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multilateral cooperation

International Organizations
Multilateral cooperation is a cornerstone of Danish development policy. It is essential for the identification of global solutions to challenges such as climate change, persistent poverty and international terrorism. Multilateral organizations also have significant roles to play in promoting economic and social development, human rights, and peace and security, not least in fragile states. That is why, Denmark is actively engaged in and a strong partner of the multilateral system, including the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and other multilateral organizations based in the United States such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility and the Organization of American States.

It is a priority for Denmark to strengthen the engagement with the multilateral organizations and over time channel more development funds through the multilateral system. In order to implement the Strategy for Danish Development Assistance “The Right to a Better Life” a policy of New Multilateralism is being pursued. The objective is two-fold: To strengthen the multilateral system and its ability to effectively address complex global challenges, and to promote specific Danish priorities. Danish development policy aims to fight poverty and to promote human rights, which are seen as fundamental enablers of development and progress. Therefore, Denmark employs a human rights based approach to development, which also serves as the reference point for engaging with the multilateral organizations.

As the target date for the MDGs in 2015 approaches, the international community has initiated discussions on what should follow. The MDGs have generated remarkable results in terms of political focus and prioritization of investments in both developing countries and among donors. For this reason, there is a strong international wish to draw up a new global framework that builds on and further develops the momentum of the MDGs. At the same time, work to draw up a set of Sustainable Development Goals is being carried out. Ultimately, these goals should be integrated into one common framework Post-2015.

Challenges for Denmark working with the multilateral system
Due to Denmark’s commitment to the multilateral system, it is important to address global challenges and the significant Danish financing of the system. Denmark has a particular interest in well-functioning, effective and transparent institutions. In this regard, the multilateral system faces a number of challenges.

First, the system is too fragmented and the reform process is not always advancing fast enough. Although multilateral organizations have in general become better at defining their priorities and their comparable advantages, challenges still remain at the country level, including competition between agencies, increasing overhead costs, and an, at best, uneven interest in working together. Secondly, financing of multilateral institutions is increasingly earmarked, which i.a. can undermine the influence of the boards of these organizations and their influence in the organizations. Thirdly, the multilateral organizations must become better at forming new partnerships that involve all relevant actors, including academia, civil society, private sector and philanthropic organizations.

How we work with multilateral organizations
As an active player with a long history of close cooperation with and engagement in the multilateral system, Denmark has at its disposal a number of instruments for seeking influence both on the system at large and on individual organizations, ranging from active participation in governance structures over bilateral dialogue to funding modalities. Through New Multilateralism, Denmark will strengthen its efforts to identify and apply the most appropriate and useful mix of instruments for each organization and thus eschew a “one size fits all” approach to multilateral cooperation.


Ms. Anna Cecilie Friis Bach 
Advisor, Development
Tel: (202) 797-5337