Published: March 25, 2011

Opening comments from CIGI Executive Director Thomas A. Bernes, presented at the workshop “Towards a Post-2015 Development Paradigm (I)” in Geneva, February 14, 2011.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On behalf of CIGI, I’d like to welcome everyone to this important workshop, particularly our guests who’ve come from near and far. I’d like to thank Barry Carin of CIGI and Dr. Mukesh Kapila of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies, our partner in this project, for their work in putting together this impressive workshop. I look forward to hearing the results, insights and recommendations.

In our view, this meeting is very timely. Development issues are now a core part of our programming agenda at CIGI. With the recent launch of CIGI’s new “Strategic Plan,” development — particularly “global development” — is one of CIGI’s four core areas of programming for the future. We are now putting together a program strategy for this work.

CIGI’s commitment to working on global development can also be seen in the participation of my colleague Dr. Gregory Chin, together with Barry, at this meeting. Greg is the newly appointed Acting Director for CIGI’s Development program

This meeting is especially timely, however, because of changes in the broader global context. The global development system seems to have entered an important new phase. Global priorities, the global agenda and the architecture of the system itself are in flux.

I was at the Monterrey Conference in 2002, from the vantage of IMF-World Bank Development Committee Chair, when we brokered the consensus on “Financing for Development.” This was no small feat, as it involved over 50 heads of state and government, as well as the heads of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, World Trade Organization, influential business and civil society representatives, and other stakeholders. In addition to the hopeful commitments that were made in the six areas of development financing, agreements were also made on debt relief, fighting corruption and policy coherence. However, I also saw everyone walk away from Monterrey, and how commitments were not met. This was a first indication that something was amiss.

CIGI’s mandate speaks very much to responding to such systemic, architectural and policy challenges, and doing so in new and innovative ways. This workshop can make an important contribution to our work on policy priorities and agenda-setting for the future of global development, including “the MDGs and beyond.”

We are also very interested in the efforts of the G20 to reshape the global development agenda

In addition to rethinking policy and future agenda shaping, CIGI has already been supporting research on shifts in global growth patterns, and, now, on how these shifts appear to be affecting the global development system, including the complex relationship between the traditional donors and emerging/rising donors. Greg has been working on the theme of the rising and emerging donors, and how they may be reshaping the global development system.

CIGI has also supported substantive and innovative research on the present shift in global economic growth, including the research of our colleagues John Whalley and Manmohan Agarwal. We expect that our new partnership with the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) will contribute further to new solutions for making the most efficient and effective use of finite resources for sustainable, balanced and shared growth in the future. We are interested in thinking about the innovative financing of global development, and arrangements that include government investment, but also potentially go beyond public sector contributions, to enroll private sector actors in contributing to the global public good.

CIGI is, ultimately, most interested in the institutional enabling arrangements that allow governments and international organizations, and non-government actors, including private sector and community-level institutions, to work together in new ways for global development — on adjustments in the architecture of the system. This meeting is especially important because clarity on priorities and core agendas is crucial for taking purposive action, especially at the international level, where coordination challenges are ever more complex

For these reasons, I can speak on behalf of CIGI colleagues in saying that we are very encouraged by this workshop, look forward to hearing about the good results and your recommendations. I thank everyone for their participation.

About the Author

Thomas A. Bernes is a CIGI Distinguished Fellow. He has held high-level positions at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the Government of Canada.