The venue of the 2015 Busan Global Partnership Workshop (23-24 November, 2015) was at The K-Hotel, in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The workshop which is an annual event was sponsored in part by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNDP and the aim of this year’s meeting was to look at the role of the private sector in development effectiveness and common components of success in future partnerships.
The workshop was trying to establish how the private sector fit in making development effective and how they can attain social benefits and other things for the communities where they operate in line with Goal number 17 of the UN SDGs: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
The role of the private sector as a development actor is not well understood. The reality is that business can act as a ‘partner in development’ in a number of different ways. It is important to distinguish between ‘private sector development’, which can deliver a range of social benefits and other positive externalities resulting from private-sector-led economic growth, and ‘private sector engagement in development’ i.e. the many other ways business can engage in the development process.
One of the main outputs from the 2011 Busan High-Level Forum (HLF) was a joint statement from representatives of the public and private sectors on ‘Expanding and Enhancing Public and Private Co-operation for Broad-Based, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth’. This recognises five shared principles to maximise the benefit of coordination and collaboration to support development, which are:
Inclusive dialogue: Sustaining productive country-level dialogues between private sector institutions and development stakeholders
Consultation and collective action: Involvement of the private sector in finding solutions to development challenges. Consultation with the private sector in the elaboration of national and sector plans
Sustainability: Aid/development activities with private sector involvement, should scale up development impact in a sustainable manner and align with local priorities and capacities, “comply with relevant national laws and respect applicable international norms”
Transparency: Policies which are predictable and designed and implemented in a transparent way: greater transparency of public–private cooperation including Public–Private Partnerships, strengthening ongoing transparency and accountability initiatives in sectors which are critical to developing countries’ economies. A predictable institutional environment, including effective and transparent procurement systems
Accountability for results: Monitoring, reporting and evaluation of development results, measuring impact and sharing lessons learnt. (2015, Busan Plenary Discussion Paper)
ZBIDF’s Contribution at the Workshop
ZBIDF’s National Coordinator Ernest Muwamba was asked to provide input to a particular question during the plenary discussions in one of the sessions.
Question: What should be the scope and role of the global platform for effective development corporation in building links between the private sector and development outcomes in a manner which adheres to the Busan principles and encourages better results in countries?
In answer to this question, ZBiDF’s National Coordinator outlined the following issues:
For scope, the GPEDC needed to be a link between the private sector and the development actors in terms of it being the nexus where there are best practices of how the private sector engages the development actors. Examples of cross sector partnerships between the private sector and development actors need to be collected to understand how they are engaging around the world. The examples should also look at all the things that did not work in order to provide reasons why they did not work and how to remedy that.
In terms of the role, in all future meetings the private sector need to be engaged as business is the key actor in unlocking potential and there were only two companies from the private sector present at the meetings with most of the participants being from the civil society. There is also a need to hold High Level Forum for the private sector operators so that they are given insight of how development players work and to be shown opportunities of where to play a significant role in accelerating development.