Statement by Helen Clark on the hird International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3)

Jul 16, 2015

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) reached  agreement on an outcome document in Addis Ababa on July 16.
 
As one of the five major institutional stakeholders, UNDP has been actively involved in the FfD process, participating in many regional and thematic consultations, and commenting on successive iterations of the conference’s outcome document. UNDP was very active in Addis Ababa, where we had the opportunity to reiterate our key messages for the FfD process.
 
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda
 
The outcome of the conference, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), points the way to the mobilization of the resources, technologies, and partnerships which will be needed to realize the development milestones due to be agreed this year. They comprise the disaster risk reduction agenda from Sendai which was agreed in March, the launch of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September, and the climate change COP 21 in December where a new global climate agreement is due to be reached.
 
In my statement at the Conference, I argued that a big, bold and transformative financing agenda was needed to help meet the challenges of our times and to move the world towards sustainable development. The outcome from Addis Ababa does move in that direction.
 
The AAAA reaffirms targets for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and sets a timeline for their achievement. It looks beyond ODA, and emphasizes the need to build the capacities for domestic resource mobilization. Different sources of finance will have to complement and reinforce each other. For this, strong multi-stakeholder partnerships must be built, across governments, the private sector, civil society, and academic and research institutions.
 
As UNDP recommended, the AAAA does recognize that financing for development needs to be risk informed. Volatility is the new normal flowing from globalization, the vulnerability of growing populations to natural hazards, and the proliferation of protracted conflicts. The AAAA takes into account the accelerated impact of environmental degradation, including of our climate ecosystem, and calls on all actions to be underpinned by a commitment to protect our planet.
 
The AAAA includes measures to ensure that no one is left behind. It commits to a new social compact, underpinned by social protection and essential public services, and to increased public investment for research, infrastructure, and pro-poor initiatives to ensure food security and nutrition. It acknowledges that the poorest and/or most vulnerable countries, including LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, and fragile states require the greatest support. It agrees to establish a technology facilitation mechanism to support the development and dissemination of the technologies required to implement the SDGs. It calls for the establishment of a Global Infrastructure Forum to improve alignment and co-ordination among established and new infrastructure initiatives. It establishes a dedicated follow-up process, comprised of an annual five day ECOSOC forum on financing for development.
 
UNDP and Financing for Development
 
In my keynote speech opening the substantive preparatory session of FfD held on November 2014, I advocated on behalf of UNDP that a new and more sophisticated approach to financing for development was needed – a Monterrey Plus. My speech defined three key messages for UNDP: the need to explore public finance (domestic and international) beyond ODA; to catalyze private finance for development; and to ensure that finance for development is risk-informed.
 
UNDP has consistently emphasized that all sources of finance – domestic and international, public and private – are needed to achieve the SDGs. One source of finance does not substitute for another, and ODA will remain essential for many people and countries. We have called for incentives and regulations which would help ensure that private investment decisions are aligned with sustainable development objectives. Throughout the process, we have stressed the continuing important role of ODA, the need to consider the special circumstances and vulnerabilities of the LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS and fragile states, and the need to address debt sustainability challenges in these countries.
 
UNDP in Addis
 
UNDP was both active and visible at Addis Ababa. In addition to my statement in the plenary, I moderated one of the 6 roundtables and participated in a number of side events. UNDP organized seven flagship side-events, and spoke at sixteen others (complete list and more details here). Our activity at the conference was the culmination of our efforts over many months, during which we deepened the above-mentioned messages, and articulated them in blogs, research papers, and several workshops, seminars and consultations.
 
In Addis Ababa, UNDP launched jointly with the OECD a new initiative to develop capacity for domestic resource mobilization: Tax Inspectors without Borders. On the private sector’s role in development, UNDP presented our work for the G20, jointly with the World Bank Group, on inclusive business. On risk, UNDP organized a side-event showcasing its research and carrying its message about the importance of pursuing “risk-informed development.” On SIDS, UNDP organized a side-event bringing together ministers representing SIDS to discuss how this group of countries can meet the challenge of financing the post-2015 development agenda. On environmental finance, our side-event highlighted the critical potential of environment financing streams as catalysts for economic and social development.
 
After Addis
 
Looking ahead, we need to ensure that all countries, and in particular the poorest and most vulnerable, are able to make good use of the financing opportunities which are available. Capacity building will be critical, to ensure that countries have access to the financing instruments most suited to their needs and to grow their economies in inclusive and sustainable ways.
 
The new global development agenda will remain mere words on paper unless the means are available to implement it. We must all now draw on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to guide our efforts as we support our national partners to devise country-led development strategies, build capacity, and identify and access financing.

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