Financing for development: Regional dimension critical on way to Addis Ababa and beyond


2015 is a landmark year, providing a historical opportunity to chart a new era of sustainable development. Mobilizing the required financing will be key to ensure that change actually happens. Financing needs are huge. Investment requirements in infrastructure only are estimated at $5-7 trillion annually.

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July will pave the way for a successful Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in New York in September and the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December. These three major events will shape international cooperation in the years to come.

Preparations for the Addis Ababa conference are entering a critical phase. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional UN Development Group for Europe and Central Asia organized a regional consultation in Geneva on 23 March to provide a regional input to the global negotiations, shortly after the release of the zero draft of the outcome document of this conference.

“Regional economic commissions will play an indispensable role in implementing the Addis outcome document and the post-2015 development agenda”

Mr. Wu Hongbo
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General and Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

The consultation was attended by around 150 participants, including experts and representatives of Governments, civil society, private sector and other international organizations. Michael Gerber, Ambassador, Special Envoy for Global Sustainable Development, Switzerland, who chaired the Consultation, urged to have “a frank exchange”’ on some of the key issues the Addis Ababa Conference needs to deliver on: “how to unlock private resources for sustainable development; how to create a conducive international environment for domestic resource mobilization; and how a renewed global partnership will look like”.

Geneva_consultation1Financing needs are huge, but as Manuel Sager, Secretary of State and Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, emphasized, “the money is there. Global savings by far surpass the needs to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the vast majority of these savings lying in private hands”.

What is required is to devise appropriate mechanisms and regulatory frameworks that can help channel these resources into meeting the SDGs. The UNECE region already has a wealth of experience on the mobilization of private sector resources, which provides a good foundation to tackle the financing challenges of the post-2015 development agenda.

The continued importance of Official development assistance (ODA) was stressed during the consultation but the question of financing for sustainable development should be framed in much broader terms. “Our ambition should be much larger than the ODA ambition. We need to ensure that all financial flows take into account and contribute to sustainable development needs” said UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach.

Appropriate regulations and instruments should cover not only finance but also trade, technology and all types of resources. Transparency and mutual trust are essential in these endeavours. Mr. Bach also drew attention to the need to “develop clear rules for public-private partnerships“ and stressed that the best practices and future standards developed by the UNECE PPP International Centre of Excellence can help realise the potential of PPPs to meet infrastructure and social services needs.

Geneva_consultation_MrWu_podiumWu Hongbo, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General and Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, underlined that “regional economic commissions will play an indispensable role in implementing the Addis outcome document and the post-2015 development agenda”. In addition, he acknowledged that countries from the UNECE region have always been major contributors to global development efforts.

In her special address to the regional consultation, Amina J. Mohammed, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, paid tribute to the history of the UNECE region in “bridging and resolving differences”. Strong regional cooperation would also be necessary in the “new and fundamental transition to sustainable development”.

The importance of following-up on any commitments made was stressed during the consultation. For this, effective monitoring and mutual accountability are necessary at the national, regional and global levels. The regional level, in particular, can make a critical contribution to capacity-building, experience sharing and peer-learning, which are essential components of an effective monitoring and accountability framework.

Source: UN Economic Commission for Europe

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