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Penny Davies attends Nairobi meeting

Today, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, Isabella Lövin, will be one of those opening a summit that will set a new global agenda for effective development assistance and development cooperation. But despite the great significance of the Nairobi meeting, Lövin is one of a pitiful three ministers from EU governments taking part in it. This gives cause for major concern, according to Diakonia’s Penny Davies, who is following the negotiations from Nairobi.


Representatives of donor and recipient countries, the business community and civil society from around the globe are now in the Kenyan capital Nairobi for a High-Level Meeting on Effective Development Co-operation. In many ways, the meeting is crucial to achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030. But despite the fact that the fate of major issues is being determined, international interest in the process is surprisingly low, and there is a sizeable risk that an increasing number of countries will not keep their earlier promises.

Ruled by own agendas

Diakonia’s Penny Davies is in Nairobi to keep an eye on the decision makers, and she is far from pleased with how the various countries are represented at the meeting.

“The fact that there are only three EU ministers including Isabella Lövin taking part says something about the lack of political appetite for upholding the agenda on effective development cooperation. This is worrying at a time when development assistance and development cooperation continue to be important. The EU countries are preoccupied with their own agendas, where they are focusing on refugee reception and national security interests, resulting in development assistance being eroded and having conditions attached to it,” says Penny Davies, Policy Advisor for development finance at Diakonia.

Weak document

The official document to be adopted during the meeting, the Nairobi Outcome Document, has been the subject of negotiations over the past few days, right up until the deadline. Penny Davies is following the negotiations and takes a positive view of the fact that the document now includes a clause that Diakonia has been fighting for: that civil society organizations shall be respected as independent actors in their own right. However, she can also see several points that are not what she had hoped for.

“The document lacks clear undertakings that the parties need to implement, which risks resulting in no concrete measures being taken in practice. Regression is also apparent in areas that donor countries have previously agreed on – we do want to see new undertakings but wish to focus a great deal on defending earlier principles for effective development cooperation,” she says.