OECD DevTalks on "Rethinking international co-operation: Putting vulnerability measures at the heart of sustainable development"

June 27, 2019, Paris

Patrick Guillaumont and Laurent Wagner (FERDI) were invited to discuss the need to measure and to take into account vulnerabilities in the allocation formulas for sustainable development.

Within the OECD Development Centre "DEV TALKS" Series, Mario Pezzini, Director of the Development Centre and Special Advisor to the OECD Secretary-General on Development, invited Patrick Guillaumont, President of the FERDI and Laurent Wagner, Research Officer at the FERDI to a discussion on:

Rethinking international co-operation: Putting vulnerability measures at the heart of sustainable development

Major actors in the international development system, notably the multilateral development banks, face two challenges that may seem contradictory. On the one hand, they remain committed to the principle of performance-based allocation (PBA). On the other, they must respond to the problems created by the vulnerabilities and fragility of countries, which often results in poor performance. To reconcile these two challenges, multilateral development banks have sought to address fragility issues through specific instruments without questioning the PBA, which has been the subject of multiple exceptions and of dilutions in a complex system.

Patrick Guillaumont and Laurent Wagner presented a simpler, transparent and coherent approach to inform and better target international co-operation. They highlighted the importance of developing and using quantitative indicators for the different forms of vulnerability (economic, climatic, socio-political) and the implications of such an approach for international co-operation.

In this talk, Patrick Guillaumont and Laurent Wagner discussed the need for development finance institutions to take into account in their resources allocation formulas not only the performance, but also the various structural vulnerabilities that countries have to face. They outlined some measures that can be fully integrated into a performance-based allocation system by transforming it into a performance and vulnerability-based allocation.

These insights are highly relevant for on-going discussions on Development in Transition, particularly on the need to rethink indicators to better measure development so that international co-operation can help better  addressing the persistent vulnerabilities and the multifaceted and interrelated challenges and traps that countries at different levels of development face.