International Efforts for Development
International Efforts for Development
Start and Progress of International Development Cooperation Discussions
The Marshall Plan, which was sponsored by the US to ensure the rehabilitation of Europe after World War II, is considered the start of international development cooperation. In the 1960s, major developed countries established ODA institutions, and in the 1970s, began to focus on reducing poverty and resolving inequality. In the 1980s, development cooperation was set aside as a result of neo-liberalism and the spotlight was placed on debt issues.
In the 1990s, the transition of socialist economies into capitalism became the key issue.
Sophistication of International Development Cooperation Discussions in the 21st Century
In the 21st century, development cooperation has been identified as an issue that requires joint global action. Accordingly, the global community endorsed the Millennium Declaration at the UN General Assembly in September 2000 and announced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty in the following year.
Furthermore, in September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the years 2016 through 2030. The SDGs build on the outcomes and limitations of MDGs and consist of 17 goals and 169 target goals. In particular, SDGs can be differentiated from previous development goals with common goals set for both developed and developing countries and the objective of promoting balanced growth in social, economic and environmental sectors.
1940-1950s: The Beginning of ODA
In 1945, the UN Charter affirmed the organization's commitment to advancing international cooperation in order to solve international problems of economic, social, cultural or humanitarian issues, and to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and this gave rise to the specialized agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). This international activity marked the beginning of ODA. With the increasing provision of emergency relief to newly independent countries in the 1950s, foreign assistance gained momentum, which laid the foundations for multilateral assistance. Provision of bilateral ODA took off as well, as the U.S. and the Soviet Union aggressively provided bilateral assistance to support post-war recoveries in Europe.
1960s: Emergence of a New ODA Regime
In 1961, the UN announced that the 1960s would be ‘the Decade of Development’ and called on every developed country to spend 1% of its GNP on aid. The growing international interest in development led to the creation of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the same year. During the 1960s, a significant part of ODA was allocated to infrastructure and industrialization projects.
1970s: Rights-based Approach to ODA and Emergence of Development NGOs
The UN declared the 1970s as the ‘Second UN Development Decade,’ urging developed countries to spend 0.7% of their GNI on ODA. Due to the two oil shocks and ensuing global recession, however, poverty in developing countries was exacerbated. In this context, economic growth-centered aid came under criticism, and a new aid strategy highlighting fundamental human rights as a key indicator to measure development gained traction. The 1970s also saw the emergence of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as new players in development cooperation.
1980s: Decrease in ODA and Enhanced Capacity of Development NGOs
The global economic downturn, which lasted until the first half of the 1980s, forced a number of donor countries to slash or freeze their aid budgets. Furthermore, the national debts of developing countries increased explosively, and their economies suffered despite the World Bank and IMF interventions. In the meantime, numerous NGOs continued to strengthen their expertise and functions.
1990s: Diversification of ODA Issues
The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s set the stage on which donor countries were now able to actually focus on poverty and development challenges, without competing over ideologies through aid. In the context of the rapid globalization, the issues related to development cooperation became diversified to include the environment, women, migration, labor, poverty and health. At the same time the international community strengthened its efforts to further identify the causes of poverty and its solutions.
In the midst of economic stagnation, the effectiveness of ODA was called into question, and aid effectiveness and efficiency became a serious topic of discussion among donors. By this time the OECD DAC had begun to underscore the importance of policy coherence, to argue that aid effectiveness can only be ensured when the aid policy remains consistent with other important policy areas such as trade and finance. The WB introduced the concept of “participatory development,” seeking to put the beneficiaries at the center of the development policies and efforts.
In the 2000s, the UN’s announcement of its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ushered in a golden era for international development cooperation. In September 2000, at the 55th Session of the UN General Assembly (the Millennium Assembly), 189 heads of states and world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration.
Aid Effectiveness: HLF-1 ~ HLF-3
In accordance with these global goals, the international community began to discuss ways to expand financing for development and utilize it effectively. At the first High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-1), held in Rome in 2003, donors adopted “the Rome Declaration on Harmonization” to thereby officially adopt aid effectiveness as an important development agenda. In 2005, the Paris HLF-2 then adopted “the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness”, setting out five key principles and 12 indicators for tracking the progress made. Following the Paris forum in 2008, Accra HLF-3 adopted “the Accra Agenda for Action (AAA)” to check on the status of and accelerate progress toward fulfillment of the Paris Declaration. This third forum also highlighted the importance of civil society organizations (CSOs) as key partners for development.
2010s Aid Effectiveness: HLF-4
The HLF-4 in Busan in 2011 provided donors with an opportunity to finally take stock of the progress and the achievements of the Paris Declaration and its action plan. The HLF-4 resulted in adoption of an outcome statement entitled “Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation”, highlighting the concept of a new global development partnership that embraces the distinct roles that all stakeholders in cooperation can play to support development. Notably, the “Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC)” was then launched in June 2012. As a follow-up to the HLF-4, so as to accelerate the paradigm shift toward inclusive partnerships intended to involve the government, parliament, civil society and business as important players in ensuring aid effectiveness.
The concept of sustainable development is defined by the UN as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It is a future-oriented development in which a balance among economic development, social progress, and environmental protection is achieved. As the successor of the MDGs, the SDGs are the new development agenda for 2016-2030, which calls for extensive global efforts to end poverty. There are 17 SDGs with 169 targets.
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequality
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- Partnership for the Goals