The SDGs and Food Security: Balancing Goals

The United Nations will adopt 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September as part of the post-2015 Development Agenda. However, as UN member states and other stakeholders prepare to reach a consensus on the world’s development priorities for the next 15 years, the importance of targeted interventions across all goals, especially food and nutrition security, is of critical importance.

The SDGs grew out of a nearly 2-year long process beginning with the establishment of a 30+ member Open Working Group (OWG) in January of 2013. The OWG model developed a set of goals meant to be inclusive, universal, and comprehensive, bumping up the Millennium Development Goals’ broad targets to a total of 169 targets.

The UN must advocate for the legitimacy of the SDG agenda as an advanced and improved agenda, different from but complementary to the MDGs. Goal 2, to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture,” is one of the broadest goals proposed by the OWG. Specificity and accuracy is the most important in implementing this goal. Agricultural development interventions are often well-intended but poorly executed, and a lack of local knowledge and capacity-building ends up distorting markets and disadvantaging farmers across the world. Continue reading

Global Development Forum: Financing for Development Preview

In July 2015, heads of state, finance ministers, foreign ministers, and ministers for development cooperation will gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the third United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development. The Addis Conference seeks to identify funds to support the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This conference will be fundamentally different from earlier FfD conferences held in Monterrey in 2002 and Doha in 2008. In 1980 low and middle income countries received $32 billion of ODA and $7.6 billion of FDI, but by 2013 those countries received $133 billion of ODA and $735 billion of FDI.  As global incomes rise, emerging donors have taken on a much greater role in development. Developing countries’ themselves have gained a greater ability to finance their own development as private sector economic activity in the developing world continues to grow. Below we have outlined some of the ways development finance has changed to respond to a new set of challenges and development realities.

The UN will host the third Financing for Development Conference in July

The UN will host the third Financing for Development Conference this July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

A New Role for Traditional Donors

While ODA and traditional development financing remain important catalysts for development, donors that were once the main sources of financing for developing countries increasingly find themselves playing a complementary rather than unilateral role. Private financial flows have increased rapidly and ODA and public funding for donor organizations have increased at a more limited rate. As a result, traditional donors are finding new ways to leverage their funds to create maximum impact, often through encouraging private sector growth. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the second UN Conference on Land Locked Developing Countries in Vienna this week. Photo courtesy of the Austrian Foreign Ministry flickr account used under a creative commons license.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the second UN Conference on Land Locked Developing Countries in Vienna this week. Photo courtesy of the Austrian Foreign Ministry flickr account used under a creative commons license.

Asia Pacific

  • India continues to block the implementation of the 2013 World Trade Organization trade-facilitation agreement, refusing to push forward with the deal until the WTO guarantees protection of India’s massive state food purchases. It is now doubtful that a compromise can be reached before the G20 summit next week. Critics see India’s food stockpiling measures as amounting to harmful subsidies, artificially encouraging farmers to grow more food which may eventually be dumped on world markets.
  • One year after the Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, there is renewed attention on the affected areas. The UN estimates that 475,000 people are still living in unsafe or inadequate temporary shelters, some in areas considered dangerous. According to the mayor of hard-hit Tacloban, the city has only received about $5.5 million in aid from Manila despite international pledges of $1.6 billion for rebuilding in the Philippines.
  • The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will formally launch its Development Innovation Hub in early 2015 as part of Australia’s new foreign aid paradigm. The project has been in the works since being unveiled in June of this year. Australia has allocated $122.2 million in funding to encourage innovative new ways to deliver aid programs, which may open the door for private sector partners to be more active in the planning and design phase of projects.


  • In response to the armed coup in Burkina Faso, Canadian Minister of International Development Christian Paradis announced that Canada will immediately suspend development assistance to Burkina Faso. International observers, including the African Union, have condemned the coup and are calling for a transition to civilian authority.
  • Moody’s Investors Service cut South Africa’s foreign debt rating on Thursday from Baa1 to Baa2, moving the country’s rating in line with countries like Brazil and Russia. The rating was revised down on concerns about labor instability and power shortages.
  • IFC launched a $450 million initiative to spur private sector trade and investment in Ebola-Affected countries. The initiative will include $250 million in rapid-response projects, and at least $200 million in investment projects to spur post-epidemic recovery.

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Four Takeaways from the 2013 U.N. Procurement Report

By Charles Rice and Julia Marvin

The U.N. released its 2013 Annual Statistical Report on Procurement on July 10, and the report provides some useful insights into trends in U.N. procurement practice.  As defined by the CSIS Report, A New Development Agenda, procurement is the “purchasing of goods and services, including all government expenditures except staff costs and transfer payments, for the benefit of a government agency or other public authority.” In recent years, there has been a recognition of procurement’s potential development impact, particularly when sourced from emerging or transition economies.

  1. Total United Nations Procurement is growing

United Nations procurement rose again this year to $16.08 billion, and has risen a total of 16.6 percent since 2009.  UN and global procurement spending continues to grow, meaning there is a greater potential development impact from responsible and sustainably sourced procurement.  Sourcing procurement from developing and transition economies offers economic opportunity to local vendors, but also a window to increase transparency, efficiency, and fairness in the public procurement systems of developing economies.  As the U.N. begins to consider procurement in relation to its broader mandate, we can expect procurement to be a development focus for years to come.

Total Procurement Continue reading

Weekly Round-up

This week in development…

  • With the first-of-its-kind Africa Leaders’ Summit fast approaching, CSIS released Africa in the Wider World, a collection of essays by CSIS experts on the issues and trends central to the Summit, including trade, security, and governance.
  • Following its 13th review session, the UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) released the final version of its proposed Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on July 19, which are expected to be presented to UN Member States in September 2014.
    • The 17 SDGs include 169 specific statistical benchmarks, with emphasis on agriculture, health, education, gender equality, improved access to water and “modern” energy sources, economic opportunity, and sustainable development practices.
  • On July 22, the United Kingdom’s DFID hosted the inaugural Girls Summit in London in cooperation with UNICEF. The summit hoped bring greater attention to issues of child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM) and female genital mutilation (FMG).
    • Advocates and survivors, as well as representatives from the public and private sector, discussed ways to put an end to these practices.

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