8 April 2015 The international community needs a financial framework capable of confronting the multifaceted crises of the day in a predictable and effective manner if it is to delineate a successful post-2015 sustainable development agenda, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed.
Delivering the opening remarks to the UN General Assembly’s Informal Interactive Hearing for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development today, the Secretary-General told the gathering of delegates and private sector professionals that channelling both public and private sector cash flows into sustainable development initiatives would be “crucial for securing an ambitious post-2015 agenda.”
“All sources of funding must be tapped – public and private, national and international,” Mr. Ban declared. “Domestic resource mobilization will be crucial.”
However, he noted, numerous obstacles in facilitating financing remained. In many countries, attempts to raise public resources through taxation continued to be hampered by loopholes, tax avoidance and tax evasion while private international capital flows also suffered from volatility.
In addition, the global financial crisis had further exposed the risks and underlying vulnerabilities in the international financial system, increasing inequalities, environmental challenges and rendering states susceptible to shocks such as the recent Ebola epidemic.
“The world needs an international financial framework that is predictable and effective in meeting these challenges and achieving sustainable and inclusive development,” continued Mr. Ban. “We invite the private sector to be our partners in supporting and financing this agenda, including through partnerships and collaboration.”
This year marks wrap up of the landmark UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which world leaders agreed on 15 years ago. There has been significant progress in meeting the targets. For example, global poverty has been halved well ahead of the 2015 deadline; in developing countries, 90 per cent of children now enjoy primary education; the number of people lacking access to improved drinking water has halved, and the fight against malaria and tuberculosis has shown results, according to the UN.
But challenges persist, and with the deadline of the MDGs set for the end of this year, the UN will craft a new set of targets known as the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Globally, 73 million young people are looking for work and many more are trapped in exploitative jobs. In recent years, more than two and a half million more children in affluent countries fell into poverty, bringing the total above 76 million.
In a statement delivered on behalf of Sam Kutesa, the President of the UN General Assembly, Nicholas Emiliou, Acting President of the UN General Assembly, similarly called on Member States and all stakeholder to ensure that accessed resources are utilized “effectively and efficiently.”
“While businesses should take into account profit and shareholder value, they have opportunities to realize long-term success contributing towards achievement of sustainable development, including through partnerships and collaboration with the public sector,” stated Mr. Emiliou.
He added that today’s hearing provided a “unique opportunity for an in-depth exchange of views” on important themes directly impacting the planet’s new development agenda.
“Mobilizing financing for critical infrastructure such as energy, transport, water and sanitation, as well as for [small and medium enterprises], is instrumental for structural transformation, economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability,” Mr. Emiliou said.
Meanwhile, as he urged private sector leaders to join the UN and Member States at the upcoming Third International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa later this year, Mr. Ban explained that the international system needed to create better incentives and a regulatory framework that would enable investors and companies to better align their strategies with economic, social and governance issues and report on their progress.
“We need to continue to expand partnerships with the business sector, civil society and other stakeholders, and to lever your resources and unique skills,” concluded the Secretary-General, who added that world sat at the brink of “a very important historic moment.”
“We need your advocacy, expertise, and ingenuity to make Addis Ababa a success and to chart a new era of sustainable development.”
News Tracker: past stories on this issue