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The Development Leaders Conference

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About the series

CGD’s annual Development Leaders Conference brings together the top leadership of bilateral development agencies and selected multilateral development institutions from around the globe—in a private and independent setting—to share common challenges, solutions, and opportunities in supporting sustainable development.

The 2021 conference, co-hosted with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), will be held virtually in November.

More from the Series

The Development Leaders Conference
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Development Leaders Conference 2021: The Need for a Bold, New Approach to Development Cooperation

In 2021, the ongoing grip of COVID-19 served as a stark reminder of the fragility of our progress in fighting poverty and COP26 highlighted the need for richer countries to provide substantial funding to meet global challenges. As the twin crises of a global pandemic and climate change threaten to leave developing countries far behind, and squeezed aid budgets in many donor countries create their own challenges, development agencies are facing intense pressure.

Last month we had an opportunity to discuss these issues at the Development Leaders Conference (DLC) co-hosted by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). This annual gathering, now in its fourth year, brings together heads of bilateral development agencies and senior management from selected multilateral institutions for a frank peer-to-peer exchange and mutual learning.

While the event is held under Chatham House rules, this blog summarizes some of the key discussion points and illustrates why there was so much agreement on the need for a paradigm shift in development cooperation.

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Development Agencies and the “New Normal”

In this blog, we map key trends and changes in the development landscape and highlight the implications of these changes for the future of ODA. These findings were presented at the Development Leaders Conference 2021, held earlier this month. All development agencies will need to ask themselves how to better address challenges that extend beyond national boundaries and how to respond to the increasing incidence of poverty and inequality at the national level. Both approaches are linked and can co-exist. But they require a re-think of roles, practices and capacities

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What Aid Agency Leaders Should Worry About on Climate Finance

One of my overwhelming preoccupations over the last 10 years as a chief executive of international aid organisations, first as permanent secretary of the UK’s Department for International Development and then as head of the UN’s humanitarian affairs, has been that there was never enough money, even when budgets were growing.

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The Development Leaders Conference 2021 Preview: The Changing Agenda For Global Development Cooperation

With the world still in the tight grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, development cooperation partners are facing unprecedented challenges. With increased poverty rates, limited fiscal space due to the pandemic and a heightened need to adapt to global challenges like climate change, partner countries face overlapping crises that urgently need to be tackled. Meanwhile, donor countries and their development cooperation agencies also face a variety of obstacles: stagnant or decreasing aid budgets, political demand to link development cooperation spending to domestic interests and a more volatile global world order. These issues will set the stage for the 2021 virtual Development Leaders Conference (DLC) taking place next month.

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Fostering Development Cooperation: A Development Leaders Conference

How can the development community truly harness the power of this cooperation and come together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? Last month, the Center for Global Development again hosted the Development Leaders Conference, this time in Beijing in partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

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Building a Foundation for Better Development Cooperation: CGD Development Leaders Conference 2019

The big takeaway from the 2018 CGD Development Leaders conference was that all agencies, new and old, face similar opportunities and challenges—of relevance, responsiveness, communication, capability, and resilience—and there is much to learn from sharing experiences, especially at this time of profound change in the world of international development. CGD’s 2019 Development Leaders conference, co-hosted with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in Beijing, China, will again bring together the community of Heads and Directors of development cooperation in aid agencies and ministries from around the world.

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Development Agencies: Fit for the Future?

Official bilateral and multilateral development agencies are under strain from opposing forces: on the one hand, they are confronted with a world in which the development challenges are interconnected and daunting, and the risks are systemic and increasing; on the other, they are grappling with a world in which ardent nationalism, protectionism, and populism are rising, and rules-based multilateralism is declining.