A New Division of Labor for Development in the 21st Century

Declaring that ‘the United States is changing the way we do business’, President Barack Obama announced a ‘new US Global Development Policy – the first of its kind’, to the Millennium Development Goals Summit at UN Headquarters in New York.The US President identified four broad pillars to this new strategy, designed to sustain and exceed the MDGs by unleashing ‘transformational change’. The first two pillars called for a shifting of what he identified as the definition of development, away from aid alone and towards providing a path out of poverty rather than a means of managing it.The third pillar identified ‘broad-based economic growth’ as key to achieving this. Alongside encouraging entrepreneurship and investment in human capital, Obama argued that such growth required ‘governments accountable to their people’, citing the Cardin-Lugar Amendment as a means to this end.‘We are leading a global effort to combat corruption, which in many places is the single greatest barrier to prosperity, and which is a profound violation of human rights. That’s why we now require oil, gas and mining companies that raise capital in the United States to disclose all payments they make to foreign governments. And it’s why I urged the G20 to put corruption on its agenda and make it harder for corrupt officials to steal from their own people and stifle their nation’s development’.The fourth pillar stressed ‘mutual accountability’, calling for ‘more responsibility – from ourselves and from others’. Hailing ‘developing nations [that] have transformed into leaders in the global economy’, the US president called for an end to dependency, asserting that ‘the days when your development was dictated by foreign capitals must come to an end’.Obama also saw a growing, more cooperative role for NGOs, foundations and the private sector which ‘are making historic commitments that have redefined what’s possible’.‘This gives us the opportunity to forge a new division of labor for development in the 21st century. It’s a division of labor where, instead of so much duplication and inefficiency, governments and multilaterals and NGOS are all working together…We can collaborate in ways unimaginable just a few years ago’.