The Problem with TOSSD
A blog by Vitalice Meja – Executive Director Reality of Aid Africa Network
There is a need to strengthen the statistical gathering and transparency to measure not only the official support but also its impact on SSD. This should lead towards the collection of comprehensive, objective and reliable data that is supportive of the SDG agenda. In this regard, the UNFFD office has the mandate to work towards a global framework for ODA Modernization and measurement guidelines. This is well captured in the Addis Ababa Agenda Action (AAAA) of 2015. For ODA modernization and measurement to be truly international, there will have to be an open, structured and transparent dialogue in the modernization of aid Measure as well as total support to SDGs. Such dialogues can either be led by the UNFfD office or the UNDCF who have the full backing of all countries.
Any global measurement or framework arising out of such an initiative of the UN the process should recognize the dynamism that currently exists in the current official development Co-operation including south – South Co-operation, Triangular Co-operation, and above all the contributions of recipient countries towards enabling the SDG agenda including through tax holidays, duty waivers, land clearance, and allotment, right of way, basic resources, and various environmental certificate clearance fees and procedures.
However, there is an an erroneous claim by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD – DAC) that the international community is working to develop a new international statistical standard, Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD), in order to track resources invested to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
OECD DAC claims that Addis Ababa Action Agenda in 2015, called on the OECD to lead the way to develop TOSSD hand-in-hand with the international community at large. This could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that AAAA only committed to holding an open discussion on the modernization of the ODA measurement and TOSSD. As quoted below
“We will hold open, inclusive and transparent discussions on the modernization of the ODA measurement and on the proposed measure of “total official support for sustainable development” and we affirm that any such measure will not dilute commitments already made.”
OECD DAC has since interpreted this has a green light to get everyone on board on this agenda. We have seen attempts at technical consultations with a few southern governments’ think tanks, developing countries, and CSOs without clear feedback channels to both the political leadership of country groupings concerned and the UNFFD and UNDCF structures. In essence, there has been no political open discussion of this very important issue and yet OECD is almost concluding its process. Even in cases where attempts have been made the response has been quite baffling…. that “TOSSD is a DAC initiative seeking to develop a donor statistical framework for monitoring and connecting up its resources supporting the SDGs”.
Such an attitude has left some of us to conclude that Indeed TOSSD remains an OECD framework and process and should not qualify to be the structured discussions envisioned in the AAAA. It processes and content is not comprehensive enough to cover the modernization of ODA measurement. Indeed, DAC efforts on TOSSD should be seen as preparatory steps by one group of partners for more structured dialogue on ODA modernization with the rest of the world. It should not be seen as” affait compli”. Other stakeholders too must get their act together on this agenda. They cannot only wait to be consulted and bandied around on this important debate. They must come through with their own framework and proposal on ODA modernization, measurement.
TOSSD can contribute to dialogue on how to modernize the measurement of aid, but it cannot be taken as the international instrument as it is premised on OECD needs and interest and not the aspirations envisioned in Para 55 of the AAAA. It can facilitate greater transparency about the full array of officially-supported DAC based bilateral support, but cannot be imposed on other actors.
Upon completion, the OECD should be prepared to have an open and structured discussion on ODA modernization beyond the current framework of TOSSD. Any open discussion should be seen in the spirit of AAAA. The UN Financing for Development Office would need to play its rightful role of convening a multistakeholder dialogue of this issue as it was a commitment taken under its forum. It must play a strong leadership role and facilitate dialogues between different stakeholders to achieve some form of guidelines that groups of countries can use to guide their own frameworks