Thursday, 5 July 2012

Post-2015 MDGs and the private sector: Why can’t we be friends?

By Noshua Watson

Could it be possible to let companies commit to only one MDG?  If so, it might be possible to engage the private sector more in the development of the post-2015 MDG framework.

Today I’m attending the UN Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) in New York talking about these issues. I’m going to the Special Policy Dialogue Roundtable with Foundations on ‘How Does Private Philanthropy Engage with Development Cooperation’.

We recently published an IDS Policy Briefing on Private Foundations, Business and Developing a Post-2015 Framework. The private sector needs to be more involved in the future MDG process because providing global public goods like food security and slowing climate change requires multiple actors; poverty eradication is meaningful to businesses too; and businesses have long been engaged in global agricultural and health initiatives. 

But bringing business into the fold will require better coordination between donors and non-state actors of all kinds, sharing data and avoiding the duplication of effort and common performance standards for achieving development impact. There also need to be means of cooperation on individual MDGs rather than asking participants to commit to the entire post-2015 framework.

In the meantime, we have made four recommendations for businesses that want to engage with the post-2015 MDGs:
  1. Use their influence to strengthen national government systems instead of bypassing them.
  2. Use their local knowledge and market-finding abilities to identify local demand for aid.
  3. Learn from aid agencies’ best practices and avoid duplicating existing development projects. 
  4. Participate in industry associations and global funds for development or collaborate with other actors as part of official aid programmes.