Negotiations over proposals that would finance the ambitious sustainable agenda that world leaders will adopt this September are entering a critical phase, ahead of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development that will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13-16 July.
The Conference, which will be attended by world leaders, aims to ensure that financing flows to projects and activities that will improve people’s lives and reduce poverty.
Conference organizers hope that an agreement that would help mobilize domestic and international, as well as public and private resources for sustainable development can be reached by the end of the week.
“You are indeed entering the final stretch of a long road,” Wu Hongbo, Conference Secretary-General, told the negotiators at the start of the latest session. “As you begin these last five days of negotiations, I urge you to keep in mind that Addis presents a historic opportunity – one that we cannot afford to miss.”
“As you begin these last five days of negotiations, I urge you to keep in mind that Addis presents a historic opportunity – one that we cannot afford to miss”
He added that there are a number of proposals and ideas on the table that are truly transformative. “They should meet the high hopes and expectations that we all have – expectations not only by those of us gathered in this room, but by people around the world. We need to ensure an ambitious and meaningful Conference outcome for the future of the people and planet.”
The President of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, said expectations are high not only from the wider international community but from ordinary citizens all over the world, especially from developing countries, who seek a better future, with improved livelihoods.
Kutesa said, “Overall, we need a renewed and reinvigorated partnership for development. Increasing domestic resource mobilization remains critical, as it the most sustainable way to finance development needs. Policy measures at the national level for widening the revenue base, improving tax collection, combatting tax evasion and illicit financial flows, need to be supported through greater international cooperation on tax matters.”
Negotiators are still discussing the way forward on issues such as tax reform and accountability, the role of official development assistance and South-South cooperation, and specific areas where significant investments are needed, such as in infrastructure for energy, transport, water and sanitation, and other areas where finance will be needed to help realize proposed Sustainable Development Goals.
In this regard, policies and measures for mobilization of long-term finance for critical infrastructure, especially in developing countries, should be one of the key deliverables from Addis Ababa. Improving the responsiveness of international financial institutions and regional development banks to financing needs will be critical.
The Conference is also looking to find innovative ways and enabling environments to increase international private flows, including foreign direct investment, trade, and increasing participation of the private sector. Other priority areas include agriculture and food security, social protection, and support for small and medium enterprises.
Negotiators are looking to develop an inclusive, robust and effective follow-up and review framework to track progress in implementing the commitments made in Addis Ababa.
George Talbot, Guyana’s UN Ambassador who is co-faciitator of the negotiations, said he sensed an increase willingness to work toward an agreement. “There is a need for high ambition that is commensurate with the sustainable development goal agenda.”