No time to lose: strengthen global vaccine co-operation and leave no country behind


By Zhang Laiming, Vice President and Research Fellow of the Development Research Center of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China


In the fight against COVID-19, the most pressing priority is to bridge the global vaccine divide. While 71.56% of the population in high-income countries have been fully vaccinated, the same can be said for only 4.89% of people in low-income countries. As long as the vaccine divide exists, the coronavirus will not stop spreading and mutating, and no country will be safe. To this end, countries must work together. So, what needs to be done in the near future?

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Can Mexico change the face of international co-operation for development?


By Gerardo Bracho, International Co-operation Expert and Member of the Mexican Foreign Service  


We still do not have all the details on the “World Plan for Fraternity and Well-Being” that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently proposed at the UN. What is clear, however, is its ambition to pull our present paradigm of international co-operation for development out of the doldrums.

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Building a more collaborative and inclusive international co-operation system


By Xiuli Xu, Professor, Dean of the College of International Development and Global Agriculture (CIDGA), China Agricultural University


The term “development” that emerged in Western Europe over 300 years ago has evolved into a set of ideas, institutions and practices, particularly encompassing the concept of official development aid (ODA) that emerged after the Second World War, led by OECD countries. Development concepts, principles and approaches have long been supplied by Western countries, even though a distinction exists between “an interpretive discourse” and “a normative discourse” – with the former indicating a wider pattern of non-Western countries’ societal change and the latter consisting of Western donor agencies’ deliberate efforts to “improve” recipient countries.

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A greener post-COVID development strategy: Time to mainstream new development indicators


By Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS)


The COVID-19 crisis has given us an opportunity to reset development priorities as wider efforts to build forward better, with a smaller carbon footprint, make headway across countries. But are 20th century measurement instruments fit for the challenge? Building forward better requires effective and efficient measures adapted to desired development outcomes. For instance, the COVID-19 crisis has sensitised society to the need for better health infrastructure, as well as a greener and healthier environment. It has also exposed major social exclusion and increased inequalities. The pandemic has been a wakeup call to urgently fulfil the commitments of Agenda 2030 and shift to a new development paradigm connecting the five Ps: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.

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Aligning national plans to international development goals: the role of regional co-operation and co-ordination


By Philani Mthembu, Executive Director at Institute for Global Dialogue


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the lack of a regional alternative to access goods and services once global value chains had been disrupted. Such a situation can only be remedied by encouraging the development of more robust regional value chains that feed into existing global value chains, boosting resilience to future pandemics or crises. Regional co-operation and integration are the missing link to ensure greater alignment and coordination between national plans and international development goals.  

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Donor countries should use IDA20 to address a blind spot in development finance


By Creon Butler, Research Director, Trade, Investment and New Governance Models, and Director, Global Economy and Finance Programme, Chatham House and Harald Hirschhofer, Senior Advisor, TCX


Developing countries need external finance on a very large scale to meet the Sustainable Development Goals; the COVID-19 pandemic has not only increased the amount they need but also made it harder to access private funding. This makes public Development Banks more important than ever, especially to catalyse investments by pension funds and other institutions in socially productive assets.

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The Development Assistance Committee at 60

By Susanna Moorehead, Chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC)


The DAC’s 60th anniversary is a good moment to pause and take stock with some honest self-reflection.  Like any 60 year old, the DAC has grown up, changed a great deal, at times become a bit set in its ways, but it has also learnt to adapt, flex, respond to shocks, be less risk averse and better able to meet new challenges, incorporate new members and work with others.

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It’s time to move beyond a debt moratorium and finance productive capacities in least developed countries

By Paul Akiwumi, Director, Division for Africa, LDCs and Special Programmes, UNCTAD


According to recent UNCTAD analysis, most LDCs will likely take several years to recover the level of GDP per capita they had in 2019, and compared to developed countries, which may experience a short V-shaped recovery, the median LDC would take roughly three years to climb back to pre-COVID-19 levels of output per capita. Moreover, extreme poverty in LDCs is projected to rise to 35%, equivalent to 32 million people, due to the pandemic.

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Forced displacement in 2021: much to commemorate, little to celebrate

 By Martin Wagner, Senior Policy Advisor Asylum, ICMPD, Caitlin Katsiaficas, Policy Analyst, ICMPD, and Benjamin Etzold, Senior Researcher, BICC


This year, we celebrate 70 years since the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention was signed. While the Convention has aged relatively well since its inception and has remained relevant for so long, global developments have left their mark. Ever more protracted, mostly internal, conflicts make true solutions for displaced people scarce. As a consequence, UNHCR has sounded the alarm on the growing numbers of displaced persons, virtually every year for the past decade, on the occasion of World Refugee Day (20 June). As expected, the 2020 figures presented at this year’s world refugee day were no different.

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Least Developed Countries have 13 years to meet global trade rules, but still lack critical flexibility at the WTO

By Rachel Thrasher, Researcher, Boston University Global Development Policy Centre

By only granting a 13-year extension in a critical time for economic recovery from COVID-19, Members of the World Trade Organization may be creating more severe challenges for Least Developed Countries and the global economy down the road.

Without much fanfare, on June 29, 2021, the member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) quietly agreed to extend the transition period for least-developed countries (LDCs) to implement the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) for another 13 years.

The recently granted extension falls substantially short of what was requested, though it is slightly longer than the previous two nine-year extensions. The news has received relatively little attention in the midst of negotiations for vaccine access and pandemic fears about new vaccine-resistant variants, but to be sure, the failure to acknowledge the need for a longer-term transition period has substantial impacts for LDCs’ development trajectories.

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