The Development Leaders Conference 2022: Collaboration in an Age of Crisis

It’s clear that development agencies will be faced with hard choices in the years to come. Against a backdrop of increasing fissures in geopolitics and the rules-based international order, they will be operating in a new triple reality. Gains made in poverty reduction and human development over the past twenty years are in reverse; interconnected transnational development challenges are growing in urgency, scale and complexity; and shocks and crises are growing ever more frequent. Development agencies are being asked to scale-up support for global challenges, like climate change and pandemics, advance traditional development priorities and strengthen contingency finance and stabilization capacity to protect against crises.

The key takeaway from the 2021 CGD’s Development Leaders Conference (DLC) was that, against this backdrop, the conventional development aid paradigm and its country-focused business model will need to change.

Now in its fifth iteration, CGD’s 2022 Development Leaders Conference, being held in Paris, France in partnership with the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), will bring together senior policymakers from official bilateral and multilateral development agencies and institutions to explore the way forward for development, during this time of profound change.

The previous editions of the Development Leaders Conference (2018 in London, 2019 in Beijing, and 2020 and 2021 virtual) have clearly demonstrated the value of an informal forum that facilitates peer group discussion. Development colleagues meet to discuss global trends shaping the development landscape and discuss responses to common challenges. By design, the DLC is held in a private and independent setting to strengthen cross-agency relationships and engage participants in the most constructive dialogue possible.

This year’s discussions will focus on the shifting realities in the development landscape, and what they mean for the current model of development cooperation. It will explore how development agencies and institutions are attempting to remain resilient and adapting their models of operation, capabilities, and capacities in the face of increasing risks and uncertainties.

Different initiatives and operational models for evidence-based innovation will be presented, including approaches to measuring impact, challenges in enabling innovation at scale, creating shared innovation, and investing in innovation in partner countries.

When the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was set out, along with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), it was presented that it was in “our common interest to ensure our common survival.” Now it is clear is that if we are to achieve the SDGs, something must shift. At the conference, development leaders will take stock of the trajectory towards Agenda 2030, explore options and perspectives on mobilizing additional finance, and address what it will take, in concrete terms, to align finance with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.

Global cooperation has never been more urgent. We are proud to be convening development colleagues and facilitating the collaboration which is so crucial to furthering our important agenda.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.