In case you missed it Vol 21, No. 12 - December 2017

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, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General 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.

As the first joint preparatory meeting for the 2018 ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum) and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the Conference served to strengthen the coherence and coordination of these follow-up mechanisms.

Mr. Liu highlighted that the Conference “tested a new approach to support the global follow-up and review mechanisms, one that combines both financing for development and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We built a bridge that connects policy-makers and other stakeholders.”

During the ministerial round tables on the first day of the Conference, there was a general agreement on the key role of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Agenda for the achievement of the SDGs. Participants emphasized that financing the SDGs will require a mix of all available sources of finance – domestic and international, public and private. In addition, they agreed that the SDGs can create new business opportunities, which will balance profitability and sustainability.

On the second day, the Conference discussed the SDGs selected for in-depth review at the 2018 HLPF. Participants called for scaling up investments in water and energy infrastructure, while ensuring resource efficiency and environmental resource management.

A dedicated session focused on the underutilized potential of sovereign wealth funds. The meeting also addressed the specific challenges of cities, which are at the forefront of implementing many SDGs, and elaborated on the role of science, technology and innovation in the context of ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns and the protection of terrestrial ecosystems. Considering the regional context, participants developed recommendations on how to strengthen the contribution of Islamic finance to the SDGs.

At the closing session, Mr. Liu presented the ten “Doha Messages” from the Conference. It was recognized that the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Agenda had spurred an unprecedented shift in the governance of the economy, the environment and the society within and across countries. Sharing of national experiences was considered crucial for a tighter connection between local knowledge and global norm-setting.

It was further stressed that domestic resource mobilization for long-term development did 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, including meeting the ODA commitments, remains essential to support those most in need and to foster the continued dialogue among all stakeholders.

Mr. Liu reiterated that the ten “Doha Messages” will feed into the preparations for the third ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development and the High-level Political Forum in 2018. He concluded that the United Nations has a key role to play in supporting Member States to realize the vision reinforced by the “Doha Messages”, as well as in addressing the full range of interrelated challenges.

For more information:

High-level Conference on Financing for Development and the Means of Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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