CPDE Policy Conference 2020 Declaration

28 October 2020

We, members of the Civil Society Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), meet today by virtual means, as societies the world over continue to grapple with a global health pandemic that threatens to roll back the marginal gains in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The said pandemic has raised the structural barriers responsible for social inequalities, and is leaving the poor and vulnerable as its main victims. Furthermore, it has highlighted the urgent need for the international community to address these injustices and ensure that no person is left behind and deprived of their human rights. This is the context in which we meet, with special attention focused on the most vulnerable target groups in our respective communities – the elderly, children, youth, women, persons with disability, and LGBTQIA, among others.

We, the members of the CPDE, from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, and the Pacific, representing faith-based organisations, the feminist group, international civil society organisations, indigenous peoples, migrants and diaspora, rural constituency, labour, and the youth, believe that a more democratic international cooperation and strong multilateralism are crucial in this unprecedented period of a multi-dimensional global crisis. The role for development cooperation in countering the pandemic is multi-layered, and the development effectiveness agenda is more critical than ever before.

The CPDE Study on Evidencing the Effectiveness of the COVID-19 Response informs us in great detail of the weak adherence to the principles of effective development cooperation in said response. As governments struggled to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, these principles were, unfortunately, bypassed. Across regions and sectors, our members report of militarisation, repression, and restrictions that infringe on people’s rights and undermine civic participation; an increase in the incidence of violence against women and children committed in the context of the confinement or lockdown; violence committed in detention facilities by persons of authority; the excessive punishment of violators of quarantine protocols; and systematic online attacks on ordinary citizens posting criticisms against the government. These reports demonstrate the profound impact of the pandemic on human rights.

Many governments have exacerbated these conditions by taking advantage of the imposed restrictions to pursue economic and political interests. The COVID-19 pandemic unfurled over a global environment damaged by decades of neoliberal policies. Corruption and privatisation of public services hampered effective health care and social support for the hard-hit sectors. Governments reallocated national budgets from other key development programs towards financing the pandemic response and loan conditionalities are burdening developing countries with additional debt commitments, making achievement of the 2030 

Agenda that much more difficult. The economic shock created by COVID-19 is estimated to push 150 million people into extreme poverty by 2021. It is clear that new forms of what are essentially “business-as-usual” will be of little help in making progress in the SDGs in the context of the post-pandemic ‘new normal’.

As humanity navigates this challenging road to recovery, we in CPDE remain committed to our work of amplifying the voice of the marginalised and vulnerable, amidst the growing restrictions and the outright exclusion of civic participation in many countries. We will continue to resist and repudiate oppressive measures as a response to the pandemic. While there is an obvious need to implement strategies to curb the spread of the virus, we assert that the COVID-19 response cannot and should not violate international human rights standards and be weaponised to consolidate authoritarian power.  

Given this context, CPDE insists that the Development Effectiveness principles, aligned with human and women’s rights frameworks, be at the heart of the response to COVID-19 and the global effort, now and for the future, to achieve 2030 Agenda. We remember those principles now, and call on all development actors to:

  1. Ensure Democratic Ownership that 
    • is driven by national and regional priorities and realities on the ground
    • is aligned to and uses country systems in financing COVID-19 response
    • guarantees predictable funding that is on-time and reliable
    • promotes donor coordination on COVID-19 response or harmonisation
  2. Build Inclusive Partnerships which
    • include and strengthen civil society participation in COVID response
    • ensure ability of CSOs to operate freely and respond to the pandemic
  3. Guarantee Transparency and Accountability by
    • making available oversight and redress mechanisms
    • providing clarity in allocation and disbursement of COVID-related funding
    • offering access to prompt, reliable, and comprehensive information on COVID-19 situation and response
  4. Deliver Results that are
    • targeted towards the most vulnerable and marginalised, especially women and children, rural populations and indigenous communities, and in the informal sector and care economy
    • guided by transparent, measurable, and time-bound frameworks for assessing progress and results
  5. Truly aspire to Leave No-One Behind by
    • fulfilling and surpassing long-standing aid commitments on quantity and quality
    • providing access to essential services for the vulnerable and marginalised.
    • ensuring human rights and women’s rights are at the core of the pandemic response
    • upholding solidarity in the form of grants over loans
    • making funds distinct and additional for COVID-19 response

At the same time, despite the impact of the pandemic, CPDE is committed to pursue its priorities which have now been given even greater urgency. To this end, as a platform we commit to:

  1. Advancing the implementation of effective development cooperation (EDC) commitments as a contribution to the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda
  2. Safeguarding the integrity of the Global Partnership monitoring framework to preside over the implementation of the effectiveness agenda
  3. Promoting accountability and development effectiveness of private sector engagement in development partnerships
  4. Contributing towards reversing the pattern of closing and shrinking space for civil society.
  5. Promoting the development effectiveness agenda in financing climate action for the SDGs
  6. Ensuring that the nexus of humanitarian, development, and peace issues (or the ‘triple nexus’) advances the effective development cooperation and human rights agenda

The COVID-19 pandemic has struck humanity indiscriminately, rich and poor, strong and weak. Countering its awful impact successfully has demonstrated that the only effective strategy is for all in society to work in partnership. Out of the tragedy of the pandemic, CPDE asks that we build true inclusive partnerships to advance the effective development of all the world’s peoples.#

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