Volume 19, No.07 - July 2015

Feature articles

Final push for milestone event to finance development

With only two weeks to go, preparations have been stepped up considerably for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development to be held in Addis Ababa. “I urge you to keep in mind that Addis presents a historic opportunity – one that we cannot afford to miss,” said Conference Secretary-General Wu Hongbo as the final session of negotiations kicked off mid-June with the goal to complete the outcome document ahead of the Conference.

“There are a number of proposals and ideas on the table that are truly transformative”, Mr. Wu continued. “They should meet the high hopes and expectations that we all have […] We need to ensure an ambitious and meaningful Conference outcome for the future of the people and planet,” he stressed.

“Your challenging task is to formulate a holistic financing framework for sustainable development that is commensurate in ambition and scope with the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs,” Mr. Wu added. “Only then will the Addis Conference put us on a path to success for the summit in New York in September and for COP 21 in Paris in December.”

Unlocking investments for global good

MrWu_TVstudioWith the right financing and the right policies, we can achieve our aspirations to end extreme poverty by 2030. The event in the Ethiopian capital kicking off on 13 July is all about mobilizing the means to make the difference in people’s lives.

And resources are needed. Estimates of annual investment requirements in for example infrastructure — water, agriculture, telecoms, power, transport, buildings, industrial and forestry sectors — amount to $5 to $7 trillion globally. UNCTAD has also estimated that the total investment needs in developing countries amounts to $3.3-4.5 trillion annually, with current investment at $1.4 trillion implying an investment gap of $1.9-3.1 trillion per year.

Yet, the real issue is not the lack of resources. The knowledge and money to finance sustainable development do exist. The main challenge is to channel these resources to areas and sectors of greatest need to improve people’s wellbeing. All actors must take their responsibility and rise to the challenge.

All sources of finance will be required. “We are really trying to encourage all the donor countries, both in the OECD and outside, to take a very serious look at what they’ve been doing in providing official development assistance and trying to scale up their efforts to meet their commitments as early as possible,” Mr. Wu said in a UNTV interview ahead of the Conference. “Recently, we have noticed that the European Union has committed itself again to the 0.7 per cent target [of the GNI], and this is very positive.”

In addition to ODA (Official Development Assistance), the need for private, domestic and international sources of finance has also been stressed. But money alone will not be sufficient.  “Trade, debt, governance, capacity building, technology, and innovation are also part of the package to be adopted in Addis Ababa,” Mr. Wu explained.

Commitments platform launched

voluntarycommitmentsAhead of the Conference, an online platform has been launched encouraging governments, organizations, businesses and other stakeholders to register voluntary commitments and initiatives to help unlock and secure resources for global good.

The platform is accessible via the Conference website and it aims to capture all commitments to be announced in the lead up to and at the Conference itself, including during side events and other fora. The submissions will be published on the website of the Conference on a rolling basis.

By registering new initiatives and commitments publicly, the hope is that the visibility and predictability of the implementation of the Conference outcome document will increase. It will further allow all stakeholders to coordinate their efforts and forge new partnerships.

Busy conference schedule in Ethiopian capital

delegates_handbookIntense days await in the Ethiopian capital when the event kicks off on 13 July and runs through 16 July. Bringing together world leaders, the Conference aims to launch a renewed and strengthened global partnership to finance people-centered sustainable development and to ensure that resources go where they are needed most to promote economic prosperity and improve health, education and employment opportunities while protecting the environment.

The event will gather a great number of Heads of State and Government, Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation. In addition, it will bring together a large number of high-level UN officials along with representatives from the World Bank, IMF, WTO, UNCTAD and UNDP, as well as civil society and the business sector. All in all, some 7,000 participants are expected to descend in Addis Ababa to participate in the Conference.

In addition to the official programme, including plenary meetings and roundtable discussions, the Conference will feature international civil society and business forums, as well as more than 200 side events. To follow the event remotely, UNTV will broadcast most of the sessions live (except side events) and news stories from the event will also be made available via the UN News Centre and on DESA’s website.

Before departing for Addis Ababa, Mr. Wu will provide further updates on this milestone event at a press briefing scheduled for 7 July at UN Headquarters. This briefing will be broadcast live via UN Webcast.

The full length UNTV video interview with Mr. Wu will be available shortly on the website of UN Web TV (see the link provided below).

Third International Conference on Financing for Development

VIDEO: What are the key deliverables in Addis?


UN DESA’s website

UN News Centre

2015 – Time for Global Action


Final MDG report evaluates most successful anti-poverty movement in history


The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been hailed as the most successful anti-poverty movement in history. On 6 July, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will officially launch the final report of the MDGs, summarizing the progress and highlighting the achievements of this monumental effort over the last 15 years. The report will also pinpoint areas that require further attention through the post-2015 development agenda.

Global push accelerated development progress

Evidence shows that the global Goals worked. They galvanized the entire global community to address the most pressing issues at the beginning of the Millennium, centered in lifting people from extreme poverty and improving the lives of those most disadvantaged. “The MDG experience provides compelling evidence that the international community can be mobilized to confront complex challenges. Governments, civil society and a wide range of international actors coalesced behind the MDGs in a multi-front battle against poverty and disease,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“The MDG experience provides compelling evidence that the international community can be mobilized to confront complex challenges”

Ban Ki-moon
UN Secretary-General

They served as a framework for local, national, regional and global monitoring of development progress resulting in remarkable gains. In many parts of the world, especially in the poorest countries, the MDGs helped accelerate progress to improve the lives of millions. Their importance has been paramount for development.

For fifteen years, the global community and national governments have worked extensively in an effort to end poverty and hunger, eliminate inequalities, improve education, reduce child and maternal mortality, stem the tide of environmental degradation, reduce the rise of diseases and forge global partnerships. Remarkable gains have been made in the reduction of extreme poverty, increasing primary education access in the developing regions, ensuring gender parity in schools, improving health and disease outcomes and access to improved sources of water.

MDG_imageMDGs measured the world

The collection and analysis of data through the MDGs has served as a solid foundation to build decisions at local, national and regional levels, benefiting future development. Measurement of development over more than a decade has highlighted the challenges many countries face in gathering information needed for policy decisions. In order to build a cadre of available data for policy makers for sustainable development, sustainable statistics will be necessary.

“The MDGs have been incredibly important for statistics, launching tremendous efforts to build capacity worldwide for data collection and use in policy making, monitoring and evaluation. This work will be crucial to tackle the challenges yet to come for the monitoring of an  even broader development agenda,” said Stefan Schweinfest, Director of UN DESA’s Statistics Division. The final MDG report highlights the importance of data for development and advances in data collection and monitoring due to the MDGs. The report also identifies what needs to be done to meet the data demands for the post-2015 development agenda.

Final assessment and foundation for the post-2015 development agenda

“The MDGs have been incredibly important for statistics, launching tremendous efforts to build capacity worldwide for data collection and use in policy making, monitoring and evaluation”

Stefan Schweinfest
Director of UN DESA’s Statistics Division

As the MDGs are reaching their deadline, there is reason to celebrate the successes of the global alliance that emerged in 2000 aiming to ensure a better world. While 2015 is vastly different than the start of the Millennium, the development issues enshrined in the MDGs remain integral to ensuring healthy, prosperous lives for many throughout the world. They have not lost their importance even as we grapple with new contexts and challenges in today’s world. This is why they will remain important beyond the expiration date at the end of 2015. The successes and shortfalls in this historic movement will form a solid foundation for the following development agenda.

The post-2015 development agenda will benefit from the lessons learned throughout the MDG experience. A new development period will focus on where we’ve left off after 15 years of worldwide efforts and the new challenges at the forefront of the global agenda. “We have the know-how and the means to address these challenges. These are universal challenges. They demand new heights of multilateral action based on evidence and built on shared values, principles, and priorities for a common destiny,” said Mr. Ban.

Without a doubt, the MDGs have shown that improvements and substantial gains can be made when the global community sets aspirational priorities. The final MDG report highlights the achievements made through this historic effort, culminating in the improvement of the lives of millions.

Stay tuned for the launch event which will take place on Monday 6 July at 10:15 am EDT. The launch will be broadcast live via UN Web TV.

For more information:

UN Millennium Development Goals 

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015 (will be available on 6 July)


United Nations rewards most innovative public service initiatives


After a week-long event, the UN Public Service Forum culminated with the UN Public Service Award Ceremony honoring 22 institutions from 18 countries. “By addressing the underlying needs of their population like education, healthcare and a safe and sustainable environment, these initiatives will act as catalysts and unleash the dreams of their citizens to channel their true potential,” said Lenni Montiel, UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development as he acknowledged the winners.

“The awards highlight many innovations that help to provide better services to citizens everywhere in the world and improve people’s lives,” said Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General ahead of the event. “It provides an international platform to showcase some of the best examples of effective public governance.”

The celebration of the winning institutions, honored with the United Nations Public Service Award for providing innovative public services at the Award Ceremony, was preceded by the UN Public Service Forum and Day, taking place in Medellin, Colombia, from 22 to 26 June. The theme of the forum was “Innovating service delivery to implement the post-2015 development agenda”.

Rewarding a wide range of projects worldwide

This year, the UN has awarded institutions that are working across diverse fields. Despite working in different sectors, “…these institutions have demonstrated a strong commitment to the principles of transparency, accountability and participatory governance”, said Mr. Montiel at the Awards Ceremony.

Various initiatives worldwide were honored, ranging from projects providing easier access to health services for high-risk pregnancies in Thailand to poor marginalized populations in Indonesia, or promoting gender equality in Spain or France, to providing education to youth with special needs in the Philippines. Other examples of awardees include projects to improve access to sanitary toilets in India, providing solar energy to poor households in the Republic of Korea, monitoring and governing temporary settlements for displaced people in Turkey, and creating housing units in Ethiopia.

“By addressing the underlying needs of their population like education, healthcare and a safe and sustainable environment, these initiatives will act as catalysts and unleash the dreams of their citizens to channel their true potential”

Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development

First-place winners include institutions from Kenya, India, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Spain, Singapore, Thailand, Estonia, Ecuador and United Arab Emirates. Second-place winners include institutions from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, Latvia, Thailand and France.

Better cooperation and government capacity

The aim of the Forum is to promote international and regional cooperation by providing government officials and other stakeholders an opportunity to exchange good practices, experiences and lessons learned through networking.

It also helps to build the capacity of governments, particularly in developing and Least Developed Countries, to anticipate and respond in innovative ways to the challenges posed by the implementation of the new development agenda.

An estimated 800 participants from all over the world have attend the Forum this year, including Ministers, senior government officials, and representatives from civil society, academia, and the private sector, as well as international and regional organizations. The Forum was organized around plenary sessions, as well as parallel capacity development workshops with several roundtable discussions, and other events including an Expert Group Meeting, exhibitions and study visits.

The Forum and Awards were hosted by the Government of the Republic of Colombia and organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in partnership with UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

On 23 June, the UN Public Service Day was also celebrated. “On this Public Service Day, I thank all public servants for their daily efforts to make a difference. I also call upon young people everywhere to consider dedicating themselves to the noble cause of public service as we strive to build a future of dignity of all”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the day.

For more information:

UN Public Service Forum, Day and Award Ceremony