Amid ongoing formulation of a blueprint for the post-2015 development agenda, diverse positions on aid, climate finance and sustainable development funding and strategies for optimizing relevant proposals emerged during today’s debate in the General Assembly on the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing.
Following the discussion, the world body adopted a resolution submitted by its President. By the terms of that text, adopted without a vote, the Assembly reaffirmed that the report, as well as the outcome of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the synthesis report of the Secretary-General, were valuable inputs for preparations for the third International Conference on Financing for Development, the outcome of which should be an important contribution to and support for implementing the next development agenda.
During the morning-long debate, delegates examined the report’s content. Among them was Iran’s delegate, who said the document did not “well capture” the role of developing and developed countries in financing. Egypt’s representative added that remaining challenges facing developing countries must be addressed in order to reach sustainable development and empower developing countries. He said official development assistance (ODA) was critical to sustainable development.
Echoing that sentiment was the representative of Bolivia, who, on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, warned that ODA should not be used as conditional assistance based on peace and security. Recognizing the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” was of pivotal importance, he said, emphasizing that the report was one input — among others — on which to build an agreement on the financing tools and the means of implementing the new goals.
Turning to the issue of illicit financial flows, the representative of Madagascar, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the continent had lost billions from 1970 to 2000. In that light, the Group called for the development of a global financial framework, with more transparency and accountability. On that, the representative of Estonia said national Governments were responsible for creating enabling conditions through, not only anti-corruption measures, but also by laying down the right policies. In Estonia’s experience, accountability, rule of law and good governance were the best remedies for achieving efficiency.
On climate change financing, some delegates said it should not be tackled with the sustainable development and the ODA financing, but be treated separately. On the other hand, the representative of Switzerland commended the report for having integrated the missing link of Monterrey and Doha — the environmental component of sustainable development financing — in a systematic manner. Financing the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development required a comprehensive framework for aid, climate finance, private-sector flows and all other funding sources, he said, noting the challenge for policymakers was to properly channel and incentivize more diverse and decentralized financing sources.
Any attempt to rewrite the Monterrey-Doha framework would be counterproductive, Brazil’s delegate strongly emphasized. The task at hand was to pair the Monterrey-Doha framework with the Rio+20 vision for sustainable development. The report predated the outcome of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, he told the Assembly, adding that it was clear that financing for the post-2015 development agenda would basically amount to financing the set of sustainable development goals and targets.
Also today, the General Assembly agreed to postpone the date of recess of the sixty-ninth session from Tuesday, 16 December to Wednesday, 24 December and to extend the work of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) from Friday, 12 December to Tuesday, 23 December.
Also speaking during the debate were the representatives of Slovakia, Australia, Canada, Finland, Japan, Singapore, India, Venezuela, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, China, Bangladesh, Ecuador, France, Benin and Argentina, as well as a representative of the European Union Delegation.
The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow to consider a wide range of agenda items.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the rules of procedure that applied to participation and interactions of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts were restrictive. The report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing was one input — among others — on which to build an agreement on the financing tools and the means of implementing the sustainable development goals. The world economic crisis was not yet over and its effects were still being felt in developing countries. The Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration provided the conceptual framework for resource mobilization and the effective use of financing required for achieving sustainable development, he said, calling for a stable financial and trading multilateral system.
Recognizing positive recommendations in the report, including the consideration given to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, he said the concept of global public goods was worrying, as it unravelled the idea of a balanced integration of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. In addition, a United Nations follow-up framework had not been given due attention, he continued, noting also the need to assess the impact of the international financial and economic crisis on the development agenda’s implementation.
The Group, among other things, sought an examination of the policies presented by the experts against the backdrop of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals. Regarding official development assistance (ODA), the Group called for its scaling up and warned that it should not be used as conditional assistance based on peace and security. He asked for a resumption of the debate on a United Nations follow-up mechanism, adding that the Group sought improved access to technology and its patents, especially those related to clean and environmentally sound technologies.
IOANNIS VRAILAS, representative of the European Union Delegation, welcomed the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, acknowledging the new paradigm, which entailed growing needs and highlighted the diversity of sources from public to private actors. He also welcomed the reiteration of the Monterrey principles of centrality of policies and action at the country level, the need to look at all means of implementation and the supportive role of an enabling international environment. The Addis Conference should be forward-looking and reflect global trends. The Intergovernmental Committee’s report would help to update the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration by taking into account the sustainable development challenge. The Union would actively participate in the negotiations to prepare a serious, fact-based outcome of the Addis Conference and propose an ambitious yet realistic framework.
FRANTIŠEK RUŽIČKA (Slovakia) said that the expert Committee had proposed option-based solutions for development financing. The report was non-prescriptive and thus could be tailored to accommodate different needs. Inclusivity was the report’s second important element, said the speaker, noting that experts had come from various parts of the world, with the report representing the particularities of each region and reflecting the voices of civil society and the business sector. Ownership was the third key element for development financing, while at the same time, States must mobilize all possible financial resources, including domestic and international, private and public and the blend of those options. ODA remained crucial to assist vulnerable countries, such as least developed, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States. More innovative public-private partnerships were also needed.
PETER VERSERGI (Australia) welcomed the report, which he said was a sound basis for forthcoming discussions and reflected expert perspectives from developed, emerging and developing economies. Further, the report acknowledged that the global context had changed dramatically since Monterrey and that public and private domestic resources dominated development finance. The policy options set out in the report would provide finance flows to support health, education, and energy needs, he continued, recognizing that each country would be different in its approach. Additionally, he said that ODA remained important — particularly for countries unable to readily access other funding sources. However, ODA should be better directed to help countries generate the finance and investment needed for their development.
ANAR MAMDANI (Canada) welcomed the report and its use of the Monterrey Consensus. Canada agreed that the framework for financing must reflect the changing context and welcome new donors. She recognized that ODA had decreased while financial needs were growing. Domestic resource mobilization was the most important financing source for developing countries, and her country would continue to work to enable those States to generate revenues. She commended the report for blending private and official expertise, adding that recent years brought an increase in needs and, therefore, more models to unlock additional funding were necessary. Canada, through a new imitative, would bring all actors together to identify more ways to integrate financing models ahead of the Addis Conference.
KAI JÜRGEN MIKAEL SAUER (Finland) said the report was a fundamental contribution towards the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, which must be built on strong political will and integrate poverty eradication. Also of importance was the mobilization of sustainable development financing from all sources. In addition, effective implementation with country ownership and leadership would require existing global partnerships, which should become a permanent source of support. He also urged for a monitoring and accountability mechanism.
HIROSHI MINAMI (Japan) commended valuable inputs presented in the report, particularly a set of options that policymakers could consider. It thoroughly analysed the situations of the developing world, including the rapid expansions of domestic resource mobilization and enhanced South-South cooperation. The report made several references that his delegation considered important, such as the people-centre approach, incorporating the gender perspective and triangular cooperation. Lack of financing was not the real challenge; rather, it was identifying how best to use the resources most effectively and efficiently for those in need. Country ownership was primary, but it should be complemented by international support. The report provided constructive inputs for preparation for the third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis next year. He noted that the Committee’s composition was geographically balanced, with experts from around the world, including developing countries Africa and elsewhere. The report and the one on sustainable development goals should be equally valued.
HÉLÉNA BERNADETTE RAJAONARIVELO (Madagascar), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating with the Group of 77, underscored the need for domestic and global finance to reach the post-2015 development goals. The expert Committee presented financial options and strategies from all sources, be they public, private, domestic or international. Economic dynamism and the microeconomic approach had improved on the African continent; however, the bulk of financing was still focused on specific regions. Previous commitments through Agenda 21, such as the Johannesburg Implementation Plan and the Monterrey Consensus, were indispensable tools to transfer commitments into tangible outcomes.
From 1970 to 2000, noted the speaker, Africa had lost between billions in illicit financial flows, and it was imperative, therefore, to develop a global financial framework, with more transparency and accountability. She underlined that advances in public management financing could not occur in a vacuum; Governments had to invest in improving human capacities first. The African Group recognized the importance of finance for development but recalled that it was only a need to an end. Several studies had shown that regional integration helped develop and promote domestic growth. The African Union had started such efforts, for which additional help was needed. There was also a need for a stable financial structure, as well as fair and inclusive trades. Regarding climate change, she recognized that it would have adverse effects on African countries, and funding to offset those should be considered separate from the development agenda financing.
EUGENE NG (Singapore) expressed concern that the United Nations might be overstepping the mandate of other institutions. The Organization was not the best forum for discussing such issues as sovereign debt restructuring. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) was better placed to take that issue forward.
MAYANK JOSHI (India) said the report was an expert input by the Committee members, but its outcome did not constitute an intergovernmental agreement nor replace that provided by the Monterrey Consensus. There was a need to streamline the broad recommendations contained in the report through international dialogue that took into account national circumstances and levels of socioeconomic development, before making detailed and concrete proposals for development financing. Applauding some of the report’s recommendations, including on poverty eradication as the overriding objective of the post-2015 development agenda and the centrality of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, he regretted that it did not take into account the sustainable development goals.
JAVAD MOMENI (Iran), associating with the Group of 77, reiterated that the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration remained the main frameworks. There were no doubts that domestic resource mobilization should be placed high in the process of sustainable development financing. However, based on the report, much of the burden was on developing countries. Financing to combat climate change should be based on separate funding from that allocated for development. Regarding illicit flows, additional efforts should be made to implement international standards. He regretted that the role of developing and developed countries regarding financing was not “well captured” and said that the report fell short of options and proposals. He hoped that the third Conference would present a more robust framework for the post-2015 development agenda.
MARGUS KOLGA (Estonia) stressed the need to tap all financial resources, domestic, international, public and private. Private financing was increasingly important, and it should be allocated to sustainable development. National Governments were responsible for creating enabling conditions through, not only implementing anti-corruption measures, but also putting right policies in place. In his country’s experience, accountability, rule of law and good governance were the best remedies for achieving efficiency. The Addis Conference should be ambitious but realistic.
TATJANA VON STEIGER WEBER (Switzerland) said the report had provided the basis for the critical and constructive discussions during the first thematic debate on financing last month. Financing the new universal post-2015 agenda for sustainable development required a comprehensive framework for aid, climate finance, private-sector flows and all other funding sources. The challenge for policymakers was to channel and incentivize more diverse and decentralized financing sources into desired investments. The economic relevance of sustainability must be strengthened across the board and funding must be systematically mobilized and allocated. There were crucial policy challenges, including the relationship of ODA with other resources, tackling illicit financial flows, enhancing transparency of allocations and leveraging domestic resources effectively and equitably. The report integrated the missing link of Monterrey and Doha — the environmental component of sustainable development financing — in a systematic manner. It was now up to Member States to prioritize and put into action the policy options contained in the report. Further discussions should focus on how financing affected different groups of people, in particular women, he added.
TAMER MOSTAFA (Egypt), associating with the African Group and the Group of 77, welcomed the expert Committee’s work as it offered a wide variety of financing options. Remaining challenges facing developing countries must be addressed in order to reach sustainable development and empower developing countries. He appreciated the role of ODA, saying it remained critical to implementing sustainable development. There was a global responsibility to facilitate the mobilization of domestic resources; however, the role of international financing was equally important. He said the proposal to increase tax should take into consideration the inability of some countries to do that easily. Regarding climate change financing, it should not be tackled with the sustainable development and the ODA financing; it should be treated separately. The climate change issue was not in the Monterrey or Doha frameworks. He concluded that illicit financial flows should also be seriously considered.
CRISTIANE ENGELBRECHT SCHADTLER (Venezuela) stressed that addressing social inequality and weak State institutions were core issues in sustainable development financing, and was thus concerned that some concepts in the report were replacing those issues. Official development assistance, trade and access to technology were all important means of implementation for development financing, which also must be adjusted to the special needs of each country. Donor countries should honour their aid commitments to bring funding stability and predictability to operational activities for development. However, the main responsibility to design development-oriented policy rested with States.
MARTIN SHEARMAN (United Kingdom), associating with the European Union, said the report was an important piece of work, built on the Monterrey and Doha outcomes, in line with the post-2015 development agenda. It showed how all actors participated in financing for sustainable development. The needs were huge, but necessary resources were available; however, they needed to be unlocked. He also underscored the importance of meeting ODA commitments. The United Kingdom looked forward to the Addis Conference as a great tool towards delivering the next development agenda. His country was committed to play its part and looked forward to working with all partners.
TERRI ROBL (United States) recognized the report’s contributions to the upcoming Addis Conference as well to the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. However, she said, a more nuanced approach was necessary on some of the issues, such as global public goods, sustainable development and climate change. States were responsible for any kind of revenue, and therefore her Government would not support a global mandatory tax. The economic reality must be reflected in all decisions, and the Assembly must be conscious of the mandates of other organizations and respect their autonomy.
ANDREAS PFEIL (Germany) stressed that additional ODA alone would not provide a solution. Rather, that must be accompanied by increased use of different types of financing as well as non-financing means of implementation. His delegation supported the report and noting one of its findings stipulated that global financial savings exceeded the needs for sustainable development financing. Resources were available. So the key was to create conducive environments, such as improved regulatory frameworks, at the national and international levels.
CHEN YINGZHU (China), associating with the Group of 77, said the report put forward options for financing development; however, it should only serve as a tool of reference and its content should be fully discussed by Member States. The third international conference should be built on the Monterrey Consensus, she added. China welcomed the fact the emphasis in the report on poverty eradication, which was the biggest challenge. Regarding the role of ODA, China regretted that the report failed to stress the critical role of ODA; instead, it put too much emphasis on domestic and international financing.
GUILHERME DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said that the report was an input in support of discussions but not an agreed intergovernmental outcome. Committee members worked mostly in their personal technical capacity and did not represent the official position of their countries. The report predated the outcome of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. It was now clear that financing for the post-2015 development agenda would basically amount to financing the set of sustainable development goals and targets. The task at hand was to pair the Monterrey-Doha framework with the Rio+20 vision for sustainable development. It was premature to endorse the concept of global public goods at the financing for development conference as it had never been discussed in the United Nations at the intergovernmental level.
The Addis Ababa process, he continued, should focus on sustainable development goals. By prioritizing climate change over other dimensions, the global public goods concept contradicted the decision in 2012 to establish poverty eradication and inequality at the forefront of sustainable development. The road to Addis Ababa was not an exercise in mobilizing resources for financing climate change activities, which had its own track under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Additionally, any attempt to rewrite the Monterrey-Doha framework would be counterproductive. The report’s structure must be adjusted to support an Addis outcome document to be adopted in July 2015 that more closely resembled the fundamental chapters of the Monterrey-Doha outcome documents.
MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh), associating with the Group of 77, said that although the report presented important inputs, the Monterrey Consensus remained the most fundamental framework, as it contained the most comprehensive actions for financing sustainable development. It was critical to review its strengths and weaknesses in the lead-up of the Addis Conference. International cooperation should only be a supplement to national efforts. However, domestic resource mobilization could be difficult due to illicit trade. The ODA remained the most important system of financing but could not be the only reliable source of financing the ambitious agenda. A better solution should be found through public finance mechanisms. Climate change finance should be treated separately and should be adequate, new and additional.
SERGIO SHCHERBAKOV (Ecuador) stressed the importance of putting poverty eradication at the centre of negotiations on financing for development as it required political will. The report must recognize the various challenges in middle-income countries such as inequality and social exclusion. ODA remained key to achieving development goals. South-South cooperation was a supplement, and not a replacement, to North-South cooperation. States were, however, main actors in designing development policy.
FRANÇOIS GAVE (France), associating with the European Union, underlined that the report brought together experts from all regions, and they had reached a consensus on many proposals, which could be used and implemented by each country. Regarding the role of ODA, he said that was not sufficient to respond to the high number of needs, and it was therefore important to consider additional resources to finance sustainable development. He welcomed the fact that the report was based on the progress towards implementing the Rio+20 outcome and also recalled points from the Monterrey and Doha outcomes. France believed that the report would be a good complement to the Addis Conference.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin), speaking on behalf of the least developed countries, said that the report showed that global savings stood at $22 trillion, which was sufficient to meet the needs for sustainable development financing. The problem was inadequate allocation. Least developed countries received only less than 2 per cent of the direct foreign direct investment flow. Increased ODA for those countries were needed, he said, urging Member States to honour their commitments. His delegation was of the view that 50 per cent of ODA should go to least developed countries, which also expected concrete decisions on such key issues as technology transfer and trade at the upcoming international conference. Least developed countries needed targeted support to accelerate the achievement of their goals, he said, while calling for the support of the United Nations system in gaining access to climate financing.
TOMÁS PICO (Argentina), associating with the Group of 77, said that development financing played a key role in sustainable development. Doha and Monterrey presented the conceptual frameworks to mobilize resources for achieving sustainable development. Argentina agreed that a balance was needed between national and international resources. His country welcomed South-South cooperation as a supplement and not as a replacement for ODA. South-South cooperation was a collective effort, but he was concerned that the report identified a specific target for those countries of 10 per cent of ODA. The calculation was controversial, he said. The report also emphasized the need to elaborate novel financing measures, but that should not be imposed on anyone and should be discussed. The report, he said, put on equal footing the financing of the Economic and Social Council and the Alliance for Development, but the Council was an international forum, while the Alliance was not. His country therefore did not fully agree with that statement. In conclusion, Argentina was committed to participate in the post-2015 agenda for the eradication of poverty.