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Development Leaders Conference 2021: The Need for a Bold, New Approach to Development Cooperation

In 2021, the ongoing grip of COVID-19 served as a stark reminder of the fragility of our progress in fighting poverty and COP26 highlighted the need for richer countries to provide substantial funding to meet global challenges. As the twin crises of a global pandemic and climate change threaten to leave developing countries far behind, and squeezed aid budgets in many donor countries create their own challenges, development agencies are facing intense pressure.

Last month we had an opportunity to discuss these issues at the Development Leaders Conference (DLC) co-hosted by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). This annual gathering, now in its fourth year, brings together heads of bilateral development agencies and senior management from selected multilateral institutions for a frank peer-to-peer exchange and mutual learning.

While the event is held under Chatham House rules, this blog summarizes some of the key discussion points and illustrates why there was so much agreement on the need for a paradigm shift in development cooperation.