copy the linklink copied!Executive summary

copy the linklink copied!Time for a new development co-operation narrative

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change are grounded in the understanding that tackling major systemic problems and the political, economic, social and environmental crises confronting the world requires co-operation. But the goals are proving hard to reach. Progress is uneven and new challenges are constantly emerging that often overshadow the positive outcomes already achieved.

At a time of deepening scepticism about many international institutions and norms, development actors need to step up and champion the work they are doing. Youth are uniting for action, spurring the need for a new narrative. To engage youth and citizens more broadly and counter a media-driven narrative that reinforces public perceptions of development co-operation’s shortcomings, development co-operation needs a fresh narrative that explains to a wider public what it is, how it operates and why it is needed.

copy the linklink copied!Inspiring hope: Contributing to better lives and a shared future

Nations and societies are largely responsible for their own progress. International development co-operation cannot claim sole credit for development progress, but it can claim a supporting role in helping progress happen. The essence of development co-operation is support to developing countries in their efforts to improve the lives of their citizens, leaving no one behind. Countless compelling examples demonstrate how it adds value, catalyses additional investments, costs significantly less than inaction and benefits everyone by helping to head off future problems.

copy the linklink copied!Development co-operation is needed more than ever

There is cause for alarm, however, about the future of international development co-operation and the global community’s willingness and ability to co-operate effectively and deliver on its promises. When action to reach well-defined and agreed goals for peoples’ well-being and sustainable living are off track, it should be a wake-up call that forces international development co-operation actors to ask tough questions about whether they are “walking the talk”.

Rising geopolitical and trading tensions between the world’s biggest economies appear to be dampening the potential for growth. Global multilateralism and the ambitious goals set by the world community in 2015 are under threat. The rapid digitalisation of the global economy and everyday social interactions is transforming the future of work worldwide. More frequent climate-related shocks are also rattling growth and development prospects, jeopardising hard-won gains by increasing food insecurity, health risks and peoples’ vulnerability to extreme weather events. The latest evidence shows that action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is falling short on issues that are crucial for a better world, namely gender equality and all other forms of inequality, poverty, fragility and conflict and climate change.

This report calls for a change of course in development co-operation and for OECD DAC governments and their development agencies to step-up action on three fronts. They need to show through words, actions and investments that development co-operation is fit to take on 21st century challenges and open to working with diverse actors for long-term development results. Playing to their strengths they should ensure that development co-operation continues to increase chances of a better tomorrow for one and all. The ‘In Brief’ section of Chapter 1 presents the report’s Call to Action.


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