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The future of aid series: towards global public investment? (WP1766)

The future of aid series: towards global public investment? (WP1766)
Wednesday 15 July, 2020
Event no.

Event reports

1. WP1766V1-Future-of-Aid-dialogue-one-report
2. WP1766V2-Future-of-Aid-dialogue-two-report
3. WP1766V3-Future-of-Aid-dialogue-three-report
4. WP1766-Futre-of-Aid-Series-summary-report-V1-V3

Wilton Park’s Future of Aid series will focus on the changing nature of public concessional finance in the context of the COVID-19  pandemic. It will comprise a series of virtual dialogues to address different aspects, aiming to bring the thinking together with an in-person meeting when circumstances allow.

The first of the series of virtual dialogues was convened on Thursday 17 March 2020: the report from this dialogue can be accessed here.

A second virtual dialogue will be hosted on Thursday 30 April 2020 and will examine how financing for the COVID-19 pandemic could inform discussions on the future of aid. A draft programme can be accessed here.

In a changed and still rapidly changing global landscape, there is much debate on the future of concessional international public finance for development. From the threat of climate chaos to the opportunities of the SDG agenda, what are the appropriate objectives for global public funding to support human progress and global public goods? Looking ahead, how might the need for aid and aid-like finance change over the next 50 years? What needs to evolve? What do the various actors need to contribute?

This series of Wilton Park dialogues explores new approaches to global development cooperation over the coming decades. A diverse group with different insights from south and north will be brought together for thought-leadership discussions on the future of concessional financial development cooperation.

The context of international development is changing significantly including:

  • The threat posed to the global climate and environment;
  • The ambitious opportunities outlined in the SDGs to 2030, and beyond;
  • Shared challenges from digital transformation to migration affecting countries at all levels of development;
  • The blurring of the lines between national policies and the international arena;
  • Power shifting between traditional bases of influence to new sources (south/north, east/west);
  • Changing global politics with the implications for multilateralism and evidence-based policy.

In this context what is happening in the world of aid and aid-like flows (which could be designated ‘aid+’)?

The traditional understanding of “aid” no longer inspires confidence in a range of stakeholders, and existential questions about its use in the 21st Century.

Huge questions remain, for example:

  • How far has the SDG agenda broadened development cooperation objectives beyond a focus on poverty (which was at the heart of the MDG era)
  • How should concessional international public finance be best used in the coming decades to respond to the world’s most pressing challenges?
  • How can ‘aid+’ better act as a catalyst? How can it complement other forms of finance? What can be learnt from successful models of ‘aid+’ already underway? What is the role of ‘aid+’ in middle income countries?
  • What will be the role of different actors in the international development sector in future? What new partnerships are evolving or will be necessary?
  • With a future framework starting to evolve what detailed policy next steps are needed? What are the technical and political barriers to change? How might they be overcome? What broader box of tools might be needed, including non-financial, for example knowledge exchange?

In this series of thought-leadership dialogues we will ask (and try to answer) hard questions and encourage participants to think long term and suggest concrete proposals for the future of financial assistance for international development. We will also be building on existing approaches, such as the Global Public Investment & Development in Transition.


Robin Hart: Programme Director

Biography and other events

Robin Hart: Programme manager


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