Prioritizing the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable through risk-informed development cooperation

ByUnited Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Prioritizing the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable through risk-informed development cooperation

The world faces multiple crises involving climate change, economic uncertainty, food shortages, and the energy crisis. Development cooperation is crucial during these times of global challenges and uncertainty. It underpins recovery efforts in developing countries, builds resilience, and advances progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Is the time to scale up the quality, impact, and effectiveness of development cooperation in all its forms – financing, collective action for policy change, technical cooperation, and multi-stakeholder partnerships – with a focus on the most vulnerable populations. The 2023 Development Cooperation Forum to be held in New York on 14–15 March 2023 will aim to do just that.

According to a global vulnerability assessment, 94 countries – home to approximately 1.6 billion people – are facing significant exposure to at least one aspect of the crisis. Intensifying risks make recovery more difficult each day. They place a significant burden on the most vulnerable countries and people who need the most support to withstand economic, environmental, and social shocks. Yet, official development assistance (ODA) commitments remain unmet. Loans are more often provided over grants, raising serious debt concerns in developing countries.

While the world has seen progress and innovation in international development cooperation, it is not sufficiently risk-informed and has not kept pace with the needs of the most vulnerable. Few international financial institutions take vulnerability into account when allocating concessional finance. Those that do, do so on a limited scale. To be more effective and equitable, development cooperation policies and practices should better account for vulnerabilities in priority areas such as climate resilience, social protection, and digital transformations. It also must ensure the most vulnerable countries have a strong voice in global norm-shaping and policy-making.

As the first of the major Financing for Development events in this critical year, the 2023 Development Cooperation Forum will provide an opportunity to heighten ambition and scale-up commitments for action toward the SDG Summit in September and beyond.