Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Opening meeting of the third session of the
Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing

Distinguished Experts and Representatives,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honour to address the third session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing.

The international community and various stakeholders have a keen interest in this Committee’s work, as one of the significant outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference. I know you will have an intense five days of discussion. And that you expect to make significant progress towards your ultimate objective of producing a report proposing options on an effective sustainable development financing strategy. 

As you begin your work, please keep in mind the larger picture of preparations for the intergovernmental discussions on the post-2015 development agenda, scheduled to begin later this year once your report has been finalized.

The Open Working Group, which is meeting in parallel this week, is beginning the critical consensus building phase of its work. The Co-Chairs of the Group, the Ambassadors of Kenya and Hungary, shared a progress report on 21 February, with the following key messages relevant to your work.

First, there is a convergence of views that we are moving towards a single, ambitious agenda with one set of goals building on but going beyond the Millennium Development Goals.  The MDGs have shown that international commitment to agreed goals can make a profound difference.

Many countries have reduced poverty and met other development goals before the 2015 target date.  It is widely recognized that the MDG framework provided an impetus to the successes we have seen. And that a concrete set of goals and targets has enabled us to review progress in an integrated manner.  Yet these achievements vary sharply across and within countries and regions.  While every effort must be made to achieve the MDGs by 2015, some of them are likely to remain unrealized in some countries, which must be taken into account in our future development priorities. 

Second, in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, member states reaffirmed that the eradication of poverty and achieving sustainable development in all its dimensions are the great challenges that humanity is facing. They have since agreed that these challenges should be at the core of a post-2015 development agenda. Moreover, good governance at all levels based on human rights, rule of law, democracy, access to justice and to information, transparency and accountability, and the fostering of peaceful and non-violent societies, are recognized as enablers of sustainable development.

Third, the report recognizes that the international community needs to do things differently. Transformative actions are needed to ensure decent jobs, backed by sustainable technologies, and a shift to sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

Fourth, the progress report of the Open Working Group emphasizes that the implementation of SDGs will require resources and concerted actions. Many governments have stressed the need for clear guidance on the means of implementation, such as financing, technology and capacity building.

Furthermore, expanding the poverty eradication agenda to one that also addresses the interlinkages of sustainable development, requires a holistic approach to development cooperation and financing for development.  Such an agenda should build on existing agreements, but should go further in helping change the way we do business and protecting our global commons. Your discussions are critical for formulating a financing strategy that addresses, in a balanced manner, all three dimensions of sustainable development.

Since you first met last August much work has been done under the guidance of the Co-Chairs and cluster Co-facilitators. You have helped to move towards a holistic strategy for financing sustainable development. Indeed, I am impressed how far your discussions have advanced in the last few months. I understand that you have concluded most of your work on cluster 1 and have moved on to cluster 2 to discuss the mobilisation of resources and their effective use.  Moreover, you have already begun to think about how to frame your work on institutional arrangements, policy coherence, synergies and governance issues.

Many of you emphasized that a wide range of sources of financing will be necessary, which should complement and, where possible, leverage each other. You also noted that new public sector policies will be necessary to incentivize the private sector to redirect its funds towards sustainable development. The challenge now lies in developing specific policies and reforms, including at the institutional level, to mobilize finance for sustainable development. As such, I very much look forward to your outputs on Clusters 2 and 3.

I am encouraged to see how much effort you have made to reach out to a broad range of stakeholders. You have also extensively drawn on UN system resources, especially the UNTT Working Group on Sustainable Development Financing, which remains at your full disposal.

I am also encouraged to see your efforts to promote substantive exchanges with the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals. Your joint session on Wednesday is an opportunity for Member States and all relevant stakeholders to explore complementarities between these two processes.

You report will be one of the major inputs to the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda.

It will also provide an important input into the Third International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in 2015 or 2016, since one of the mandates of the conference is to see how to bring together different ongoing financing streams into a single coherent framework.

Within that context, I am confident that you will fulfil your historic mandate to provide an effective sustainable development financing strategy for the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015.

As in the past, the Secretariat and the UN system remain at your full disposal to support your important work.

I wish you a most productive session.

Thank you very much.