By Sabine Terlecki, CONCORD Head of Policy and Advocacy
 
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Intentions of the High Level Meeting in Mexico

The First High Level Meeting (HLM) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) in Mexico brought together over 1500 participants – including heads of State and Government, ministers, parliamentarians and leaders from international organisations, private sector and civil society organisations.

 
The agenda and the content of the outcome communiqué were framed within the five focus areas chosen by the GPEDC co-chairs: Progress since Busan and inclusive development; domestic resource mobilisation; South-South co-operation; middle-income countries; and working with the business sector. The more politically attractive topics drew attention from the real aim of the meeting – to take stock on the progress made since the Fourth High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, held in 2011 in Busan, Korea, to discuss the role of the CPDCE within the future development framework and to agree on the next steps to accelerate it.
 
 
The five focus areas were enriched by smaller focus sessions which put more interesting aspects of development effectiveness on the agenda and encouraged different stakeholders to find ways to cooperate together in their preparations. This multi-stakeholder cooperation was reflected too in the consultative process of finding the consensus among the Partnership stakeholders of the Mexico Communique.
 
Emerging economies India and China boycotted the meeting as they seemed to have had concerns about the binding nature of the outcome communiqué of the Mexico HLM followed by lower level representation of South Africa, Brazil and G77, which brought up questions on
the legitimacy of the GPEDC as such. Nevertheless, one cannot neglect the fact that the results of Mexico HLM will serve as inputs to diverse international processes especially the upcoming UN Post 2015 and the International Conference on Financing for Development.
 
Progress since Busan
 
The main aim of the Mexico HLM got very little attention in the agenda. One would assume that progress since Busan should have been the cross cutting topic of all the other issues with proper reflections on the next steps, but it was shrunk into one panel. In the end, the Global Progress Report itself “Making Development Co-operation More Effective” received very little attention. In Mexico, no new commitments and actions were made to accelerate progress on taking forward the principles and actions agreed in Busan, which is stalling.
 
We could see at the High-Level meeting in Mexico a discussion around the Busan values such as human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment. However, if you look at the outcome Communiqué itself it does not really offer concrete answers to the challenges which have been identified since Busan. The communiqué reflects that Human rights based approach to development as well as gender equality and women’s empowerment were amongst the topics discussed, but surely not amongst the real priorities. Human rights-based approaches need to be implemented by all stakeholders, so what about the role of the state as a key duty bearer? In addition, the Communiqué does also not acknowledge other important commitments made in Busan such as access to gender disaggregated data.
 
Unfortunately, little progress was made regarding the enabling environment for CSO’s. The Mexico Communiqué addresses several aspects of shrinking spaces for CSOs and re-confirms what was already agreed in Busan. However, it does not move this forward by establishing enabling environment monitoring frameworks and making the inclusive and democratic multi-stakeholder dialogue institutionalised at the country level. Many governments have reduced the flexible support for CSOs with a lot of changes in the law.
 
EU’s performance before, during and after Mexico HLM
 
The EU’s performance in Mexico was under close supervision of European CSOs. We can say that the EU did its homework before Mexico by agreeing on the EU Common position, actively engaging in the preparations of different panels and focus sessions and even by publishing its own version of progress report “Busan commitments: An analyse of EU’s progress and performance”. But if you correct the homework you find out that the EU brought the same issues to Mexico as it did to Busan: transparency and joint programming, progress could be better and even the EU could be more ambitious in the consultation on the Communique, and stress the issues which are so important for the EU’s development cooperation such as human rights. Now, ahead of the Foreign Affairs Council on 19 May, is time for the European ministers to
agree on the plan to accelerate progress and to foster the inclusive development partnership.
 
Post Mexico – All questions answered?
 
Having come back from the HLM, two key questions remain:
 
a)What was the real success of this High-Level meeting and
b) how or if the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation will fit within the broader development
framework and the Post 2015 discussions based on solid legitimacy vis-à-vis the UN led processes?
 
You can clearly see that the Communiqué is a broad consensus document, and in all probability this has to be seen as the key success of the High-level meeting- but it is indeed far from being ambitious and often not even keeping the Status quo.
 
So, does it go far enough for the people? Why has there not even been a reflection of the added value of the GPDCE in Mexico?
This reflection is key to avoiding overlaps with others, such as UN bodies like the UN Development Cooperation Forum, and informs us how to be legitimate within the next development framework!