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During the 2021 UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) and in the lead up to the 5th UN Conference on Least Development Countries (LDC5), the Global Partnership hosted a side event for 90+ participants around the importance of effective, inclusive ‘whole-of-society’ partnerships and for amplifying COVID-19 response in LDCs. Partners’ contributions focused on the Partnership’s 'Action Dialogues' initiative, looking at how different ways of convening diverse stakeholder groups can ensure that no one is left behind as we begin the ‘Decade of Action’. 

“LDCs’ development progress has been slowed by the impact of COVID, redirecting funding from long-term development priorities and increasing public debt” said H.E. Mr. Thomas Gass (Co-Chair of the Global Partnership, Switzerland) as he opened the timely discussion.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Daniel Mosango (Secretary General, Ministry of Planning, Democratic Republic of Congo) reminded participants that “the effectiveness principles allow for more sustainable outcomes, that’s why they are important to us as LDCs and therefore should be important for you all”.

With Official Development Assistance (ODA) making up such a large part of LDC financing (5.8 percent of GDP in LDCs in 2018) and the relative proportion of ODA to LDCs declining, Ms. Heidi Schroderus-Fox (Director of the UN OHRLLS) called for these trends to be reversed. In light of the 5th UN Conference on LDCs coming up in 2022, she urged development partners to meet the commitment of 0.2 percent of GDP to LDCs.

The quality of ODA (QuODA), with data from the last Global Partnership monitoring round, showed a similar story suggesting that more ODA still needs to reach those furthest behind (actual 44 percent in 2018 compared to suggested 55-59 percent of global aid). Mr. Ian Mitchell (Co-Director of Development Co-operation, Centre for Global Development) presented results from 49 providers across four dimensions (prioritisation, ownership, transparency & untying, and evaluation).  

Results showed that while there are some improvements in the timeliness and comprehensiveness of ODA reporting and untied aid (transparency & untying) with 87 percent untied aid in LDCs (up from 86 in 2014), there remains a high reliance on implementing partners from donor countries, and little progress on how well allocations are targeted to a country’s development challenges (prioritization), and on providers working with partner country national systems (ownership).

From Rwanda’s Aid Policy and Development Partner Retreat aligning with the four effectiveness principles, to Bangladesh’s local consultative groups and development forums to Afghanistan’s National Peace and Development Framework and strategic, sector-level trust funds, countries shared examples of mechanisms and policies they use to bring ownership, on-budget financing and transparency and alignment with national priority programmes (effectiveness principles) into focus. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Rwanda are among close to 20 countries that are leading an Action Dialogue this year – a Global Partnership initiative that aims to scale up effective partnerships in light of current challenges, including COVID response and recovery.

Ms. Meghan Watkinson representing Canada  – among the top 5 most effective bilateral partners according to QuODA rankings and co-facilitator of the LDC5 preparatory process –  ended the meeting with reiterating the importance of innovation and locally-driven solutions in partners’ Action Dialogues and applauded the Global Partnership’s recent work on private sector engagement to support finance beyond ODA. “COVID has brought a renewed purpose for the effectiveness agenda.”

Click here to watch the webinar.

Read Global Partnership’s key messages for the 2021 HLPF and the latest monitoring data on LDCs.


Photo credit: UNDP