International co-operation practices and frameworks have not always recognised the multidimensional nature of development and the changing global context. We need a new approach to international co-operation and development, within a multilateral system that is able to take on increasingly shared global challenges whilst accounting for countries’ domestic realities and citizens demands. The global community must also support the design of national development strategies that are aligned with global goals and respond to the origins of increasing discontent. For several years now, the Development Centre has been pushing this paradigm shift forward through its work on Development in Transition (DiT), gathering countries at all levels of development around the same table and across a diverse range of policy communities, recognising the multidimensional and complex nature of development. A central premise of our work is that economic growth is not a good measure of human wellbeing and development. We need multidimensional indicators that enable us to measure what we treasure – people’s wellbeing and the health of our planet – beyond GDP.
The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and vulnerabilities among and within countries, exposing the flaws of a multilateral system that had already failed to address these issues after the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. We need a new model consisting in strategies and reforms that go beyond reconstruction and rebuilding, focusing instead on transforming globalisation and renewing the efforts and tools of our multilateral system to benefit the many rather than the few. We need to fundamentally rethink how countries – at all levels of development – interact with one another to design better policies, practices and partnerships adapted to the changing global landscape.
This compilation gathers a selection of blogs contributing to the Development in Transition framework since its emergence to lessons that we can begin to draw from the pandemic. The first blog sets the foundations of the approach, outlining the new metrics, partnerships and tools to shift from top-down, donor-recipient ties to inclusive co-operation among equals, reflecting the current global landscape. The second part of this compilation looks at the issue of graduation, demonstrating that the trajectories of developing countries are far from guaranteed linear paths. As countries are sometimes “rushed to graduate” from aid based on their GDP per capita, and despite still facing significant vulnerabilities, they are confronted with an array of challenges that can erode and even reverse hard-won development gains. The authors depict these challenges and offer solutions – through both national efforts and international support – to prevent countries from falling into the so-called “middle-income trap”. In the third part, the authors focus on the COVID-19 crisis, and its catalyst effect, exposing the failures of the multilateral system to respond to a crisis on a planetary scale and accelerating the need to reform and shift towards new sustainable and inclusive development models that strengthen
countries’ and communities’ resilience against systemic shocks, driven by principles of solidarity and co-responsibility among and between developed and developing countries.
Director of the OECD Development Centre & Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary General on Development