United Cities and Local Governments took part to the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) High-Level Symposium from 19-21 March 2014 in Berlin. The meetings were hosted by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the German Government. The symposium featured participation of 170 experts and stakeholders to discuss 'Accountable and effective development cooperation in a post-2015 era.'
The meetings served as the last preparatory sessions of the UN Development Cooperation Forum, that takes place every two years, and that will be held in New York, on 10-11 July 2014.
A delegation of local and regional governments attended the Symposium, including the President of the Region Champagne-Ardenne (France), the Mayor of Bagangté (Cameroon), the President of the Province of Azuay (Ecuador) and the Mayor of Chefchaouen (Morocco). The participation of local and regional governments in the Symposium was an opportunity to strengthen the role of local and regional governments in international development cooperation and to promote the specific advantages of decentralised cooperation.
The UCLG delegation delivered key messages that build on the UCLG Policy Paper on Development Cooperation and Local Governments. The Paper highlights the need for full recognition of local governments as development partners with equal status in international development cooperation.
The meetings contributed to the ongoing preparations for a post-2015 development agenda, including the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. The UCLG delegation contributed to the framework questions of the Symposium, drawing from the analysis of elements and features of global monitoring and accountability, the role of effectiveness and quality of development cooperation in a post-2015 era, as well as ongoing analytical work on South-South Cooperation.
Speaking at the opening of the Symposium, Martin Sajdik, President of ECOSOC, welcomed the opportunity to discuss a new era of development cooperation that will come with implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. A "vibrant forum for exchange among all development partners on an equal footing", he suggested that the post-2015 role of the DCF could include: monitoring the global partnership for development; focusing on development cooperation rather than implementation; and reviewing mutual national accountability and transparency.
Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, state that this period is a "fundamental re-orientation of global development efforts." He called for a DCF more focused on development cooperation and a renewed global partnership for development in the post-2015 era, and outlined the need for an "inclusive global architecture for monitoring and accountability of development cooperation."
It was agreed that the UN DCF 2014 in July will tackle how to best ensure that development cooperation is fit for purpose in the post-2015 era. It was also agreed that the conclusions drawn in Berlin will fuel the discussions at the First Ministerial meeting of the Busan Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation which will take place in Mexico in April 2014.
UCLG will be contributing and working with ECOSOC on the content of the 2014 Development Cooperation Forum, taking place in New York on 10-11 July. At this crucial time for the international development agenda, local and regional authorities will remain active contributos to the discussions and will continue advocating for full recognition of decentralised cooperation as positive public policy.