ADDIS: strong partnerships needed to turn billions into trillions for sustainable development

A child watches during a June 2015 event by the World Bank and Sesame Street Workshop on the role of children in development, educating boys and girls about safe access to water, sanitation, and hygiene, as well as better health and nutrition. Photo: Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank

13 July 2015 – Achieve the future sustainable development agenda and the goal of ending extreme poverty will require strong and creative partnerships to turn billions in official assistance into trillions in investments, the President of the World Bank Group stressed today at an event on the sidelines of the United Nations conference on financing for development.

“Now is the time to translate the best ideas and expertise of all our institutions into action. To go from billions in official assistance to trillions in investments, we'll have to push even further our willingness to collaborate through creative partnerships,” said Jim Yong Kim.

Mr. Kim noted that official development assistance, which stands at about $135 billion a year, is the cornerstone of financing for development, especially in the poorest and most fragile countries.

“But now we have a responsibility to find new ways to leverage the generosity of donors and crowd in especially private sector financing. We must also stop illicit financial flows and increase domestic resource mobilization,” he told the audience.

“Only by doing all of these things together will allow us to leverage the billions of dollars in official development assistance to the trillions that we need. Tackling this challenge requires us to think creatively and collaboratively.”

The event, part of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development that opened today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, follows the announcement last week by the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to extend more than $400 billion in financing over the next three years.

They also vowed to work more closely with private and public sector partners to help mobilize the resources needed to meet the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that countries will adopt in September at the UN.

“All the world is watching us in Addis to see if our aspirations and courage will match those of the nearly billion people who continue to live in extreme poverty today,” said Mr. Kim. “Only by doing so can we be the first generation in human history to end extreme poverty in our lifetime.”

Also addressing the event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the joint efforts of the World Bank Group and the regional development banks, working along with the UN system, will be “critical” to transforming the commitments in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda – the expected outcome of this week's conference - into a vigorous global partnership for sustainable development.

Mr. Ban cited three areas where the efforts to turn billions into trillions will be most crucial, beginning with bridging infrastructure financing gaps, particularly in Africa. He also noted the clear call in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for the financial institutions to promote regional integration, and cited the need to increase investments in addressing hunger and malnutrition, including in sustainable agriculture.

“The Millennium Development Goals have significantly advanced poverty reduction and social development,” he stated. “Now we must tackle the unfinished business of the MDGs, consolidate achievements and put our world on a more sustainable and equitable trajectory.”


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