Addis Ababa development finance talks will deliver “concrete” action, says top UN official

Date: 13th July 2015

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Credit: WSSCC/Jenny Matthews

Credit: WSSCC/Jenny Matthews

In the run-up to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) in Addis Ababa, the head of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has said that “concrete deliverables” will be the key outcome of the event.

Speaking to reporters at the UN’s headquarters in New York this week, Wu Hongbo, who is also FfD3’s Secretary-General, said he expected the conference to deliver a “comprehensive package in support of the SDGs” (Sustainable Development Goals), to be adopted in September 2015. Describing its framework for financing sustainable development over the next 15 years as, “ambitious and universally inclusive”, he added: “No one should be left behind.”

The conference, which is being held in the Ethiopian capital from July 13-16, will include around 30 heads of state and government and deputy prime ministers, over 110 ministers, and 1,000 representatives from civil society and the business sector agree on strategies for implementing the post-2015 development agenda.

“The Third International Conference on Financing for Development […] will be the first of three major global events taking place this year, followed by the September summit in New York for the adoption of a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and a conference in Paris in December to reach a universal climate change agreement,” said Mr Wu. “These events will shape international cooperation for years to come.”

Mr Wu said that the Addis Ababa Accord’s deliverables should include: a commitment to establish by 2017 a new technology bank for the least developed countries (LDCs); proposals for increased aid and foreign direct investment (FDI) for LDCs; and a new social contract between governments and their people to deliver social protection and essential public services for all, such as health, education, energy, water and sanitation.

FfD3’s scope, which is set out in detail in UN General Assembly resolutions 68/204 and 68/279, aims to: assess the progress made from implementing the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration; address new and emerging issues, including recent multilateral efforts to promote international development cooperation; and reinvigorate and strengthen financing for the development follow-up process.

There will be a wide variety of events on offer during the conference, including a High Level side event at the Third International Conference for Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss the potential for increased domestic resource mobilization and innovative financing to help ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Speakers include Chris Williams of the UNOPS-hosted Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).

FfD3’s intergovernmental preparatory process was launched in October last year. It included a series of substantive informal sessions and informal interactive hearings with civil society and the business sector in March 2015, as well as drafting sessions on the outcome document between January and June 2015.

The first International Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey, Mexico, 2002) signalled a turning point in the international community’s approach to development cooperation. It was the first UN-sponsored summit-level meeting to address key financial and related issues on global development. With more than 50 heads of state and government, and over 200 ministers of foreign affairs, trade, development and finance, it became the largest ever UN-sponsored event involving finance officials, and succeeded in putting financing for development firmly on the global agenda.

The Monterrey Consensus reflected a landmark global agreement between developed and developing countries, in which both recognized their responsibilities in key areas, such as trade, aid, debt relief and institution building.

In 2008, the follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus (Doha, Qatar) adopted the Doha Declaration, which recognized that mobilizing financial resources for development, and the effective use of all those resources, were central to the global partnership for sustainable development. Given the global economic situation at the time, the Doha Declaration called for a high-level UN conference to examine the impact of the world financial and economic crisis on development.

The United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development was thus held in New York in the summer of 2009. A uniquely inclusive forum, it identified emergency and long-term responses to mitigate the impact of the crisis. It also initiated a dialogue on the transformation of international financial architecture.

Mr Wu also told reporters in New York of the importance of creating a “useful” basket of policy recommendations for governments from which to choose and use to mobilize financing. He also said the Addis Ababa agreement needs to have a strong accountability and follow-up mechanism.

The conference, which is being held at the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, will consist of plenary meetings, roundtables and nearly 200 side events, in addition to a number of ad hoc bilateral meetings.

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