UN ESCAP: ‘Dili Consensus’ calls for voices of fragile and conflict-affected states to be heard in reshaping global development agenda

Group Photo at International Development for All Conference in Dili, Timor-Leste
Group Photo at International Development for All Conference in Dili, Timor-Leste

“Business as usual is not a viable option. We must build a framework for the next era of global development that is legitimate and relevant, truly reflecting the development challenges aspirations and challenges of people everywhere. Asia’s development experience has shown us that we can turn potential tragedy into inspirational progress.”

This commitment in the Dili Consensus adopted by 400 delegates at the International Development for All Conference in Dili, Timor-Leste, from 26-28 February 2013, reflected their determination to ensure that the voices of the world’s most fragile and conflict-affected countries are influential in reshaping the global development agenda which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015.

Hosted by the Government of Timor-Leste, with the support of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the conference brought together heads of state, senior ministers, senior government officials and civil society leaders from 47 countries. The Dili Consensus will feed into the UN High-level Panel report to the United Nations Secretary-General on the global development agenda beyond 2015. Timor-Leste currently chairs the g7+ group of 18 fragile and conflict-affected countries.

In his closing address to the conference, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Timor-Leste, H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, described the Dili Consensus as “an historic document that sets out our priorities, and our hopes, for the post-2015 development agenda.”

“For the first time, we fragile states have come together to be part of the process of setting the global development framework in an equitable, sustainable and fair way,” said Prime Minister Gusmao. “Never before have our voices been so strong.”

Reinforcing the Dili Consensus commitment to country ownership and leadership of development processes, Prime Minister Gusmao stated, “we can be the agents of our own change” and “can take a path away from conflict and poverty to peace and prosperity. We must make sure that there is not only development for all, but development by all.”

Speaking to the press conference following the three day consultation, Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, emphasised that “the strong and clear outcomes set out in the Dili Consensus will help drive a new agenda for change. They are a powerful contribution, harnessing the best of human possibility, to putting people, planet and prosperity at the centre of the global development agenda in areas that are critical to the future of world’s conflict-affected and fragile states.”

“These areas range from the need for inclusive economic growth that is pro-jobs, pro-poor and pro-sustainability, to peace and justice, addressing gender inequality, combating climate change and ensuring fair and sustainable returns from our natural resources, including our oceans, to finance the implementation of national development plans,” said Dr. Heyzer.

Noting that many of the challenges facing conflict-affected and fragile states go beyond the scope of national policy-making alone, Dr. Heyzer highlighted the need to “harness our regions and the international community to jointly address these issues and priorities.”

“We need global, regional, country and community-level strategies to implement the commitments we have made in the Dili Consensus, if we wish to make a real and enduring difference to the lives of people everywhere,” concluded Dr. Heyzer.