OECD DAC HLM - New Approaches in Development Finance, October 2017

OECD Development Assistance Committee High-Level Meeting - October 2017

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.

Some more information can be found on the OECD website, on Devex here and here, and Oxfam's reaction to the meetings can be found here.

Session: "New approaches in development finance” 

REMARKS AS PREPARED

It’s because of sessions like this that I had to come to Paris.

We must seize the hand of business to meet some of the SDGs. 

But we must proceed with prudence. 

Donors: too often you are letting yourselves be dragged down the wrong path. The time has come for us to pause and partner with the private sector on terms that work for the poorest. 

First that means asking which areas the private sector is welcome in, and which it is not.

Education and health must be publicly funded for results to be quality and universal in reach. Precious resources have been wasted on failing public-private experiments that do nothing for the poor – take the IFC-advised PPP that led to Lesotho spending half of its health budget on just one hospital in 2014.

For-profit schools like Bridge Academies spreading in Africa increase social segregation and inequality. They force families to make impossible choices between which child gets to go to school, and provide education of questionable quality. The most marginalized children and girls lose out. 

Some donors have been pressuring governments to relax standards and allow Bridge to work even where they were closed down by courts, such as in Uganda. That is wrong.

Second, are the right controls in place to do no harm and reduce poverty? 

Are you supporting the right kind of business – that create decent jobs and pay living wages, restore the environment not just extract from it? That treat women and girls with equal rights, and not exploit them? 

Oxfam’s research (“Blended Finance”, 2017) showed that in major blending initiatives there is no requirement to consult developing countries or ensure that the projects actually supports local communities for projects are initiated by private companies.  Few measures are in place to ensure the projects are accountable and no harm is done to poor communities. The DAC must bring solutions to overcome this.

These are the terms upon which I hope the DAC, through its rules on Private Sector Instruments and its Principles for Blended Finance, will equip its members to navigate private sector collaboration. 

Thank you.

ENDS