The Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan (2011) marked a turning point in the aid and development effectiveness process,
especially in terms of the recognition of civil society as an independent development stakeholder, and of the international commitment to a broad and inclusive partnership for development. CSOs shifted the discourse from aid to development effectiveness, resulting in a new set of principles such as democratic ownership, inclusive partnerships, transparency and accountability, and a commitment to people-centred development. For the CPDE, these agreements represent the basic minimum going forward applying to all development actors – a floor, not a ceiling.
Since Busan, there has been a gradual, systematic narrowing of space for civil society despite agreements to the contrary. At the same time,
governments are placing increasing emphasis on and faith in, the role of the private sector in development with little attention to its accountability and responsibility towards sustainable development and human rights, and to the potential detriment of the role, responsibilities and space for governments to realize national development plans and realize the rights of all their citizens and peoples
Other processes outside the aid effectiveness policy arena are also gaining increasing importance in global development cooperation, including south-south cooperation and climate finance.
Meanwhile, a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs), developed by United Nations (UN) Member States, will guide global development cooperation for the next fifteen years. Significant gaps remain including the lack of a comprehensive human rights-based approach. This new framework will only be as good as its national implementation, the means of holding governments and all development actors to account on their commitments, the range and modes of financing that development stakeholders can generate, as well as
the governance structures that steer the implementation of this agenda. CSOs continue to press for human rights standards, poverty eradication, gender equality, social justice, decent work and environmental sustainability to be at the heart of any development agenda.
The CSO Key Asks challenge all development actors to deliver on a truly transformative development agenda.