ADDIS: UN officials hail outcome of conference on development financing as first milestone of 2015

Through a national school feeding program in Oudomxay province, Lao PDR, students get at least a third of their daily energy and nutrition needs. Seen here, a student enjoys her vegetables. Photo: Bart Verweij/World Bank

16 July 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and senior United Nations officials today hailed the outcome of the financing for development conference in Addis Ababa as the first milestone in a critical year in which major decisions are also expected on the future sustainable development agenda and on climate change.

“The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is a major step forward in building a world of prosperity and dignity for all,” Mr. Ban said in a statement, adding that it revitalizes the global partnership for development and establishes a strong foundation for implementation of the future development agenda.

The Action AMember States have now passed this first hurdle. Now we must work ever harder for a successful summit on sustainable development in September.genda, adopted at the conclusion of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, contains a series of bold measures to overhaul global finance practices and generate investments for tackling a range of economic, social and environmental challenges.

Building on the outcomes of previous conferences held in Monterrey, Mexico, and in Doha, Qatar, the document addresses all sources of finance, and covers cooperation on a range of issues including technology, science, innovation, trade and capacity building.

Mr. Ban noted that the Addis conference was the first of three milestones this year. “Member States have now passed this first hurdle. Now we must work ever harder for a successful summit on sustainable development in September in New York and for a meaningful agreement on climate change in December in Paris.”

Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the Conference, highlighted the fact that the Action Agenda features a comprehensive set of policy actions with a package of over 100 concrete measures and some concrete deliverables.

“The Addis Ababa Action Agenda testifies to our collective resolve to build a better future for all in a more equal and sustainable world,” said General Assembly president Sam Kutessa in his statement to the Conference’s closing plenary, in which he spotlighted the agreed concrete deliverables, policies and actions to support the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

With the international community now having “embarked on a momentous journey in a common pursuit to eradicate poverty, improve livelihoods for all and protect our planet,” he called on all delegations to fully implement the Action Agenda.

“With this successful outcome, we have a strong basis to build upon and continue our path towards historic Summits in New York in September and Paris in December. I count on your continued commitment to ensure an ambitious outcome for the post-2015 development agenda,” he said.

“The Action Agenda provides a global framework for financing sustainable development and developing sustainable finance. This new framework aligns all financing flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities.”

Also delivering a statement at the closing plenary, Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said that, along with other aims, the Action Agenda reaffirms that achieving gender equality, empowering all women and girls, and the full realization of their human rights are essential to achieving sustained, inclusive, and equitable economic growth and sustainable development.

Delivering a statement on behalf of UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, she said that to date, no country in the world has closed the gender gap. The chronic and persistent under-investment in critical areas for women and girls, such as economic empowerment including reducing and redistributing women’s unpaid care and domestic work; sexual and reproductive health and rights; violence against women and girls, women, peace and security; and participation and leadership, has hindered the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

”New and existing commitments on gender equality require unprecedented and transformative financing, in scale, scope, ambition and quality, from all sources and at all levels,” she said, calling on all Member States to endorse and implement the Addis Ababa Action Plan on Transformative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and to give the next generation of development goals the financial impetus necessary to achieve gender equality and to empower all women and girls.

Among the new initiatives agreed by Member States is the establishment of a Technology Facilitation Mechanism at the summit to be held in September in New York to boost collaboration among various actors to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

In addition, countries agreed to establish a Global Infrastructure Forum to identify and address infrastructure gaps, highlight opportunities for investment and cooperation, and work to ensure that projects are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

They also decided to strengthen the financing for development follow-up process to ensure that no country is left behind, including by establishing an annual financing for development forum and an inter-agency task force which will report annually on progress in implementing the FFD outcomes.

In the Action Agenda, countries also recommitted to achieving the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for official development assistance (ODA), and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent for least developed countries.

“We are really, really pleased with the outcome,” said Amina Mohammed, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, welcoming in particular the decision on ODA. “A few years after the financial crisis, when we began this conversation, there was very little appetite for a discussion on 0.7 but today we have a recommitment to it.”

The recommitment on ODA was also welcomed by Gyan Chandra Acharya, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

“There is a very clear forward-looking commitment coming from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. It talks about, with a timeline, implementation of 0.2 per cent of GNI going to the LDCs,” Mr. Acharya said. “It was there before but it was more aspirational. But now it is coming with a very strong commitment to implement it.”

The Action Agenda also calls for strengthening support for the work of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters to improve its effectiveness and operational capacity, and the engagement with the Economic and Social Council.

On climate change, the outcome calls on developed countries to implement their commitment to a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020 from a wide variety of sources to address the needs of developing countries. Countries also committed to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that lead to wasteful consumption.


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