Concluding Forum, Economic and Social Council Adopts Text Affirming Commitment to Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development
Group Urges ‘Change of Mindset’ to Make Future Outcomes More Substantive
Affirming its strong commitment to the full and timely implementation of the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, the Economic and Social Council’s financing for development follow-up forum closed its inaugural session today with the consensus adoption of a brief set of intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations.
By that text, the forum recognized that the Addis Agenda provided a global framework for financing sustainable development and was an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and that it helped to contextualize the 2030 Agenda’s means of implementation targets with concrete policies and actions.
Further by the text, the forum welcomed the proposed three-pronged approach of the 2016 Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development report, and looked forward to future reports which contained a discussion of the global context and its implications for the follow-up process, as well as an overview of each chapter of the Addis Agenda.
Speaking after the document’s adoption, the representative of Thailand, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, expressed disappointment that the important mandates of assessing progress, identifying obstacles, addressing new and emerging topics and providing policy recommendations were not reflected in the outcome document.
He said that the Group had hoped for a substantive outcome that reflected elements from all action areas of the Addis Agenda in a balanced manner. The document adopted, however, failed to deliver on such an aspiration. Calling for a “change of mindset”, he stressed that the document adopted this year must not set a precedent for future sessions of the forum.
The representative of the European Union noted that the agreed conclusions were much less ambitious than his delegation would have liked. However, he welcomed the report of the Inter-agency Task Force, which, despite its brevity, was a testimony to what had been agreed in Addis Ababa.
“What is most important in financing for development is our shared commitment to working together,” said Oh Joon (Republic of Korea), President of the Economic and Social Council, in closing remarks. Indeed, that spirit of collaboration and the willingness of States to seek “win-win solutions” were more important than putting words into an outcome document. Without genuine collaboration, neither developed nor developing countries would be able to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
Delegations, civil society and business sector representatives had demonstrated their commitment to the timely and effective implementation of the Addis Agenda, he said, adding that the forum had been the first time the financing for development community had met following the major summits held in 2015. Many constructive ideas had been put forward, including the need to promote policy coherence for sustainable development and concrete and specific measures to further the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Also today, the forum held three round tables on the following themes: debt and systemic issues; trade, science, technology, innovation and capacity-building; and data, monitoring and follow-up.
In other business, the forum approved a draft procedural report on its first session (document E/FFDF/2016/L.1).
Participating in today’s general debate were the representatives of Montenegro, Nicaragua, South Africa, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Sudan, United Kingdom, Qatar, Jamaica, Canada, Switzerland, Guyana, Myanmar, United States, El Salvador, Australia (also on behalf of Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Turkey), Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), China and Cuba.
Also speaking were representatives of the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), civil society and the business sector.
Round Table D
This morning, the forum held two round table discussions. The first was on the theme “debt and systemic issues”. Chaired by Alejandro Palma Cerna (Honduras), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, it was moderated by José Antonio Ocampo, Professor and Director of the Economic and Political Development Concentration at Columbia University. It featured the following panellists: Alister Smith, World Bank Executive Director for Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Stephanie Blankenburg, Head of the Debt and Development Finance Branch in the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); and Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The lead discussants were Lee Buchheit, Partner at the Law Firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton LLP; and Jo Marie Griesgraber, Executive Director of the New Rules for Global Finance Coalition.
Mr. OCAMPO, opening the session, drew attention to the need for cooperation among stakeholders for the elimination of major global imbalances. Given the current trends, the Eurozone was a major source of global surpluses while in the United States there was a rising budget deficit which posed a risk for the global economy. Commending the increasing role played by the IMF, he underscored the need for further cooperation between donors and recipient countries.
Mr. SMITH noted that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda recognized the need to assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability, including through fostering appropriate debt financing, relief and restructuring, as well as supporting sound debt management. Describing debt as a major problem for the Caribbean countries, which had low growth rates, he stressed that debt structuring programmes had been successful in the last decade. For its part, the World Bank had provided research, analytical work and country-specific assistance.
Ms. BLANKENBURG noted that despite the recognition of financial requirements for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, challenges persisted in the area of debt sustainability. Moving forward was not possible without the use of new financial and debt instruments. Debt crisis occurred due to the volatility of international capital flows, and existing frameworks needed to be re-examined. Among other issues, it was crucial to improve and extend databases to capture the complexity of current processes in debt sustainability.
Mr. BUCHHEIT stressed that interest rates over the coming years would likely rise and commodity prices decline. Structurally, the global economic market preferred bonds that paid as single maturity on a given future date. States believed that refinancing was possible when the market matured, yet such ability depended on commodity prices. While more robust collective actions started to be introduced, it would take a decade to solve the fragility of the system.
Mr. ZHU noted that global financial markets had become more complex and interdependent, posing opportunities and significant risks. Global cooperation was vital to promoting policy coherence, tackling corruption and completing financial regulation. For a better global economy, continued dialogue was key, he said, adding that the forum could play an import role. Among other issues, enhancing reliability of global monetary system and making resources more predictable were necessary to overcome challenges. The IMF, for its part, would continue to provide technical assistance and policy advice to States to move forward.
Ms. GRIESGRABER noted that transparency, inclusion, accountability and responsiveness were necessary so that Governments could serve their people. While the Financial Stability Board was becoming more transparent, regional groups lacked that progress, she said, expressing concern about the lack of representation. Regarding illicit financial flows, it was essential to find out how much money was flowing out of developing countries through criminal activities. Describing remittances as the lifeblood of many States, she called upon all to create new mechanisms for their quick and efficient flow across borders.
In the ensuing interactive discussion, speakers raised points related to sovereign debt and debt restructuring, with some calling for changes to existing debt restructuring frameworks.
The representative of the United States said his delegation took seriously the debt considerations of countries around the world, and had been closely involved with processes for debt consolidation. However, it was important to avoid approaches that could discourage the private sector from investing in developing countries.
A representative of the World Bank Group said it was important to consider how countries used the proceeds of debt. The practice of sovereign debt restructuring had not been uniform, and it was time to review the existing framework for restructuring of sovereign debt.
A representative of civil society, noting that gender inequality was a systemic issue, called for relevant structural changes in the global economic governance and development architectures, which should include an explicit human rights-based approach.
A representative of the business sector said creditor engagement was the best way to minimize the issue of disruption associated with debt restructuring. There was a culture clash between “sovereigns” and the institutional investors in the private sector, who aimed to achieve a debt restructuring that was sustainable.
Another representative of civil society said the recurrence of debt crisis would jeopardize the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Responsible lending and borrowing were needed, he said, calling for the monitoring of compliance with the principles of UNCTAD. Furthermore, it was important to share good practices on “vulture fund” legislation.
Mr. SMITH, responding to those comments, agreed on the useful role of current programmes for debt restructuring. Proper incentives for private sector lending had to be maintained and borrowing needed to be responsible.
Ms. BLANKENBURG said the issue was not one of discouraging private lenders, but of placing greater emphasis on internationally coordinated ways of channelling that private financing. Echoing the need for creditor engagement, she said it was important to ensure that private contributions were productive.
Mr. BUCHHEIT said “we should not be too self-critical” with regard to debt issues. The current system of restructuring was not particularly orderly, but it had nonetheless worked for many countries in recent years. The framework should not be scrapped wholesale but improved.
Mr. ZHU said the development financing framework had changed dramatically since the recent global economic and financial crisis. Among recent changes, the IMF was had expanded debt limits for developing countries, including covering both concessional and non-concessional loans.
Ms. GRIESGRABER agreed that gender equality was a fundamental issue for economic growth. Action on “too big to fail” and shadow banking was slow, due in part because large banks were very powerful.
Also participating was the representative of France, as well as additional business sector and civil society representatives.
Mr. OCAMPO said incentives to lend and debt workout procedures were not incompatible.
Round Table E
The forum then held a round table discussion on trade, science, technology, innovation and capacity-building. Chaired by Paul Oquist Kelley, Minister and Private Secretary for National Policies of Nicaragua, it was moderated by Alfredo Suescum (Panama), President of the Trade and Development Board of UNCTAD. It featured the following panellists: Puvan Selvanathan, Head of the International Trade Centre (ITC); Hans-Peter Werner, Counsellor and Head of the Committee on Trade and Development Unit at the World Trade Organization (WTO); and Andrew Hirsch, Director General of the International Intellectual Property Institute. The lead discussants were Deborah James, Director of the International Programmes, Center for Economic and Policy Research, and Ambuj Sagar, Professor of Policy Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology.
Mr. SUESCUM, opening the session, said that the Addis Agenda highlighted the role trade could play in the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Continuously changing dynamics required different approaches, policy regulations and negotiating tools.
Mr. SELVANATHAN, sharing some of the activities carried out by ITC, noted that the Centre was dedicated to supporting the internationalisation of small and medium-sized enterprises. It focused on expanding trade opportunities with the aim of fostering sustainable development. Drawing attention to the role played by enterprises in the 2030 Agenda, he noted that they developed strategies and plans for exports. It was important to recognize their role, which ranged from consulting to patenting and design to manufacturing.
Mr. WERNER discussed the multilateral trade system, focusing on the high-level meeting in Bali. Policymakers needed to ensure that trade influenced sustainability in a positive way, he said, adding that it required policy coherence at the national, regional and international level. However, it was unfortunate that actors usually did not share same vision and understanding. In Addis Ababa, Governments had agreed to support the least developed countries and reduce tariffs. Yet, it was a big challenge given the global economic slowdown. It was essential to take advantage of the trade system and export products, he stressed, noting that necessary measures were being taken to give such countries free access to the market.
Ms. JAMES noted that trade could play a key role in the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, yet it was difficult with the current model agreements. As a representative of a civil society organization, she encouraged the least developed countries not to sign such agreements. On the marginalization in world trade, she noted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership locked in a global value chain for big players. A new generation of trade agreements had been negotiated behind closed doors, with almost no input from development advocates, environmental groups and civil society organizations. Further, the current bilateral investment treaties had a negative impact on developing countries.
Mr. HIRSCH said that the International Intellectual Property Institute was an organization that provided education and guidance about intellectual property rights to leaders and innovators in developing countries. On the Addis Agenda, he said that it dealt with the least developed countries, suggesting capacity-building to overcome existing challenges. In developed countries, the system was based on connectivity, inclusion and integration. A strong ecosystem required a strong foundation, as well as a holistic, integrated, multi-stakeholder Government solution. Capacity was developed over time, and development was a continuum with no finish line.
Mr. SAGAR said that the deployment of technology was critical to overcome existing challenges and accelerate the process to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Enabling innovation required prioritization and identification of technology pathways, as well as managing and coordinating actors across various stages of the technology cycle. It was unfortunate that several countries did not have the human and institutional capability in place to support innovation. Ensuring availability of technologies and finance of Governments and international programmes as well as knowledge support at various stages of the technology cycle would accelerate innovation.
During the ensuing interactive discussion, speakers took the floor to address issues related to trade and technology and their potential to contribute to development financing.
The representative of Indonesia agreed that trade had been an engine of growth; however, trade growth rates had recently been low. Stressing the need to improve such growth, he called for a global monitoring system against protectionism.
A representative of the business sector recalled that, over recent decades, there had been great technological progress in developing countries and many people had moved from poverty into the middle class. Nevertheless, progress had been uneven, and more equitable access to technology was now needed. Partnerships were critical in that regard, and Governments should develop policies to allow business to innovate and take on risk.
A representative of civil society said science, innovation and technology was not the monopoly of the formal sector. The adoption of technological solutions to achieving the 2030 Agenda should promote traditional indigenous knowledge and recognize the challenges of inequity and marginalization. Publicly-funded technologies should remain in the public domain and long-term public financing should promote technology education with an aim to eradicate poverty.
The representative of the Netherlands said his country was a member of the WTO and believed that trade could make a strong contribution to development. At the national level, he described an “integrated package” made up of a wide range of instruments focusing on trade promotion and development.
Another representative of civil society said the forum should assess the way capacity-building was provided to developing countries, particularly in Africa, where many States found themselves at the lowest stage of the global market value chain. Among other things, there needed to be a rethink of the way the current multilateral trade system affected development, the undertaking of human rights impacts assessments for all trade agreements and the provision of adequate national policy space to implement development policies.
Mr. KELLEY said Nicaragua’s exports had more than doubled as a result of its participation in regional and other trade agreements. Its foreign direct investment (FDI) had increased dramatically, its production sector had moved up the value chain and it was now planning the construction of an interoceanic canal. The country had used its growth, along with social programmes, to reduce poverty. Meanwhile, major challenges such as climate change threatened all countries.
Mr. SELVANATHAN said that while the link between trade and technology was a major opportunity, innovation remained a challenge for States. Technology allowed for “leapfrogging” in the area of inclusivity.
Mr. WERNER said the means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda existed, and Governments now needed more cohesion in development cooperation. On countering protectionism, he said the WTO tracked measures taken by Governments to thwart imports.
Ms. JAMES agreed that it was important to consider how the rules of trade could impact development. Among other things, she encouraged developed countries to respond to trade proposals made by developing countries themselves.
Mr. HIRSCH said either billions would remain in poverty or there could be billions of innovators creating “win-win” growth between the South and the South and the North and the South. The least developed countries offered the last great market opportunity in the world.
Mr. SAGAR said most developing countries lacked the resources to invest in the development of technology. The multilateral system could help to fill that gap, and innovative finance could help bring about market commitments for technologies in developing countries.
Other representatives of the business sector and civil society also participated.
Round Table F
This afternoon, the forum held a round table on the theme, “data, monitoring and follow-up”. Chaired by André Vallini, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie of France, it was moderated by Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Its panellists included Robert York, Division Chief for the Financial Institution, Statistics Department of the International Monetary Fund, and John James Pullinger, National Statistician for the United Kingdom. The lead discussant was Stefano Prato, Managing Director of the Society for International Development.
Mr. VALLINI said the measure of progress achieved towards the Sustainable Development Goals was critical. “We need the best possible tools,” he said, adding that France was committed to engaging in negotiations on accountability for the 2030 Agenda. There were three major challenges facing the collection and analysis of data in that context: the introduction of new qualitative areas that required data disaggregation, the development of new technologies and the entrance of new stakeholders such as enterprises and civil society. Data should be used to enhance the quality of and access to essential social services.
Mr. MONTIEL said the successful implementation of the Addis and 2030 Agenda required high quality disaggregated information. Data, monitoring and follow-up were critical parts of both agendas. The round table would consider how the international community would monitor the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It would focus on a number of key questions, including how balance could be achieved between monitoring existing data and developing new capacities; what accountability mechanisms could be developed to strengthen implementation of the Addis Agenda; how financing for development follow-up could be more synergistic with the 2030 Agenda; and what progress could be made to ensure the availability of data.
Mr. YORK said the IMF was providing support in the area of statistics through its Enhanced General Data Dissemination System, among other platforms. Its Data Standards Initiative, which had worked since the 1990s to motivate scrutiny of data, was regularly evaluated and updated. Resources for the development of statistics — financial, technical and human — must be adequate, as developing current data sets and proposing new ones put a heavy burden on statistical offices. While the international community must play its role, it was up to Governments to identify statistical priorities. Political commitment to push forward statistics for development must be maintained.
Mr. PULLINGER, speaking via videoconference, said that, as Chair of the United Nations Statistical Commission, he had been engaged in the adoption of the 231 indicators for sustainable development. Underscoring the need to invest in national statistical systems and improve analytical capacity within Governments, he called for greater investments in official data. In addition, partnerships with civil society and the private sector were important to filling critical data gaps. A real opportunity lay in improving data literacy among citizens themselves, and skills development and the ability to transfer knowledge should be enhanced to build “truly sustainable capabilities” in all countries.
Mr. PRATO said the risk of “death by data” was increasing. The forum’s work had highlighted the reality that more thinking was required on how to organize the financing for development follow-up process. The process had several important expectations, including providing a space to advance the removal of structural obstacles to the 2030 Agenda and bridging the gap between the aspirations of the new sustainable development agenda and its current resource base. Citing several challenges, including concerning trends in official development assistance (ODA) and signs of an emerging debt crisis, he underscored the need for contextualization of the current global climate. Civil society had put forward a proposal to use the forum’s two unused days in the fall to hold a “real planning conversation” between stakeholders on financing for development.
During the ensuing interactive discussion, speakers provided varying perspectives on the issues of data, monitoring and follow-up, including the role of the private sector, international cooperation to generate funding for better data, and the partnership for open Government.
A representative of the business sector was working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to develop a mechanism to document funding and investments as it might relate to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The representative of Canada stressed that disaggregated data was not an additional burden, yet referred to information that had been broken into component parts or smaller units of data.
A representative of civil society, underscoring the need for transparency, said that timely and forward-looking data must be available to all for policy planning.
A representative of the business sector focused on data monitoring, whose effectiveness depended on high quality data and its governance. Data revolution required commitment and a multi-stakeholder approach for the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. YORK said that without publishing and disseminating data, the international community did not know where they stood. Political commitment was about creating a robust legal framework on data gathering and sharing.
Mr. PULLINGER said that it was too early to review the results. At the global level, there were fundamental statistics endorsed by the General Assembly. The IMF and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had standard rules and procedures. However, it was not the same for all countries.
Mr. PRATO described the difference between data, information and knowledge. For the follow-up of the Addis Agenda, data needed to be transformed into knowledge for policy creation.
VLADIMIR DROBNJAK (Croatia), co-facilitator of the draft agreed conclusions and recommendations, presented that document, saying they were result of many days of very hard work. Its four paragraphs reflected consensus, but the debate had been much broader, he said, thanking all Member States that had participated.
The document was then adopted without a vote.
Speaking after adoption, the representative of Thailand spoke on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, and expressed disappointment that the important mandates of assessing progress, identifying obstacles, addressing new and emerging topics and providing policy recommendations were not reflected in the outcome document adopted today. The Group had hoped for a substantive document that reflected elements from all action areas of the Addis Agenda in a balanced manner. The outcome document adopted, however, failed to deliver on such an aspiration. The Group had constructively participated in the drafting process with good will and utmost flexibility, he said, despite the fact that its proposals to include substantive elements were rejected outright in that process. Calling for a “change of mind set”, he stressed that the document adopted this year must not set a precedent for future sessions of the forum.
The representative of France said that in Addis Ababa, Member States had promised to improve global partnership in financing for development. For its part, France had developed various strategies on the issue and provided its development agency with additional funds. Among others issues, he stressed the need to fight against the illicit financial flows as they posed a great challenge to the global financial system.
Also speaking, the representative of the European Union noted that the agreed conclusions were much less ambitious than his delegation would have liked. However, he welcomed the report of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development, which, despite its brevity, was a testimony to what had been agreed in Addis Ababa. He noted that the outcome document was the result of the tireless work of all Member States, and a testimony of consensus.
IGOR LUKŠIĆ, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, emphasized the importance of working together for sustainable development in all its three dimensions, with countries delivering on the financial and policy commitments made at Addis Ababa. Full implementation would require additional financial resources, in particular non-public ones, harnessing the potential of multi-stakeholder partnerships. The private sector could become an active player in driving sustainable development, and lessons learned should be shared between States.
PAUL OQUIST KELLEY, Minister and Private Secretary for National Policies of Nicaragua, associating himself with the Group of 77, recalled how his country had warned in 2015 of the dangers of “apocalyptic poverty”. Inequality, instability and climate change posed challenges to the ability to finance development. Recalling the most recent statement of his President before the General Assembly, he said that compensation for countries impacted by climate change was a way to ensure financial transfers in a scientific and accountable way.
NGOAKO RAMATLHODI, Minister for Public Service and Administration of South Africa, said that the fundamental goal was to end poverty and hunger and achieve sustainable development in all of its three dimensions. While reiterating support for the Monterrey Consensus, Doha Declaration and Addis Ababa Action Agenda, he expressed concern over the impacts of financial crises on development, which had increased ﬁnancial market volatility. Measures must be taken in a balanced and integrated manner, he said, calling upon the international community to respect countries’ policies and leaders. At the same time, national development efforts must be supported by international organizations and monetary financial systems for the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
TERESA RIBEIRO, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, expressed strong commitment to the implementation the Addis Ababa and 2030 Agenda action plans. The Ministries for Foreign Affairs and for Planning and Infrastructure would assume overall coordination of implementing the 2030 Agenda and financing for development process. Portuguese civil society was leading a consultation that would result in adoption of a cross-sectoral national action plan to support implementation. The Global Compact’s Portuguese network was strongly engaged with the financing for development process and the wider sustainable development agenda, and it had recently created a multi-stakeholder platform for an “SDG [Sustainable Development Goal] Alliance” with the private sector. Portugal was aligning its bilateral partnership with the Sustainable Development Goals and Addis Agenda, with a particular focus on education, health, training and capacity-building, as well as energy efficiency, the environment and marine resources.
JESÚS GRACIA ALDAZ, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, said that the outcome text presented the connection between the Addis Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda aimed at breaking the North-South paradigm, which required improved coordination. For the eradication of poverty and the elimination of inequality, domestic resource mobilization and transparency were key, he said, expressing interest in sharing national experiences with others. On technology, he stressed that the private sector had a special role to play in terms of accelerating innovation.
AHMED KOUCHOUK, Vice Minister for Finance of Egypt, said that the forum provided a unique platform for partnership and the exchange of information. Developing countries had provided new opportunities for global financial stability and higher growth rates. For its part, Egypt had made significant progress in mobilizing domestic resources and creating fiscal space. New social policies had been introduced such as cash transfer programmes, yet challenges persisted.
MOHAMED AHMED SHIDE, State Minister for Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia, associating himself with the Group of 77, said the onus was on delivering on commitments, with national Governments taking primary responsibility for implementing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and integrating it into their national plans and priorities. Ethiopia’s significant experience in integrating development goals into its national development plans testified to the quality of its planning, with most of the targets set out in the 2030 Agenda now in place. On the means of implementation, he said that, in addition to public resources, his country was working to tap into the private sector, thus creating jobs and reducing poverty, with transformation of the private sector one of the nine pillars of the national development plan.
DEGOL MENDES, Secretary of State for Planning of Guinea-Bissau, also associating himself with the Group of 77, said biodiversity was gravely threatened by human activity. Financing mechanisms were needed to preserve biodiversity, he said, deeming it normal that specific financing be allocated for countries with biodiversity wealth. Since 1992, his country had set aside 13 per cent of its territory as protected areas as part of its “New Start” plan. That would be increasing to 26 per cent in the coming years. In setting up a fund called Bio Guinea, the country was contributing to the conservation of biodiversity for the benefit of humanity.
RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the Addis Agenda offered a set of policy actions, with measures that drew upon all sources of finance, technology, innovation, trade, debt and data with a view to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In that regard, the follow-up and implementation of its outcome must be realized within the new international development policy context. The international community had made progress in ensuring access to basic services for all. However, a wider concept of finance and the implementation of policies were required to support collective development.
To contribute meaningfully to the 2030 Agenda, CARICOM believed that further emphasis must be placed in ensuring the mobilization of resources across the pillars of sustainable development, addressing the provision of appropriate policy guidance and integrating the principle of the universality of the sustainable development agenda. Among other issues, it was essential to prioritize the global infrastructure forum, the establishment of technology facilitation mechanisms, scaling up international tax cooperation and enhancing support for debt sustainability.
BADRELDIN MAHMOUD ABBAS, Minister for Finance and National Economy of Sudan, stressed that the international community must respect national choices and priorities in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Describing the eradication of poverty and hunger as the biggest challenge, he noted that international financial institutions must provide support to developing countries and facilitate their access to ODA. The implementation of the Addis Agenda required the mobilization of resources with the participation of all relevant stakeholders.
NEIL BRISCOE (United Kingdom) noted how his country had sustained its ODA and urged others to do the same. However, such assistance was not enough to meet the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda, and it was therefore right to emphasize other forms of development capital. Though it was heartening to see how work on the Sustainable Development Goals had evolved since their adoption, more remained to be done to win the prize of a most prosperous and stable world.
AHMED BIN MOHAMMED AL-MURAIKHI (Qatar), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that instability in global financial markets and the challenges faced by both developed and developing economies threatened the achievements made in development. The Addis Agenda was a milestone in enhancing global partnership for development and a sound basis for supporting implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Successful implementation depended upon mobilizing resources at the national and international levels, with successful partnerships involving stakeholders in the public and private sectors, he said, adding that Qatar had extended assistance in line with its national vision, which highlighted a strategic relationship between security, stability and development.
COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica) said that the launch of the Global Infrastructure Forum was expected to better align and coordinate new and existing infrastructure initiatives. Further, the launch of the long-considered Technology Facilitation Mechanism would help achieve sustainable development. For Jamaica, any holistic approach must focus on ongoing efforts to implement the SAMOA Pathway and strengthen his country’s resilience to external economic and environmental shocks. Development financing must be mobilized and used effectively. But such financing was insufficient for development. The continued use of measures of development that did not take into account the vulnerabilities of small island developing States must be addressed.
MARCIA COLQUHOUN (Canada) noted that the Addis Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals aimed at ensuring that no one was left behind. Without ensuring gender equality and addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, the international community would not achieve inclusive sustainable development. Drawing attention to the financial gaps for development initiatives, she acknowledged the role played by the private sector. As the founding member of the Addis Tax Initiative, Canada had contributed to financing for development, allocating new funds.
Mr. GERBER (Switzerland), reporting on what his State had done since the Addis Ababa conference, noted that it’s ODA has risen to 0.52 per cent of gross national income in 2015, despite domestic budgetary headwinds, reflecting a commitment to help countries most in need. Meanwhile, $10 billion of private investments for development were under Swiss management. Switzerland was financially supporting an event in Addis Ababa later this year, organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), on stolen asset recovery and sustainable development. During the recent meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, Switzerland was pleased to see many participants at its event promoting the Addis Ababa Action Plan on Transformative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
GEORGE WILFRED TALBOT (Guyana), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CARICOM, said the establishment of a platform for follow-up and review on financing for development had been long-sought since the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey. It was important that there was sustained political attention to rolling out the Addis Agenda, he said, adding that deliberate action in cross-cutting areas could catalyse progress in that regard. Citing the important challenges facing countries in special situations, he called for attention to middle-income countries in particular. Taking stock and providing corrective action on the means of implementation was another key focus. There was currently an opportunity to make the course corrections needed to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, he said.
NWE NWE WIN, Director General of the Ministry for Planning and Finance of Myanmar, associating herself with the Group of 77, said her country was redoubling efforts to increase transparency and improve policy formulation for the efficient and accountable delivery of public services. The 2030 Agenda addressed the root causes of poverty and built on lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals. Her country was mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals into its national development policies, she said.
Ms. AMADEO (United States) expressing support for the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, underscored the importance of using all available resources, including international public finance, contributions from the private sector, and domestic resources to implement it. Further, she called upon all to take advantage of science and technology as they were the enablers of sustainable development. For its part, the United States had provided $7 billion to more than 100 public- and private-sector partners with a view to achieve the universally agreed goals. Nevertheless, without good governance, it was impossible make progress.
CLAUDIA AGUILAR (El Salvador) said financial recessions, illicit financial flows, distortions created by trade and tax evasions were challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. For its part, El Salvador had created a national strategy for development, supporting national institutions in the areas of finance and international trade. To make progress, it was essential to increase investment in public policies and create suitable conditions for partnerships with the private sector.
Ms. WILSON (Australia), also speaking on behalf of Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Turkey, said they would bring forth strong national commitments to the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit. All nations must promote domestic resource mobilization for sustainable development and promote women as decision makers, peacebuilders, business owners and social leaders. They stressed the importance of inclusive, innovative partnerships with the private sector as critical for maximizing sustainable development. They said greater support was needed for the most vulnerable countries and stated their intent to share experiences with the wider community. They supported the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation and welcomed greater links between it and the United Nations. The world’s challenges must be solved by a commitment to promote science, technology and innovation to make the planet more prosperous, inclusive and peaceful.
YOUNG-JU OH (Republic of Korea), associating herself with Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey and Australia, emphasized that the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda should be closely linked with that of the 2030 Agenda. Domestic resources mobilization would play a crucial role in those processes, and helping countries realize their tax potential would be critical. Her country therefore supported the Addis Tax Initiative. In addition, as greater emphasis should be placed on strengthening the link between science, technology and innovation and job development, her country had launched the “STI for a Better Life” initiative for developing countries.
Ms. MICULET (Republic of Moldova) said his Government had made significant efforts to mobilize all sources of finance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In the short- and medium-term it aimed to attract more FDI, facilitate trade, obtain access to new markets and advance cooperation with development partners. In 2014, the Republic of Moldova formed an association agreement with the European Union and a comprehensive free trade area. The move improved the Republic of Moldova’s trade environment and policy framework and offered better compliance with the Union’s market standards. A series of structural reforms had been implemented to streamline customs clearance procedures. A 2016-2020 strategy to increase exports aimed to attract $380 million in investment, generate $232 million in income tax, create at least 10,000 jobs and reduce the gross domestic product (GDP) trade deficit by 4 per cent.
SERGEY KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation) said that the Addis Agenda had given the forum a unique mandate, which ensured its follow-up for the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Its mandate also included taking an enhanced approach for the mobilization of resources and the effective use of technology. It would be important to create synergies between the forum and other processes for the follow-up of the previous conferences on the topic. His country had attached great importance to the Global Infrastructure Forum, which had taken place in Washington, D.C., and expected to provide innovative solutions and create a mechanism for effective communication. Among other issues, he commended the crucial role played by the Inter-agency Task Force.
Ms. DEL CASTILLO (Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said global structural changes must continue in order to strengthen the international financial architecture and ensure fair, equitable representation of all Member States in leadership positions, decision-making and norm-setting at international financial institutions. Enhanced support and multi-stakeholder partnerships were needed to build capacity in developing countries. She rejected unilateral economic, commercial and financial measures that hindered development finance and socioeconomic development. Technology transfer and innovative knowhow were strong engines for economic growth and reducing the technological gap. The United Nations inter-agency task team on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals must be fully established and put into operation.
She stressed the importance of consolidating South-South cooperation as a shared value in the region. The Community was committed to scale up international tax cooperation and encouraged countries to strengthen transparency and adopt suitable policies. That included requiring multinational enterprises to report to the tax authorities in the countries in which they operated, providing access to beneficial ownership information for competent authorities and exchanging tax information as appropriate. The Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development’s first report should support follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes as well as all memorandums of understanding of the 2030 Agenda.
LUO JIN (China), associating herself with the Group of 77, said the effective implementation of the Addis Agenda was critical to the operationalization of the 2030 Agenda. Calling for a more equitable global partnership for development in which developed countries fulfilled their commitments, she said efforts should be furthered to build a fair, open and orderly international economic environment. Developing countries should be able to effectively take part in global economic activities and enjoy the results of development. As the largest developing country, China had provided a wide range of support to other such nations, including through the establishment of it Peace and Development Fund and a number of other investments in developing States.
Ms. REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba), associating herself with the Group of 77, CARICOM and the Alliance of Small Island States, said the forum had been a platform for fruitful debate that would contribute to the implementation of the Addis Agenda and Agenda 2030. Her country was united with those of the South to promote important elements such as the unconditional compliance with ODA commitments by developed countries, external debt relief for countries of the South, the need for technology transfer and capacity-building, and the creation of a new international financial architecture that allowed all countries to participate on an equal footing. She rejected all economic measures that ran contrary to that inclusive spirit, including a “ferocious” economic trade blockade against her country.
GILBERT HOUNGBO, Deputy Director General for Country Operations and Partnerships of the International Labour Organization (ILO), said that employment creation targets should be a core objective of macroeconomic policies. It was fundamental to encourage the full and equal participation of women and men, including those with disabilities, in the formal labour market, and to give special attention to small and micro enterprises, “which are the real job creation machine,” he said. With an estimated 73.4 million youth unemployed in 2015, and millions more doing less-than-decent work, the ILO had launched a Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth aimed at expanding country-level action that would generate job opportunities for young people. Another programme supported the implementation of social protection in countries whose social protection systems were fragmented or which failed to cover the entire population.
YAMINA DJACTA, Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), said many cities, particularly in developing countries, lacked resources to build and sustain local finance. In response to that challenge, UN-Habitat was helping municipal authorities design and implement effective financing goals to support their ability to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals, the Addis Agenda and the Paris Agreement. It focused on three major areas, including land value finance and assets management and registration, urban infrastructure and design, and financial management. It would be important for municipal authorities to consider available financing options as well as ways to improve revenue through programming and urban design, she said, noting the central role of urbanization in wealth creation.
Ms. O’BRIAN of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) noted that the Addis Agenda underscored a shared ambition of all to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Investing in children was morally right and smart economics, as well as a powerful means to achieving inclusive growth. On monitoring, she noted that the report of the Inter-Agency Task Force was another step forward regarding child-focused investments. Going forward, the international community needed to address challenges in a coordinated way.
A representative of civil society noted that financing for development must unlock the means of implementation and realize the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda. However, the forum had not lived up to the expectations. Describing it as a missed opportunity to move forward, she expressed disappointment over the insufficient time allocated to discuss important topics. Further, the outcome document was unsatisfying, failing to articulate concrete steps forward.
BARBARA SAMUELS, Global Clearinghouse for Development Finance, describing the forum as a platform for unifying commitments, stressed that it was a ground breaking moment regarding moving from words to action. The coordination of Member States and international organizations with the private sector was key. Further, in order to move from billions to trillions, it was essential to define what should be done differently and how it could be achieved.
Following the general debate, OH JOON (Republic of Korea), President of the Economic and Social Council, delivered brief closing remarks. Delegations, civil society and business sector representatives had demonstrated their commitment to the timely and effective implementation of the Addis Agenda, he said, adding that the forum had been the first time the financing for development community had met following the major summits held in 2015.
Many constructive ideas had been put forward, he continued. On 18 April, the forum had highlighted the need to promote policy coherence for sustainable development, and it had discussed the humanitarian and development nexus. On 19 and 20 April, concrete and specific measures had been put forward to further the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through six thematic round tables that addressed all the action areas of the Addis Agenda.
“What is most important in financing for development is our shared commitment to working together,” he said, underscoring that the willingness of States to seek “win-win solutions” was more important than putting words into an outcome document. Without genuine collaboration, neither developed nor developing countries would be able achieve effective cooperation. “We must keep the spirit of collaboration alive at all levels,” he concluded.