UNITAR, OECD and Egypt gather key development partners at UN MDG Summit to spur action and share best practice on “smart” partnerships for development

UNITAR, OECD and Egypt have joined efforts to gather top-notch personalities during a four-hour side-event to the UN MDG Summit in New York on Smarter Partnerships in a Complex World: the Potential of MDG 8. The event, which was attended by more than 100 participants, included interventions by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General of the OECD, the former Minister for Economic Development of Germany and the Director of the UN Global Compact Office.
Held on 20th September, the event brought together development partners, representing UN entities, governments, civil society and the private sector to share best practices in partnerships for development – what has worked and what not – and renew commitments to make partnerships for the achievement of the MDGs more inclusive, based on mutual accountability, and enabled by enhanced capacity development and use of innovative technology.
In his opening video message, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR, Mr. Carlos Lopes, welcomed the spirit of partnership that led to such a UNITAR-OECD-Egypt event.
Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for a right-based approach in working towards the MDGs and for partnerships built on duties, rights and responsibilities. In her intervention, Ms. Pillay particularly recommended to increase the participation and voice of all southern partners in international political decision-making on development, highlighting the importance of empowering aid recipients and building capacity – knowledge, skills and commitment – to make partnerships work. She mentioned that social accountability mechanisms to better monitor donor accountability had been successful in several countries.
Mr. Taalat Abdel-Malek, Co-Chair of the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, Egypt, discussed progress made by the OECD on encouraging stronger partner representation and engagement and providing tools to improve mutual cooperation. He emphasized that capacity development to the benefit of all stakeholders involved is critical for further progress, pointing in particular to the importance of increasing institutional capacity in addition to human capacity. Mr. José Antonio Fares, representing Social Services provided by the Federation of Industries in Parana (SESI Parana), in Brazil, presented on mechanisms in place to monitor MDG achievements in Brazil and outlined fundamental conditions to accelerate development based on aid effectiveness at the regional level. Mr. Francesco Pisano, Manager of UNOSAT at UNITAR showed how timely partnerships were formed with the World Bank, the European Commission Joint Research Centre, partners in Haiti and the private sector to assist the international community and Haitians in rapid analysis of earthquake damage to improve aid assistance through accurate localization of affected areas. It was emphasized how cutting-edge technology (satellite imagery and analysis) was timely used to serve efficient partnerships and aid assistance, paving the way towards strengthened national capacity for territorial development. Ms. Emilia Pires, Minister of Finance from Timor Leste, shared particular challenges faced by fragile countries when it comes to achieving the MDGs.
A second panel focused on high potential new partnerships that could support accelerated progress towards the MDG. Speakers including Georg Kell, Head of UN Global Compact, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, UNDP Governance Practice Leader, Leonard Ferrari, Naval Postgraduate School, and Kemoko Touré, Chamber of Mines Guinea, highlighted the importance of scaling up effective public-private partnerships and of being prepared to innovate, through partnering with research institutions or using Information and Communication Technologies to achieve MDG targets and promote accountability.
Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, OECD

In his closing of the side-event’s panels, Mr. Angel Gurría , Secretary-General of OECD stated “[…]the importance of building a new paradigm for aid as a global partnership for development. He pursued: “This is the essence of MDG8, and it can be the main driver of progress towards achieving the MDGs by 2015”. Mr. Gurria reiterated OECD strong commitment to partnerships for development, improving mutual responsibility between donors and partner countries and promoting “smart” international partnerships that can leverage the maximum out of aid and the impact of every partner’s input.

Finally, an open discussion on ways to make partnerships “smarter” included the participation of Ms. Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Member of Parliament of Germany and former Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Ms. Lydia Alpizar, Association of Women’s Rights Mr. Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Mr. Christiaan Rebergen, Ambassador for MDGs and Public Private Partnerships of the Netherlands and Ms. Marielza Oliveira, Associate Director for Governance at UNITAR. During the discussion, discussants and participants called for an increasing role of public-private partnerships, compacts between donors and recipient countries and a global initiative uniting partnerships for mutually strengthening existing efforts.A video of the Mayor of Antwerp was also shown as an example of successful multi-stakeholder involvement in development efforts.
The audience affirmed a series of recommendations to intensify action and make MDG8 a true global partnership for development. These recommendations touched upon three main areas: 1) Strengthen inclusiveness and voice of Southern partners and women; 2) Keep promises on delivering commitments on aid and build further mutual trust and accountability; and 3) Improve development practices based on innovation and behaviour change. See the complete list of recommendations.
Contact: Dr. Marielza Oliveira, Associate Director for Governance, UNITAR, Geneva, marielza.oliveira <at>unitar.org
To read Ms. Pillay’s speech, click here
To read Mr. Angel Gurria’s remarks, click here 
To read Mr. Fares' presentation, click here
To read Mr. Pisano’s statement, click here
To see pictures of the event, click here  
To watch Mr. Carlos Lopes’ opening statement, click here
To access the MDG Summit Bulletin reporting on 20th September events, click here
To see agenda of the side-event click here