PCD at the OECD: ‘what we now need is action!’

In the beginning of March, the 7th OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) National Focal Points meeting on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) took place in Paris. The Fair Politics programme of the FMS was also present. OECD member countries discussed the role PCD can play in the changing global context and how it can support the current Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda.

Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, set the tone of the meeting by stating that the costs of inaction with regard to PCD are high. He used the example of illicit financial flows. “Illicit outflows from developing countries fair outweigh aid inflows. And many of these funds end up in OECD countries.” Therefore we need action and we need it now.

Hans Rosling, founder of Gapminder, then gave the keynote speech of the meeting. Gapminder collects data from many organizations, such as the OECD, and uses this to fight ignorance and to teach about global development. Rosling says that this is a difficult task, because the public has incorrect preconceived ideas. This was showed by the so called “Chimpanzee Test”: chimpanzees scored better at several questions about development that groups of students around the world.

“We are also desperately in need of a new way to look at the world.” According to Rosling it is stupid to divide the world into the developing world and us, the OECD member state countries. We should only define the poorest countries as developing countries, because “Why does Congo get the same amount of aid as Turkey?”

The what

The first session of this meeting gave a general overview of the discussions on the post-2015 agenda. Currently, there are several intergovernmental processes going on in New York, at the United Nations. The speakers in this panel agreed that regardless of how the post-2015 goals are defined, we still need specification on how to reach these goals. According to Diana Alarcón (UNDESA), PCD can and should be the centre of this new agenda. However, Betty Maine (CEO of Kenya Manufactures’ Association) emphasized that since action is required at various levels, it is also necessary to enact the private sector.

The who

In the second session the central question was: what are the governance processes for managing PCD beyond 2015. Serge Tomasi (OECD Development Coordination Directorate) emphasized that global interdependence increased the global challenges. “We have to go from a donor agenda to a global agenda, in which PCD has to play a significant role.” Rolf Alter (OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development) also had a warning for the national delegates: “The key challenge of PCD is that it is difficult to assign to a specific ministry. There is the danger that PCD will become the task of everyone and no one.”

The how

Then, how should PCD be incorporated in the post-2015 agenda? All speakers, throughout the whole meeting, acknowledged that there is a lack of data. Petra Krylova (Commitment to Development Index - CDI) said that currently the incoherencies of policies are identified. “What we need now is action!” The CDI can help, since it shows who scores best. “We can see the best practices and learn from each other.” Jammie Drummond (ONE) agreed, but he also added that transparency and accountability are crucial.

PCD needs to be more outcome oriented

So although this meeting did not lead to any concrete action plans, the OECD members could take several broad findings from the discussions home. The approach to PCD has to be more proactive to be able to deal with the complex global challenges. And therefore political commitment towards PCD is needed. Besides, PCD has to become more concrete, outcome oriented and evidence-based.

Fair Politics will monitor the debate on PCD in the post-2015 agenda closely in order to strive for fair and more coherent policies for development.

By Anne van der Meer

Photo: Flickr

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