Having explored the need for a GCGA, its conceptualisation, and the role that GPI principles might play in advancing it, the core of the meeting discussion focused on the political landscape and pathways for GPI adoption.
- Deal-making framework: The GPI principles were considered useful as a deal-making framework whereby the principles can support the terms of engagement for cooperation around international priorities. The equity and co-responsibility embedded in the GPI principles can facilitate increased trust, which is critical to international negotiations. The COP climate negotiations and Brazil’s proposal for concentric differentiation were given as an example of where an equitable framework of co-responsibility helped bring diverse stakeholder interests into a common agreement. Building on this, the GPI principles were seen to offer an adaptable set of principles to embed equity and co-responsibility as a norm for deal-making around different common good issues.
- A framework of principles: Participants explored whether ‘GPI’ was most viable and valuable as a singular fund for common goods, a set of new issue-specific funds, or principles to guide new and existing funds. A consensus emerged that GPI should be seen as a set of principles that can provide a normative framework to inform the governance of different common goods mechanisms. Such a normative framework for equity and co-responsibility was seen as a critical deficit in existing multilateral architecture, which is inhibiting a GCGA. Countries and multilateral mechanisms can then sign up to or endorse this framework, using it to sense-check the equity, co-responsibility, and ultimately effectiveness of governance models for common goods such as mitigation, biodiversity and pandemic security. This flexible framework approach was seen as a more viable political pathway than brokering a single fixed global policy agreement, which would be fraught with challenges of national sovereignty. However, many frameworks in development cooperation are not properly implemented — thus, developing strong incentives and accountability mechanisms is vital.
- A new narrative: One of the most significant barriers to progress on a GCGA was considered to be the prevailing political narrative and mindset. For example, in the UK, where even the more progressive opposition Labour Party is not committed to increasing ODA back to 0.7% gross domestic product because of national politics, which is also seen in other traditional donor countries. GPI principles were seen to offer a way to foster a new political narrative of equity and co-responsibility for global common goods, beyond the remit of ODA’s poverty focus. Emphasising and framing global common good spending as ‘risk management’ could further strengthen this narrative because this is a key lens through which finance and foreign affairs ministries view and measure spending. Within this, there needs to be a clear investment theory of social impact. Underlining all of this, the GPI narrative must be firmly rooted in the needs and voices of the global South.
“For GPI to be relevant and have ownership and impact, it needs strong Southern support.”
- How to structure contributions:
- Concentric differentiation: the model of concentric differentiation was first proposed by Brazil at the Peru COP20 climate summit. It divides economies into three income groups within which national targets are developed based on the specific characteristics of national economies. Concentric differentiation is foundational to nationally-determined contributions and implementing the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities within the Paris Climate Agreement. Concentric differentiation provides a framework by which contributions within a GPI approach could be contextualised to national needs and capabilities, providing a way to define and measure responsibility and capacity to contribute to elements of a GCGA. As with the Paris Agreement, the targets established through a concentric differentiation framework can be evaluated and updated periodically as country capacities and the GCGA evolve. Prior work on contributions to a GPI model for the Pandemic Fund similarly developed fair-share assessed contributions, using country income bands to stratify countries based on their ability to contribute.
- Category 2 for global goods: A Norwegian expert group was set up to assess Norway’s development finance and aid policies. The group’s recommendations were put forward in the report Investing in a Common Future and presented by one of the Commissioners at the meeting. Central to the report is the view that Norway’s ODA budget is insufficient to respond to Norway’s poverty reduction targets as well as global challenges (e.g., climate change mitigation), which are increasingly absorbing ODA funds. The report, therefore, proposes that Norway’s ‘investment in sustainable development’ should evolve into two categories: Category 1 — maintain the 0.7% gross national income (GNI) commitment to poverty reduction focused ODA; Category 2 — an additional 0.7% GNI for investment in global public goods such as climate and ecosystems, infectious disease prevention, peace and stability, research and innovation, and normative work. The report proposes a commitment to mobilising a further 0.7% GNI from private sector investment in developing countries. The report recommends that these funds be seen as ‘investments’ to maximise socio-environmental outcomes, rather than ‘aid’ or ‘assistance’.
- There was broad agreement among the discussants that this framing of additional finance for global goods was helpful and that GPI principles could assist in strengthening Category 2 by providing a framework for cooperation with other countries investing in global common goods. Given that the Category 2 proposal has yet to be policy, significant work is needed to promote and socialise the proposal both within Norway and internationally to embed this new norm of additional global goods financing.
- Limited fiscal space: it is foundational to the GPI approach that while all countries will contribute, some countries will be net recipients. Still, the limited fiscal space and debt burdens many low-income countries face must be appropriately recognised to ensure there isn’t additional fiscal pressure and that net benefits are achieved. A framework of concentric differentiation helps to structure different country capacities and can identify non-monetary, in-kind contributions to a GCGA produced by national capabilities such as pandemic surveillance and biodiversity management. This cognisance and approach to fiscal space would ensure that a GPI framework is complementary to the Bridgetown Initiative.
- International taxes on transnational corporate activities were also discussed as a potential source of contributions, such as airline and shipping levies. However, tax justice advocates have long advocated for this proposal, and still, it poses questions and challenges of which sovereign entity would collect and disburse the taxes and whether taxes would be levied at the point of source or company residence. Further work is needed to understand the viability of international taxes, which should be aligned with the work on conceptualising the role of the private sector in a GPI arrangement.
- Regional public-private partnerships: a key example of both the regional application of GPI principles and the role for the private sector emerged through discussions of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) model, which is currently being implemented in South Africa. JETP sees funding from multilateral development banks, high-income traditional donors, national development spending, and commercial banks cooperating to support renewable energy infrastructure projects and skills training for decarbonisation as well as energy security. As such, it meets both global needs (climate change mitigation) and local needs (energy security, industrial development and climate stability) through international and multisector collaboration. A JETP for Southeast Asia is being developed, which could be strengthened by the GPI principles to ensure greater participation and co-responsibility in both the contributions and governance for equitable outcomes. Furthermore, a discussion emerged around the potential for applying GPI principles across global value chains to build multisector, inter-regional co-responsibility of social and environmental outcomes.
“The global South can be a strong broker for global financial negotiations.”
- The principle of ‘all decide’ has resonance with African stakeholders. The current global architecture is not fit for purpose, and Africa is seeking a fairer, equitable, inclusive and accountable architecture. African governments want to change the narrative and contribute to solutions rather than be treated as victims. Consultations in Africa are finding that GPI principles are viewed as an opportunity to restructure power dynamics between the Global North and South, giving African countries a stronger voice in decision-making fora, to determine their own needs and adequate solutions. However, there is deep distrust due to colonial history, leading to concerns about the legitimacy of new agendas. This speaks further to the need for the GPI proposal to be developed and owned by Southern countries to build it as a legitimate solution to Southern needs.
- Incentives: A GPI approach requires power sharing to leverage collective power. To unlock this collective power and respect sovereign interests, the beneficial outcomes of collective investment in a GCGA must be more evident to ministries managing limited budgets. This speaks to the core of the discussion around identifying which elements of a common good are global and national and what the beneficial outcomes are from a national perspective. Work is therefore needed to cocreate issue-specific test cases with decision-makers to identify common incentives.
- Civil society participation in a GPI governance structure will help ensure that decisions reflect the needs of communities and support accountability. The civil society seats on the Boards of the Global Fund and the Pandemic Fund are examples where this has been achieved, particularly in the case of the Global Fund, which has been a driver of accountability and effectiveness for equitable outcomes. GPI adoption also requires concerted public campaigns, so there is also an essential role for civil society to play in building the demand for GPI principles.
- Accountability mechanisms: power in a GPI governance structure is highly distributed, which poses different accountability challenges compared to a model with a more central axis of power. Therefore, work is needed to develop accountability mechanisms and indicators for a GPI governance model. The Global Fund is one example where lessons can be drawn, as well as foundational elements of federal republic models, which are a type of collective governance and accountability structures.
“We need better metrics to measure the quality of public-private partnerships… For a biologist, that would be perfectly normal…”