At 2023 UN Financing for Development Forum side event on the Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs), the delegation of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) asserted that civil society must be included in the INFFs conversations.
The INFF is an approach designed to “bring together international partners to align and magnify support to more than 80 countries to channel critical investment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”* An INFF facility was launched in 2022 as a joint initiative of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Union (EU) and the Governments of Italy and Sweden.
The side event gathered civil society organisations and representatives of multilateral organisations, development partners, and other stakeholders to discuss concerns on how INFFs are being implemented, and how these frameworks can be maximised to contribute towards the sustainable development goals.
As the Italian government representative, First Counsellor Marco Romiti, explained, “Using INFFs, countries can have better outlook on development issues and how to finance them. There is a need to think about new financial tools and instruments to implement within the financing for development sector.”
Tom Beloe, UNDP Chief of Programme, Finance Sector Hub acknowledged the need to increase participation around INFFs: need for more inclusive research at the country level, which can include collaboration between governments and CSOs.
Meanwhile, Shari Spiegel, UNDESA Chief of Policy Analysis and Development, Financing for Sustainable Development, explained that “INFFs was never meant to be the entire agenda, need to be seen in the context of international reforms. We are in a journey, still developing and growing. INFFs can be a tool to strengthen country ownership, if used right.” She also agreed that CSOs should be part of the process, so that their voices are heard in improving country ownership.
Jenny Krisch of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) echoed the sentiment, saying CSOs have been a key player in the dialogue on INFFs, and that it is “necessary to keep them in the loop of the future discussions on INFFs.”
In response, CPDE Co-Chair and ActionAid Deputy Secretary General Luca de Fraia explained that when it comes to INFFs, governments are involved, but CSOs are sidelined. “There is lack of democratic ownership, but we want to keep pushing this line of work.”
Reality of Aid Africa’s Vitalice Meja agreed, saying that “governments got into INFFs because of the mobilisation of resources. This also determines who gets invited and why they get invited for. How can we mobilise stakeholders to come around the table and define priorities around financing? CSOs and other actors are not around the table, especially when UNDP consultants are leading the process.”
CPDE Senior Policy Liaison Matt Simonds then remarked that it is important that UNDP uses the leverage it has to make sure that CSOs are included in INFFs processes.
In its positions, CPDE also draws from the findings of its ICSO sector’s study on the INFFs.