Non-Aligned Movement has highlighted the importance of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as the principal body for international economic cooperation. The Movement has highlighted the importance of ECOSOC’s Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) as the focal point within the United Nations system for holistic consideration of issues of international development cooperation.

DCF defines development cooperation as “an activity that aims explicitly to support national or international development priorities, is not mainly driven by profit, discriminates in favour of developing countries and is based on cooperative relationships that seek to enhance developing country ownership.”

The Development Cooperation Forum focuses on trends and progress in international development cooperation. It promotes knowledge sharing and mutual learning. DCF also encourages coherence in development policy and across diverse actors and activities. The DCF brings together decision-makers and experts from developing and developed countries, parliamentarians, local governments, civil society organizations, philanthropic foundations, international organizations and development banks, and the private sector. It is open to all member States of the United Nations and is a core function of the Economic and Social Council. The DCF operates in two-year cycles. Global priorities determine specific themes. These are set in consultation with the informal DCF Advisory Group and other stakeholders, in line with the work of the development community and the annual themes and objectives of ECOSOC.

DCF has been playing an active role in promoting economic cooperation, with an emphasis on promoting development cooperation among the developing countries. During the 6th biennial high-level meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum held in May 2018, it was emphasised that visibility of South-South and triangular cooperation should be increased, and their added value and sustainable development impact further analysed, to help to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 6th high-level biennial meet of DCF called for aligning institutions, policies and actions with the core commitment of the 2030 Agenda that focusses on the development of those who are farthest behind with least resources and weakest capacities. DCF also highlighted that development cooperation can help to reverse negative trends in inequality, conflict, climate change and the rise of violent extremism and populism. With respect to reversing negative trends in climate change, support should be provided in particular to countries with limited capacities to move from managing disasters to managing and reducing risk and building resilience.

DCF has also called for countries to use national development cooperation policies as powerful tools for ensuring broad-based country ownership and for lifting the quality of partnerships over time and linking such policies with the goals of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Countries should devise such policies in such a manner as to ensure the participation of all relevant stakeholders and domestic beneficiaries in the formulation, implementation and review of progress of national development cooperation policies.

Participants at the sixth biennial DCF Forum also called for facilitating technology development and transfer in strategic areas and mentioned that development cooperation should help to ensure that new technology and access to digital data can bring transformative change with respect to financial inclusion and improve the provision of services to the poor. The Forum also called for strengthening data and statistical capacity for the monitoring and review of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

DCF has also called on developed countries to meet the commitments under Official Development Assistance (ODA). The Forum has reiterated that ODA remains critical, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable countries and as a catalyst for various other means of implementation. Reaffirming that the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for ODA is not enough to bring needed change for the poorest and most vulnerable countries and peoples, DCF calls for taking steps to ensure that commitments on ODA are met, most ODA is utilised for the benefit of least developed countries and countries in special situations and effective allocation and use of ODA is strengthened. In a similar vein, NAM also believes that ODA remains the main source of international financing for development for many developing countries and that it is essential as a catalyst for development.

By Dr. Ankit Srivastava