Secretary-General's opening remarks at press conference [scroll down for Q&A]
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 15 July 2015
I would like to reiterate my gratitude to the Government of Ethiopia for hosting the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.
This Conference has the potential to shape international cooperation for years to come.
A successful outcome is crucial for building trust and momentum towards the adoption of an ambitious post-2015 development agenda in New York in September and a universal agreement on climate change in December in Paris.
Since the Monterey Consensus in 2002, we have made great progress at the national and international levels in mobilizing financial and technical resources for development.
However, the gains have been uneven and new challenges have arisen.
This Conference is seeking to adopt a new global framework for financing the post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted in September.
Member States are in the final stages of their negotiations, with an agreement in sight.
I thank the many Heads of State and Government and Ministers who have come to Addis Ababa for their commitment to this effort. I also appreciate the participation of so many business leaders and civil society representatives.
This Conference shows the way forward – with Governments, international organizations, financial and trade institutions, business, and civil society all working together for sustainable development.
I am very encouraged by the strong momentum and ownership among all partners.
In addition, several new initiatives and commitments have been announced this week. These are an important pillar of the Conference outcome. More such announcements will come today and tomorrow, as well as in the weeks and months ahead.
Taken together, the results here in Addis Ababa can give us the foundation of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development that should leave no one behind.
I urge the negotiators to keep that goal in mind as they finish their work. I look forward to working with all partners to seize the opportunities of the months ahead and to build a world of prosperity and dignity for all.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you have spoken yesterday about statistics regarding HIV AIDS, there are some statistics regarding other MDG goals as well. Which one of the MDG goals are you concerned about in and want more emphasis in the SDGs to be achieved?
SG: As I said yesterday, MDG Goal 6 on reducing mortality caused by HIV/AIDS has achieved and in fact exceeded the goal. We have reduced the mortality more than 6 million people. That was quite encouraging, but even these goals are uneven depending up on the regions. All in all, the MDG goals have been quite successful particularly in reducing the number of abject poverty in half -- but again everybody understands that the MDG goals have not all been realized and all these MDG goals will be carried over to the Sustainable Development Goals.
The main theme of the Sustainable Development Goals will be people-centered and planet friendly. When we say people-centered, that means first and above all, we have to eliminate abject poverty by 2030. That’s number one priority. Member States have agreed that elimination of poverty should be the first and central purpose. Of course there are seventeen other Goals covering economic, social and environmental dimensions. So this is much broader, much more comprehensive sustainable development -- to make all of our lives sustainable, people and planet. Now the importance of this conference here in Addis Ababa is to support with a robust financial and technological framework. That’s the importance of this one, that’s why I have urged and I am urging again that the Member States will agree to an ambitious outcome document which will be known as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. I am confident that Member States will reach an agreement as soon as possible.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General the negotiations are blocking on the global tax body. Do you support the creation of a global tax body within the framework of the UN. It is I am quite sure a “yes or no” question.
SG: Member States have emphasized the importance of domestic resource mobilization and taxation during the negotiations for the current outcome document. As I understand that even as of this moment, the Member States are now concentrating their negotiations on how to have some mutually agreeable text, on this tax cooperation. The draft Addis Ababa Action Agenda in fact includes a number of important commitments to strengthen tax administration, and enhancing transparency, to address tax evasion and tax avoidance. In this context, the importance of this capacity building in developing countries is also critical. Strengthening the voice and representational of developing countries is very much important, in particular strengthening the United Nations Committee of Experts for international cooperation in tax matters. Now as this is at almost final stage of negotiation, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I leave it to negotiators. Thank you.
Q: Mr. Secretary-General I admire you, I report for the Independent on Sunday and also for Deutsche Welle. You are quick as Speedy Gonzalez, going from meeting to meeting, your mobilizing power is unparalleled. But you need to find 170 trillion dollars to cope with all these Sustainable Development Goals, and the states here don’t even have the billions they used to have so how do you turn billions into trillions?
SG: Yesterday you might have heard my statement in the side event whose title was “Billion to trillion.” This is a very important one. When we have seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, provisionally agreed by the Member States, and it will require a huge amount of resources, financial resources, and also we need technological resources, because we are living in a very transformative technologically development era. Without these Sustainable Development Goals maybe [they are] very fine ideas on print, for that we are very much serious. There is another very important area of climate change financing -- $100 billion by 2020 and thereafter annually $100 billion dollars. Now in that regard, it’s important that first of all, the governments, Member States of OECD should deliver the 0.7% of GNI as official development assistance. But at the same time, you should agree that it cannot be met by public fund, therefore we should have a very strengthened partnership with the business community, private sector. I am very much encouraged by such a strong commitment of the business communities that they are on board. The government, business communities and civil communities, they are now showing unity of purpose, show solidarity. They are ready. So we have a fully utilized and encouraged public sector to participate. There are many big companies who can mobilize trillions of dollars. These monies should be leveled by the public fund so therefore it’s important that political leaders of Member States should mobilize their national resources. Therefore, in this meeting, the importance of mobilization of national resources is now being emphasized. All this public fund and also support by the multilateral development banks -- starting from World Bank and IMF, there are many regional banks -- they should all get on board and leverage the public and private sectors. One important thing is that the governments and the United Nations should give, first of all, a broad and ambitious and future-oriented vision so that the business communities, they can go together in parallel with the government. In that regard, I’m sure that we can mobilize these trillion dollars -- billion to trillion dollars. Thank you very much.
Off-the-Cuff on 15 July 2015