High-level Conference in Qatar concludes with “Doha Messages” on financing sustainable development
The High-level Conference on Financing for Development and the Means of Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was organized by the State of Qatar in cooperation with UN DESA, concluded on 19 November. After two days of stimulating discussions, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, presented a set of ten “Doha Messages” aimed at strengthening the coherence and cooperation for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development.
The two-day Conference attracted more than 100 high-level participants representing 58 countries from all regions of the world. Representatives of international financial institutions, the private sector, civil society and academia were also present. In the spirit of the Conference, multilateralism was identified as the fundamental basis for the achieving peaceful and sustainable development.
H.E. Dr. Ahmad Hassan Al-Hamadi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Qatar, reaffirmed that “the State of Qatar is determined to strengthen international efforts to achieve the objectives sought by the international community.” Recalling the success of the Second International Conference on Financing for Development follow-up, which was held in Doha in 2008, he stated that “Qatar is proud to be associated with several international conferences and declarations that demonstrate its commitment and adherence to international cooperation to meet current and emerging challenges.”
While the ministerial round tables on the first day of the Conference provided a diverse set of country experiences, there was a general agreement on the central role of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Agenda for the achievement of the SDGs. To meet the enormous financing needs of the common goals, a mix of all available resources – public and private, domestic and international – will be required.
Participants stressed that domestic resource mobilization for long-term development does not have to come at the cost of urgent short-term needs. National development banks, as well as blended finance, have strong potential to address shortfalls in current funding. In addition, international development cooperation remains essential to support those most in need and those furthest behind. Engaging all relevant stakeholders is critical.
On the second day, the Conference called to scale up investments in water and energy infrastructure, while ensuring resource efficiency and environmental resource management. A special focus was placed on the underutilized potential of sovereign wealth funds. Participants also identified the need to address the specific challenges of cities, which are at the forefront of implementing many SDGs. Considering the regional context, participants developed recommendations how to strengthen the contribution of Islamic Finance to the SDGs.
In concluding, USG Liu highlighted the key role of the United Nations in supporting Member States to achieve the SDGs and to address the full range of interrelated challenges. He reiterated UN DESA’s full support to the process. Dr. Ahmad Hassan Al-Hamadi of Qatar emphasized that “the ten ‘Doha Messages’ will be an important milestone that will feed into the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up and the High-level Political Forum in 2018.”