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Delegations from the 30 richest donor countries met in late October 2017 at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) in Paris to discuss changes to the rules governing overseas aid. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD holds its high-level meeting (HLM) every two years, which is a formal, ministerial-level meeting of DAC members and observers to advance the global agenda on key development issues.
Winnie Byanyima was invited to contribute to the meeting on behalf of Oxfam.
Session: "Ensuring the DAC is Fit for Purpose”
REMARKS AS PREPARED
With this reform, you are taking a hard look at yourself in the mirror. My being here, invited by you, reminds me how things are changing. I commend your willingness to change. It is what has made the DAC such a force for over almost 60 years.
I think the fundamental question to ask yourselves is one of relevance and one of power. Reducing inequality – within countries but between countries too – is necessary for development. Power in the world around you is growing in the South and in the East. Exciting development paradigms are emerging, with greater ‘South-South’ cooperation and reliance on developing countries raising their own resources.
Does the DAC want to maintain the old rules of the game or make a new way fairer? Does the DAC want to speak to people in poverty or speak with them? Where do you see yourself?
I also urge you – as a community of donors - to continue playing collectively. I know how arduous agreeing on common rules can be at times: the challenges that you’ve encountered over the past 2 years in developing rules on private sector instruments, or in-donor refugee costs, illustrate this. But it’s is a precondition to the credibility of your work.
Finally, please live by the principles of transparency and inclusivity that you preach.
The work of the DAC raises a lot of interest, but at times a bit of suspicion too. And that’s because you often fail to keep the world outside of this beautiful “chateau” informed of what it is you are doing. Information is not enough.
Put consultation and outreach – in particular to developing country governments and civil society – at the core of your reform. It will better ensure you are championing the interests of the poorest across the globe.