The Rosett Report

Just What the World Really Needs

Please try to contain your excitement, but yes, it’s true….

In Geneva today, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presiding, the UN launched yet another “high-level” development thingamabob. This time it’s not a UN Fund, or a Program, or an Initiative, or a Group, or an Alliance, but a “Forum” — the “Development Cooperation Forum,” which will hold its first biennial grand pow-wow in NY in 2008.

Well, I guess Ban had to do it, otherwise the UN system might have been stuck trying to squeak by with only the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the UN Development Program, the regional Development Banks, the UN Development Group, the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Commission for Social Development, the Millennium Development Project (now folded into the UNDP), the five Regional Economic Commissions, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNCTAD, UNEP, UNIFEM, UN-Habitat, the UNFPA, the UNCDF, OCHA, or pick your own… my favorite, on the basis of verbiage alone, is (hang on for the ride): the High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence in Areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance and Environment.

But now, we can relax. Following in the footsteps of such mentors as Kofi Annan and Maurice Strong, Ban has launched the all-new Development Cooperation Forum, the DCF, which his office says will be “vital to advancing development.”

Aha! So this is what’s been missing, lo these many years!

And what will the DCF do? Will it exert real oversight? Clean up graft? Insist on transparency? Scrap redundant, opaque, wasteful, damaging and fraudulent programs? Nope. The UN says the DCF (ok, have you got your wading boots on?) “is expected to exert a positive influence on the international development cooperation system by bringing together all the relevant actors to engage in a dialogue on key policy issues affecting the quality and impact of development cooperation,” etc. etc.

What does that mean? Here it is in plain English:

The UN wants money, more money, lots and lots of money, and with that money the UN will form more forums to ask for more money, much more money. Money, money, money. YOUR money. They call this sustainable development.