07/02/2015 05:29 EDT | Updated 07/02/2016 05:59 EDT

What Will Be the Role of Country Ownership in the Post-2015 Agenda?

This photo taken Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 shows the half hectare wheat farm of Ethiopian farmer Bedlu Mamo, near Debre Zeit, in Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Bedlu says it is the first time he planted the Mangudo variety durum wheat on the farm. The U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization is marking World Food Day on Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012, a day dedicated to highlighting the importance of global food security. The FAO said hunger is declining in Asia and Latin America but is rising in Africa. One in eight people around the world goes to bed hungry every night. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center says that although maize has long been considered the most important cereal crop in sub-Saharan Africa, demand for wheat is growing faster than for any other food crop. (AP Photo/Kirubel Tadesse Ayetenfisu)

By Luca De Fraia

The need to ensure developing country ownership over development processes has been well-established. Yet, as the world moves towards the establishment of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, there has been little conversation on the extent to which the new agenda will indeed support country ownership of sustainable development processes.

With just a few weeks to go before the first test of the post-2015 agenda in Addis Ababa, ActionAid Italy is presenting a report on the current state of play on country ownership in post-2015 negotiations. The report, by Carleton University's Shannon Kindornay, looks at commitments to country ownership post-2015 by mapping out and critically evaluating references to ownership in official documentation informing post-2015 negotiations.

So what did the review find?

My initial attitude on this issues was fairly negative from draft conclusions for the Addis Ababa and New York conferences: there appeared not to be a real push to make sure that the effectiveness agenda could inform the new global partnership in its entirety. The reading this report offers tells a different story insomuch as it highlights that at least the notion of ownership is no longer confined to a niche (international public finance) -- respect for country ownership appears in chapeau texts and as a general guiding principle for post-2015. Nevertheless, the presentation and strength of commitments to support the notion of country ownership vary across post-2015 texts. The report makes a number of important recommendations for the post-2015 negotiated outcomes.

Commit to create national sustainable development strategies (NSDS) to guide post-2015 implementation at the country level, including financing strategies where appropriate. All inputs into the post-2015 discussions have highlighted the centrality of NSDS for realising the SDGs at the country level - and the need for the international community to support national plans. Yet, none of the negotiated outcome texts actually include a commitment to prepare NSDS.

Ensure commit to country ownership is a central pillar of the SDG process and broaden commitments related to ownership principles to go beyond international public finance. Stronger language could be adopted to recognize the centrality of country ownership in the adoption, implementation and monitoring and review of post-2015 commitments. Explicit commitments to actions which give concrete expression to principles of country ownership and reaffirm and strengthen existing commitments -- such as use of country systems -- are also needed.

Ensure broad country ownership post-2015. Negotiated outcomes should clearly articulate the importance of participation and inclusivity in the preparation of national sustainable development plans and financing strategies, implementation and monitoring and review processes to ensure participation by a wide range of stakeholders.

Adopt and strengthen appropriate systems of follow-up and review, including strengthening mutual accountability at the country level. There is a need to ensure the follow-up and review process includes a strong mechanism to take stock of specific commitments to capacity development, external financing and global reforms, monitor progress, identify gaps and promote accountability. Systems of mutual accountability at the country level need to be updated and strengthened to reflect post-2015 commitments going forward.

The role of country ownership in the post-2015 agenda will require ongoing efforts to understand, preserve and strengthen it. I hope this paper will keep the discussion moving forward.

* A longer version of this blog originally appeared here

Luca De Fraia, Deputy Secretary General at ActionAid Italy

The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of CCIC or its members.


Nations That Gave The Most In Development Aid In 2014