Foro de la ONU sobre Cooperación para el Desarrollo – cooperación al desarrollo para lograr trabajo decente

Decent work and jobs creation were among issues discussed at the UN Development Cooperation Forum that concluded last Friday at the UN headquarters in New York. The biannual forum discussed the current trends in development cooperation in view of the recent geopolitical changes, the multiple crisis as well as the parallel policy processes, including the Rio+20 summit and the process coming out of the aid effectiveness forum in Busan.

“The Decent Work Agenda is at the heart of the three pillars of sustainable development,” said ILO Director General Juan Somavia in a speech where he appreciated the progress made on the labour agenda at the UN summit ‘Rio+20’ that took place just two weeks before the DCF meeting. His voice was seconded by the trade union delegates who raised the issues of green and decent jobs creation and the role of social dialogue in the implementation of green economy.

The role of development cooperation in advancing the conclusions of the Rio summit was among the main topics discussed that the forum. The other issues included aid allocation, new development finance, accountability, south-south cooperation and decentralized cooperation. The forum also touched on the role of private foundations in development as well as the current and future institutional arrangements for development cooperation, including the newly established Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (the Busan High Level Forum outcome) and the future of the DCF itself.

With the global economic crisis and OECD countries’ aid spending dropping for the first time in years, these are defining times for development cooperation. Many voices at the forum called for development work to become more holistic, built around policy coherence, dialogue and global policies for Northern and Southern countries.

A particular concern for the trade union delegates present at the forum was the topic of south-south cooperation, which is one of the new and fast growing trends in development cooperation, touching also on trade and investment policies. It generates, however, diverse – and often diverging – visions and opinions between the industrialised, emerging and developing economies. The trade unions spoke up about the need for more transparency, focus on local decent employment creation and compliance with international standards on development effectiveness. “We have seen more and more south-south cooperation programmes put in place in Africa. But where are the jobs?” asked ITUC-Africa Deputy Secretary General Adrien Akouete in reaction to the forum’s panel on this topic.

Civil society representatives raised also the issues of mutual, democratic accountability, Human Rights Based Approach and building enabling environment for citizens’ participation. They have also addressed the question of aid architecture, calling for a more prominent role for the DCF. “Unlike other spaces where development cooperation is being discussed, the UN DCF is fully inclusive and multi-stakeholder, bringing together on equal footing all countries, different levels of national and local government, Parliamentarians, private sector and global civil society,” reads the civil society statement to the DCF, to which the trade union delegation has contributed.

The next DCF will take place in two years, preceded by a series of symposia on various aspects of development cooperation policy and practice.

Read more:
- ITUC statement to UNDCF 2012
- Trade Union Development Cooperation Network