“Financing is critical to achieving sustainable development. Financing needs are large. Raising the necessary resources will be challenging, but it is feasible,” said Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, as preparations for this major event to be held in Addis Ababa in July in 2015, kicked off in New York on 17 October.
“Arriving at a comprehensive financing framework will be central to any agreement on a sustainable development agenda,” Mr. Wu continued, pointing to the opportunity that the Conference in Addis Ababa will provide. “The success of the Conference will be a significant milestone for the Summit on post-2015 in September next year,” he said.
Scheduled to take place in the capital of Ethiopia on 13-16 July 2015, the Conference aims to assess the progress made in the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development and to address new and emerging issues in financing sustainable development across the economic, social and environmental dimensions. Its preparations kicked off in New York on 17 October when the first substantive informal session took place led by the Co-facilitators Ambassador George Wilfred Talbot (Guyana) and Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen (Norway).
“The year 2015 will make history for sustainable development,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he addressed the meeting. He highlighted that there are three main priorities for the international community next year including accelerating efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to agree on a transformative post-2015 development agenda and to achieve a universal climate agreement in Paris.
“Arriving at a comprehensive financing framework will be central to any agreement on a sustainable development agenda”
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General
and Conference Secretary-General
“Financing is one of the keys to succeed in all these endeavors,” Ban Ki-moon emphasized. “It will be at the heart of the political agreement that Governments have to reach for a successful sustainable development agenda. That is why the outcome of the Addis Ababa Conference is so important,” he added.
Road to Addis Ababa
Paving the way to the Conference, the General Assembly decided to host a series of substantive informal sessions and informal interactive hearings with representatives of civil society and the business sector, as well as drafting sessions of the outcome document of the Conference in January, April and June 2015.
Building on the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development, the preparations for the Conference will focus on several major topics, such as the mobilization and effective use of resources for sustainable development, including domestic, international, public, private and blended finance, as well as the enabling environment and systemic issues. The reports of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the synthesis report of the Secretary-General, will provide important inputs to the Conference.
“The recent report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing provides an analytical framework and offers policy options”, Ban Ki-moon highlighted. “And by identifying, not only sources of funds, but also uses, the report moves towards a convergence of the Monterrey and Rio processes, thereby setting the stage for Addis Ababa”.
Creating a new financing framework
A holistic financing framework for sustainable development will need to build on all six chapters of the Monterrey Consensus, focusing on mobilizing financing for development from all available sources, including domestic financial resources, international private flows and international financial and technical cooperation, as well as the importance of the enabling domestic and international environment. It also needs to address additional challenges and be mindful of changes and continuities in the financing landscape.
“We must show our capacity to deliver on a genuine and effective global partnership for the future of our planet and the wellbeing of future generations. I call on all Member States to rise to this challenge and make Addis Ababa the success it must be”
“The new financing framework must be broad in scope and, at the same time, concrete. It should integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner, and seek coherence with other financing streams, including climate finance,” the Secretary-General said. He also underscored that expectations for the event are high and that partners are eager to support the preparatory process.
Also addressing the first preparatory event, the President of the General Assembly Sam Kahamba Kutesa, emphasized the need to enhance mobilization of the full range of resources on all fronts and to strengthen the global partnership for development. “Due attention should be given to measures that can boost foreign direct investment (FDI) and other private capital flows, international trade, increase international financial and technical cooperation for development, improve sustainable debt financing, and address systemic issues,” Mr. Kutesa stated.
Stepping stone for post-2015 development agenda
The upcoming Addis Ababa Conference is viewed by many as a crucial stepping stone for the post-2015 development agenda. “Together, we have the opportunity to make the Addis Ababa Conference a success and lay the foundation for the implementation of an ambitious and transformative post-2015 development agenda,” said Mr. Wu encouragingly. “I am committed to working towards this goal with all of you,” he added.
The Secretary-General also called on the international community to “agree on a strong, meaningful framework of concrete ways forward”, underscoring at the same time that the stakes are high and that “we cannot afford to fail”. “We must show our capacity to deliver on a genuine and effective global partnership for the future of our planet and the wellbeing of future generations. I call on all Member States to rise to this challenge and make Addis Ababa the success it must be,” Ban Ki-moon said.