Nelson Mandela International Day - 18 July

The home stretch

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Three days after the start of the financing for development conference in Ethiopia, we are in the home stretch. Negotiations on a draft text entered their final stages on Wednesday. 

There is a sense of urgency in the air as I walk the halls of the UNECA building that is hosting the encounter. Several people are either in booths holding one-on-one or group meetings, with others busy on their laptops making changes to documents or dictating edits over the phone. It's a beehive of activity and apart from the sporadic drops in Wi-fi, the event organizers have been able to avoid chaos.

The meeting is vital for the future sustainable development agenda and if successful, could shape international cooperation for years to come, hinted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a press briefing. 

The draft outcome document will be known as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. If adopted, it will include concrete policy commitments in at least six crucial areas, including investment, taxation, technology, gender equality and preserving the environment.

Meanwhile, several initiatives and commitments are in the works. This afternoon, the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) together with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) held a side event to discuss leveraging pension funds for financing infrastructure development in Africa. 

Mr Ban told reporters that he was very encouraged by the "strong momentum and ownership of all partners."

I was just impressed by the "ownership" part, it truly feels like the participants from Africa are taking charge and strategizing. With a few hours to go before the end, most people will be working late into the night.