, but for developing countries themselves to be transparent through forms of taxation. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Managing Director of the World Bank Group, praised the Open Data Initiative as a step in the right direction for aid transparency.

As part of a transparent system, a few of the speakers touched on the need for consultation. Bernd Eisenblätter, Chairman, Management Board, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, referred to examples in Ghana and Nepal where the government, civil society, and the private sector held an open discussion about “where the money goes.”

Stay tuned for more to come as Secretary Clinton delivers remarks on gender and development.


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