ADDIS ABABA, 14 July — Developing countries were committed to resolving their development challenges but required “space and autonomy” to mobilize domestic resources, senior officials attending the Third International Conference on Financing for Development said today, pressing partner countries to honour — or surpass — overdue assistance pledges and revitalize cooperation so they could catalyse genuine change in the post-2015 era.
Throughout the day, speakers said developing countries — especially the poorest — faced high unemployment, heavy debt burdens and trade constraints, which hindered sustained growth and social well-being. That was especially true for small island developing States, which — with compounded challenges of small size, isolation and narrow resource bases — could not be expected to mobilize domestic resources.
Official development assistance (ODA), many said, remained a crucial source for financing basic health, infrastructure and energy needs. After years of declines, it had surged beyond pre-financial crisis levels and its catalytic role in mobilizing public and private financing must be fully exploited. Without it, said Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister, least developed countries would be caught in a “downward spiral”.
In that context, the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development of Malawi cited the “constant argument” over the adequacy of ODA, which developing countries said was insufficient and developed nations said was not being efficiently used. While welcoming domestic resource mobilization as central to the new agenda, he urged States to “tread carefully” on the targeted 20 per cent of tax-to-gross domestic product ratio as a threshold, above which countries were considered to not need technical assistance.
While Governments fully embraced their primary responsibility for national development, “that acceptance does not absolve international partners from their responsibility to complement national efforts”, said the Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Zimbabwe. African countries took their development responsibilities seriously, having adopted the Agenda 2063, which prioritized infrastructure, among other things critical to transforming economies.
The Minister of Finance of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, pressed developed countries to show leadership and commitment in a “revitalized” global partnership. South-South cooperation was a complement to North-South cooperation and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities must be upheld.
At the same time, it was important to change how development assistance was used, several speakers said, with Norway’s Minister for Foreign Affairs explaining that investments in developing countries would materialize only if Governments worked with the private sector. Aid must be used to leverage funds from many sources and enable the private sector, and Governments must do their part by creating a transparent and accountable environment for inclusive growth.
The Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development of the European Union added that Europe already was the world’s most open market for developing countries’ exports and collectively provided more than half of global ODA. It was committed to achieving the 0.7 per cent rate within the post-2015 agenda, dedicating 1.15 per cent to 0.2 per cent of that to least developed countries in the short term and continually designing additional, innovative financing mechanisms.
Other speakers underscored that domestic resources, used efficiently, were primary financing sources, as they generated the most direct, reliable impacts on national development. They agreed that enabling environments were needed for their mobilization. The overall goal, said Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, was to create an environment in which assistance was no longer needed. Domestic resource mobilization was a critical part of that effort, as was reducing the cost of remittance transfers and access to affordable sustainable energy.
Also speaking in the general debate today were ministers and other senior officials from Slovakia, Tuvalu, Italy, Serbia, Ecuador (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), United States, China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Uganda, Kuwait, Cambodia, Morocco, Panama, United Republic of Tanzania, Nigeria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mozambique, Republic of Korea, Guatemala, Libya, Poland, Nicaragua, Latvia, Japan, United Kingdom, Botswana, Gabon, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, Croatia, Fiji, Samoa, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Gambia and Colombia. A senior official from the Observer State of Palestine also spoke.
The Conference will continue in Addis Ababa at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 15 July.
ALEXANDER DE CROO, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Post and Telecom of Belgium, said that every year that people were living in extreme poverty was a lost year. “Let’s make this year different,” he said. To support one global agenda of equitable sustainable development, resources should be focused, first and foremost, on the least developed and fragile States, to which Belgium directed over half its official development assistance (ODA). The whole world would pay a heavy price if those States were not assisted. In addition, a wide range of resources must be mobilized; domestic tax bases must be broadened and the money must be well directed to such necessities as education and good governance. There could be no sustainable development without transparency. His country and the European community stood ready to assist in ensuring proper flows of funds. The transition from the informal to formal economy must also be prioritized, as should the opportunities presented by the digital revolution, which must be turned into a “development revolution” with the possibilities for the people-centred societies it offered.
ALI BABACAN, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, affirmed the importance of a strong outcome and welcomed the comprehensive and transformative approach offered by the draft Addis action agenda. Also pleased with the holding of the Conference in Africa, he said that enhancing cooperation with African nations was among Turkey’s top international priorities. Creating the conditions to attract financing for development was presently the most important endeavour. ODA remained the most important source of development financing for many countries, particularly the least developed; Turkey’s ODA commitments were rising steadily in past years. He pledged it would continue to honour the Istanbul Programme of Action, the review of which would be held next June. As an emerging donor, his country had learned the value of partnerships and was currently carrying out hundreds of projects in 120 partner countries. The long-term objective, it had learned, was to create an environment where assistance was no longer needed. Domestic resource mobilization was a critical part of that effort as was reducing the cost of remittance transfers and access to affordable sustainable energy.
MIROSLAV LAJČÁK, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, fully supported the Secretary-General’s call for transformative action to support the post-2015 agenda. Slovakia had agreed to the European policies of minimum ODA and favourable trade with developing countries. As it evolved from a recipient to donor country, it had learned that ODA was critical in addition to mobilizing domestic revenues. In its efforts, Slovakia had much experience with managing taxes and, for that reason, strongly supported international tax cooperation. Among other instruments, mixed grant and loan programmes were important. In addition, non-financial goods such as governance and accountability were key enablers of development. Accountability must also be built into the framework and every country must carry out its respective responsibilities to the world’s citizens and environment. “Mutual accountability is a must,” he said.
MAATIA TOAFA, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Tuvalu, said his country must be treated as a special case for development in view of the “unique and particular” vulnerabilities linked to its small size, lack of natural resources and remoteness, which hindered its ability to meet sustainable development goals. Such challenges required an enhanced global partnership, provision of resources from all sources, trade facilitation and the transfer of affordable, modern technology. It was unrealistic to expect small island developing States to focus on domestic resource mobilization, making it critical that ODA was implemented across the three sustainable development pillars. At the same time, ODA and partnerships must adhere to national priorities. Structural trade barriers hindered small island developing States’ access to global markets, and, thus, the Conference outcome must include a commitment to spare no effort to conclude the Doha round of trade negotiations. Expressing support for traditional and innovative approaches to promote debt sustainability, he said the Tuvalu Trust Fund should be supported by donors through a “development lens”.
MATTEO RENZI, Prime Minister of Italy, agreed that 2015 would be a “seminal year” for development, amid complex social, political and economic challenges. “We need to ask ourselves who is lagging behind and ask whether the Millennium Development Goal agenda is fulfilled,” he said. The Conference, a first step towards a more ambitious new framework, constituted a new international deal where resources, experiences and cultures must be pooled. Noting that Italy could be a bridge between Africa and Europe, he said the country understood solidarity, having saved the lives of thousands of migrants who had come from the continent’s northern shores. The real challenge in Africa was to create new jobs — and a new perspective of hope — for those escaping poverty, conflict and persecution. “We widen our ties and straighten our cooperation,” he said, urging that the root causes that forced people to leave be addressed. Investment in African small and medium–sized enterprises would be an important strategy for the coming decades.
He said Italy was committed to creating a common future, having increased in the last two years its ODA. “I am committed to continue this direction,” he said, noting that the next budget would contain a radical change. Last month, Italy had hosted an African least developed countries conference, as well as a ministerial conference of small island developing States. Italy’s partners required help in tax matters, social policies, and in creating the conditions for increased access to water and food. Italy would establish a promotional bank to support small-and medium-sized enterprises, he said, noting that a new law recognized the broad range of development actors.
KORI UDOVICKI, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self Government of Serbia, said resources must be mobilized from all sources — national and international, public and private — and blended, and innovative financing sources must be engaged as well. Investment in technological change and globalization had opened the possibility for large swathes of developing country populations to expect they would be able to consume as much as the populations of developed ones, within the foreseeable future. That promise would be derailed if not placed on a sustainable path. Gender equality and the creation of inclusive societies must be accomplished, and she looked forward to joining hands in more South-South cooperation in that regard.
She said that in Serbia, a middle-income country, 35 per cent of the population was employed. And yet, global savings amounted to $22 trillion and global assets to $212 trillion. Liquidity was high in most developed country banks. Indeed, unemployment — and many other development challenges — was largely a governance problem. Each country must do its utmost to create an enabling environment that encouraged investment, trade and technology transfer, and Serbia was focusing on regional stability, macroeconomic balance and public administration reform. The commitments to grant 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to ODA were overdue.
NHLANHLA NENE, Minister of Finance of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, expressed deep concern about illicit financial flows and reaffirmed commitments made in the Rio+20 outcome in that regard. He urged the United Nations to pay attention to the 2015 African Union summit outcome on illicit financial flows, which should be replicated in other regions so that agreements could be forged to cap those flows at origin, transit and destination points. Also, technical and capacity-building assistance should be provided so countries could enjoy the benefits of sustainable natural resources extraction. Reiterating the importance of North-South cooperation, which underpinned the global partnership for development, he called on States to embrace a “spirit of social inclusion”. South-South cooperation should not absolve developed countries from fulfilling their ODA commitments. Rather, it should be guided by the principles of national sovereignty, ownership, non-conditionality and non-interference in internal affairs, and complement North-South cooperation. He stressed the importance of common but differentiated responsibilities in that regard.
The Conference outcome, he added, should embrace high-quality deliverables and resemble the scope of both the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration. The traditional definition of ODA also should be maintained, as should the separation between the financing for development track and the sustainable development goals. The committee on tax matters should be upgraded to an intergovernmental entity.
NEVEN MIMICA, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development of the European Union, pledged that Europe would play its part in implementing the coming universal sustainable development agenda at home and worldwide, with a particular focus on those countries most in need. Europe already was the most open market in the world for developing countries’ exports and collectively provided more than half of global ODA. It was committed to achieving the 0.7 per cent rate within the framework of the post-2015 agenda, dedicating 1.15 per cent to 0.2 per cent of that to least developed countries in the short term and continually developing other, innovative financing mechanisms. The Union would also make sure that at least 20 per cent of its spending addressed climate change objectives.
On the draft outcome document, he welcomed the inclusion of issues of human rights, gender equality, peace and justice. Some elements of the text were problematic, but the Union would accept it as it stood in the spirit of compromise and to ensure the success of the Conference. It was time to move forward to harness all resources and other means available to drive sustainable development and poverty eradication in an integrated, comprehensive and universal manner, in which all contributed their fair share, he stressed.
CECILIA VACA JONES, Coordinating Minister for Social Development of Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said affirmed that at the achievement of sustainable development depended largely on the design and effective implementation of economic, social and environmental policies at the national level, with the support of the international community. Adequate political space and an enabling global environment were also critical. The outcome document must include key deliverables, including concrete elements of an action plan of cooperation with middle-income countries, a follow-up mechanism for the entire financing process, the strengthening of the United Nations committee of experts on tax matters, positioning of private and innovate finance as complementary to and not a replacement of other funding sources, reform of the international financial system and reaffirmation of the need to conclude the Doha round of trade talks, as well as fulfilment of ODA commitments at the rate of 0.7 per cent of GDP. Also critical was further support for South-South cooperation and a holistic strategy to address the needs of the poorest countries.
In her national capacity, she aligned with the statement made by the Group of 77 and China, and stressed that the State was the key player in the global partnership for sustainable development and described Ecuador’s national strategy for gender equality and poverty eradication.
JACOB LEW, Treasury Secretary of the United States, said his country was committed to financing for development by mobilizing three essential streams more effectively — domestic resources, ODA and private investment. He underlined that in too many places access to opportunity was not equally distributed. States that lacked viable institutions with accountability to citizens were another cause for concern. Pledging support for the Addis Ababa tax initiative, he noted his country’s cooperation with African partners to fight illicit cross-border flows. The United States, he added, was also proud to have historically been the largest bilateral provider of ODA and was committed to focusing resources where they were needed most and had the greatest impact; the country had spent some 50 per cent of ODA on the poorest and most fragile States since 2009.
He said that ODA was most effective, however, when it was used to leverage increased investments by others, including the private sector. For example, he pointed to his country’s initiative called Power Africa, which provided various forms of support to increase reliable access to electricity and had leveraged more than $20 billion in commitments from private-sector partners. The country was also supporting the smart deployment of science, technology and data, and promoting the empowerment of women, who must be recognized as key drivers of economic growth. Supporting the draft outcome document, he encouraged moving now to the next step – “translating the financing for development framework into action that creates transformative change”.
LOU JIWEI, Minister of Finance of China, noting formidable challenges facing developing countries, said that an ambitious post-2015 agenda must be supported by effective and independent financing cooperation. North-South cooperation should remain the basis, along with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. Timetables for fulfilment of ODA commitments at the 0.7 per cent rate were critical, with the poorest and most fragile States prioritized. South-South cooperation should be seen as a growing and important complement to such assistance, and innovative financing should move forward gradually, tailored to national conditions. Development banks should create innovate strategies that included multi-partner initiatives. In addition, the international financial system should be reformed in favour of stability and transparency. Regional initiatives were also important, as was technology transfer.
China, he said, had pursued reform of its economy to lift more than 600 million of its people out of poverty, and had scaled up assistance to other countries through South-South aid, investment and technology sharing. Among numerous initiatives, China was providing the basis for a South-South fund and was fortifying development banks. A fair, inclusive and sustainable post-2015 development agenda was the goal, he affirmed.
IBRAHIM ABDULAZIZ AL-ASSAF, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia, said traditional development finance should not be confused with climate finance, as the latter should come from new and additional sources. “We need innovative new approaches” as part of the overall commitment in that regard. While multilateral development banks would have a central role in designing and delivering projects, ODA also would be important, especially for the poorest countries. Resources must be mobilized from all possible sources — domestic and international, public and private, including private philanthropy. Each country would need to play its part, in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The traditional definition of ODA was still relevant and pledges to allocate 0.7 per cent of GNI to ODA should be fulfilled. Innovative financing mechanisms would also play a role, he said, citing the Islamic Development Bank in that regard.
He said his country dispensed humanitarian and other aid to developing countries through various channels, including regional and multilateral development banks. It was the second largest source of outward remittances, with more than $41 billion in 2014. Those remittances contributed to poverty eradication and supported the balance of payment in recipient countries.
IMAD NAJIB FAKHOURY, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Jordan, said the costs of achieving sustainable development commitments far exceeded current ODA levels and existing funding mechanisms. ODA was critical for both low- and middle-income countries. As such, development aid and other official flows must work smarter and help countries leverage all financing sources. Greater collaboration among donors, Governments, the private sector, civil society and international financial institutions was also needed. He urged tapping into all traditional and non-traditional sources: ODA, public and private, global, national, and subnational. Those funds should be used to, among other things, mobilize additional resources and mitigate risk. Private flows, such as foreign direct investment, must be catalysed, while private finance should be incentivized through supportive business regulatory environments and sound macroeconomic frameworks. Domestic resource mobilization should be enhanced, as should project preparation capacities.
He urged the international community to increase ODA allocations to 1 per cent of GNI by 2020, improve the eligibility criteria for middle-income and transition countries to access highly concessional and innovative financing tools, promote blended financing, and combine financing for development with stronger policy guidance.
MATIA KASAIJA, Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development of Uganda, associating with the Group of 77, said outcome document negotiations had been “long and demanding” but equally “rich and rewarding”. An inclusive private sector played a central role in sustainable development, as both the means and the end of financing for development — whether through the taxes Governments collected, the funds they borrowed, the savings banks lent or the funds households spent. As such, financing for development must speak to the “things that mattered” to households and businesses across their sizes, locations, generations and gender structures. Financing the post-2015 agenda required a fraction of the $218 trillion of the global financial asset stock. To strengthen partnership, international financial institutions and multilateral development banks should lower the cost of investment finance. Mechanisms for increasing access to less expensive infrastructure project finance must be agreed, while those that promoted respect for Africa’s policy space must be supported. Finally, the Conference must send a strong political message on the need to advance free and fair trade, technology transfer and innovation.
GOODALL EDWARD GONDWE, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development of Malawi, offering a least developed country perspective, said all sources of development finance must come into play in the agenda negotiations. As co-chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, he stressed that developing countries should be in the driving seat of development efforts. They were committed to resolving their development challenges. “We need the space and autonomy to mobilize national resources,” he said, noting that when differences arose and partners became supervisors, Governments resented it. To avoid such situations, he called for genuine equal partnership. A weak point of the Millennium Development Goals was the “constant argument” over the adequacy of ODA, which developing countries said was insufficient for achieving the Goals, and developed nations expressed concern at the efficiency of its use. While welcoming domestic resource mobilization as central to the implementation of the sustainable development goals, he urged States to “tread carefully” on the targeted 20 per cent of tax-to-gross domestic product ratio as a threshold above which countries were considered to have sufficient resources and not need technical assistance. He advocated better collaboration to strengthen tax systems, exploring options for widening the base to include the informal sector, and considering a proposal to increase taxes on tobacco.
HIND SUBAIH BARRAK AL-SUBAIH, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour and Minister of State for Planning and Development Affairs of Kuwait, called for concerted efforts to avoid financial crises and support universal implementation of the post-2015 agenda through international cooperation according to the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and incorporating ODA commitments. She pledged her country’s commitment to support such goals. Classified as a high-income developing country, Kuwait had hosted a number of conferences and was providing loans and grants to developing countries to improve infrastructure and services there. It would continue to provide ODA and other support to vulnerable countries; it was important that industrialized States follow through on their ODA commitments, transfer technology, and encourage direct investment and an equitable economic system, including increased access to international markets. She welcomed United Nations’ efforts to create multi-sectoral partnerships in order to achieve development goals and support efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
PORNMONIROTH AUN, Minister of Economy and Finance of Cambodia, fully supported the draft Addis Ababa action agenda, and called for its consensus adoption. Most important to his country was the need to strengthen domestic public finance and revenue mobilization, for which his country was proceeding with reforms with support from partners. Promoting the private sector as the engine of growth was also critical, through strengthened infrastructure, education, technology and integration into regional and global value chains. In such areas, continued support to newly graduated middle-income countries, such as Cambodia, was crucial. He, therefore, endorsed the proposed review of low-income graduation criteria to go beyond simple per capita income. As a country highly vulnerable to climate change, access to resources through the Green Climate Fund was particularly important and he urged simpler and faster disbursement processes. While thanking those countries that had honoured their ODA commitments, he added that the Conference was an opportunity to reaffirm the 0.7 per cent commitment.
MOHAMED BOUSSAID, Minister of Economy and Finance of Morocco, stressed the need to consolidate the gains spurred by the Monterrey and Doha conferences through their reinforcement by new and innovative measures and an approach based on solidarity, participation and common goals. Due attention must be paid to increasing official aid through equitable and fair distribution, particularly for least developed and fragile countries. Mobilization of domestic resources through a constant review of strategies to improve tax and public financial systems and through public-private partnerships was also important. Innovative financing, in the manner suggested in the Marrakesh Consensus of 2014, was another critical element, as was support for technology transfer and combatting illicit financial flows. In all such efforts, it was crucial to respect the specificities of each country, as well as their chosen development model and allow their ownership of the development process. Concluding, he emphasized the importance of support to developing countries that helped them to confront the increase in radical movements, extremism, violence and terrorism.
DULCIDIO DE LA GUARDIA, Minister of Economy and Finance of Panama, associating with the Group of 77 and China, said that in order to support an equitable and sustainable future, it was of the utmost importance to respect the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities. As a country transitioning from middle- to high-income, he was pleased that distinct references to such countries had been maintained in the draft outcome document. Panama was committed to contributing to a transformational global partnership by, for example, showcasing its capacity to attract private investment. In the 15 years since it recovered full sovereignty over the Panama Canal, its comparative advantage — its geographical position — had enabled it to find new niches of competiveness and strategically use them to reduce poverty. However, like other middle-income countries, there were still pockets of inequality, which the Government was addressing. Panama had demonstrated cooperation on tax matters and other international concerns, and so it was disappointed that some of its partners continued to include it on discriminatory lists. It worked hard to ensure that all international agreements were reciprocal and symmetrical and it was not receptive to being deputized to assist in one-way tax collection efforts. It stood by its right to establish the mechanisms that enabled it to compete and attract investment and maintain the gains made. He supported the call for an intergovernmental committee of tax experts appointed by the Secretary-General.
BØRGE BRENDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, said his country was ready to join a coordinated effort to release funds from all sources in support of sustainable development. “We have come to Addis to establish what it takes to move from billions to trillions in financing for development,” he said. The Conference represented a “quantum leap” in placing domestic resource mobilization and taxation at the heart of the new agenda, with a sharpened focus on the need to increase infrastructure investment. Noting that the draft agenda was strong on mobilizing and promoting the role of women, he reaffirmed Norway’s commitment to spend at least 0.7 per cent of its GNI on development, a major share of which was earmarked for least developed countries. He called on others to increase their development assistance, regretting that some had decreased their aid at a time when humanitarian needs were great, from Syria to South Sudan. At the same time, it was important to change how development assistance was used — it must be used in a more catalytic way, to leverage funds from many sources and enable private- sector development. Governments must do their part by creating a transparent and accountable environment for inclusive growth. No one was “perfectly happy” with the Conference’s draft outcome, but that usually signalled that, through give and take, delegates had reached what was possible. He urged participants to agree to what was on the table and to find win-win solutions.
MKUYA SALUM, Minister of Finance of the United Republic of Tanzania, said 30 per cent of the world’s poorest were Africans, making financing for development a crucial agenda for the continent. Africa’s needs must be considered in the action plan to be adopted by the Conference, with both the Agenda 2063 and the African Common Position integrated into the post-2015 framework. Financing for development must work to strengthen national capacities for delivering social protection and public services, end poverty, scale up efforts to end hunger, and establish a platform to bridge the infrastructure gap, among other things. For least developed countries, there was no substitute for concessional resources and a broad partnership would be required. The 0.7 per cent ODA target to developing countries, and the 0.15 to 0.2 per cent target to least developed countries, were important and predictable financing sources. Noting that ODA and prior commitments would remain crucial, he said the Conference should aim to strengthen previous pledges and explore new ones. Adequate trade policy was also critical and he encouraged exploiting Africa’s potential. Additionally, a credible mechanism for strengthening global tax cooperation should be included in the action plan.
PATRICK CHINAMASA, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Zimbabwe, associating with the Group of 77 and China, said a frank review of progress since the Monterrey Conference suggested that “we have fallen short in a number of areas”. Commitments to provide development resources had not been fully met, which in turn, had created weakness in the global partnership. Global programmes should recognize differences in countries’ national realities, capacities and development levels. He reiterated the Rio principles in that regard and that of common but differentiated responsibilities, which should apply to the three sustainable development pillars. While Governments bore the primary responsibility for development, that did not absolve international partners from their duty to complement national efforts. African countries took their national and continental development responsibilities seriously, having adopted the Agenda 2063 plan, which prioritized infrastructure, among other things, critical to transforming economies. Welcoming proposals for a global infrastructure forum and a technology facilitation mechanism, he called for a swift conclusion of the Doha round of trade talks and immediate removal of sanctions against his country.
YEMI OSINBAJO, Vice-President of Nigeria, recognized the critical importance of enhancing revenue mobilization, improving financial management and fighting corruption at the national level. In that effort, he called on the international community to support the fight against illicit financial flows in Africa. Outlining his country’s development efforts, he underlined the importance of creating a targeted fund for global education, as well as for human security in the context of increased terrorism. He described Nigeria’s efforts to manage its resources, and pledged the country’s support for an inclusive and forward-looking architecture for development financing. He called on all to seize the opportunity of the moment for that purpose.
AURELIA FRICK, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Education and Culture of Liechtenstein, underscored the opportunity for a transformative agenda that could end poverty and save the planet. Her country had surpassed international ODA goals, but financing for development required more than such assistance. Stable, enabling environments were needed for the massive mobilization of domestic resources. Discrimination was an obstacle in that regard and the empowerment of women was key. Enabling environments attracted private investment, which was also crucial to achieving the goals, and in that context, legal transparency, accountability and respect for human rights were also essential. It was most important to ensure accountability in the context of the action agenda, the adoption of which she supported.
ROMAIN SCHNEIDER, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of Luxembourg, associating with the European Union, said that his country devoted a full 1 per cent of GDP to ODA, with half of that directed to the least developed countries, as development assistance was considered to be the touchstone of development financing and helped to leverage other funding, including domestic resources and private-sector investment. His country, in that context, was supporting initiatives on building capacity to manage tax systems, among other efforts. The draft action agenda would be a pillar of development efforts, and he hoped that the Conference would be the turning point for transformative action.
ADRIANO MELEIANE, Minister of Economy and Finance of Mozambique, welcomed advances in health, education and access to water achieved during the Millennium Development Goals. Yet, challenges persisted in developing countries, due to inadequate funding. Reducing poverty and promoting inclusive development had been the centrepiece of his country’s development strategy, which focused on improving living standards through diversified job creation, among other things. Its implementation would continue to rely on efforts to increase and broaden domestic resource mobilization, which had grown from 13 per cent of GDP in 2006 to nearly 25 per cent in 2014.
YUN BYUNG-SE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, said ODA should remain an important development resource in the post-2015 era, especially for poor countries with special needs. In recent years, ODA had surged past pre-financial crisis levels, a welcome development. Domestic resource mobilization, and its effective use, was a primary financing source, as it generated the most direct, reliable impacts on national development. Enhancing the quality of cooperation was as important as increasing its quantity. It must be ensured by respecting the principles of national ownership, focus on results, transparency and mutual accountability. The Republic of Korea was an example of a least developed country turned donor. It continued to increase its ODA and was committed to improving public service delivery. It was also ready to support capacity-building in tax and fiscal matters, having joined the Addis Tax Initiative. “Without an inclusive partnership encompassing all stakeholders, both traditional and new, our ambitious goals will end up being unfinished business.”
CARLOS RAÚL MORALES, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, associating with the Group of 77 and China, and CELAC, noted the importance of universality in the new development agenda, as well as solidarity and investment in children and women. A universal cooperation mechanism on tax matters should be created, he said, stressing that States could no longer be passive in the fight against illicit financial flows. ODA pledges should increase from 0.7 to 1 per cent of GNI and include technical assistance. He hoped the Conference would be the first step in a process to be strengthened at the September summit.
KAMAL AL-HASSI, Minister of Finance and Planning of Libya, noting that the responsibility for development was collective, said that national and local development strategies also be kept in mind. Development assistance was an important financing source and he expressed concern at its decline. Urgent measures were needed to ensure the 0.7 ODA target. In addition, a global climate change strategy was needed. Terrorism could not be eradicated without eradicating poverty, which was the main reason many Africans crossed the Mediterranean. “We need a comprehensive global approach that ensures better cooperation among origin, transit and destination countries,” he said, stressing that South-South cooperation, while crucial, could not substitute for North-South partnership. He recalled commitments made in the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration in that regard. A just and non-discriminatory trade system was also required. Illegal financial flows prevented countries from mobilizing national resources and he urged cooperation in implementing the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
MATEUSZ SZCZUREK, Minister of Finance of Poland, said that international assistance was one of many tools that could promote growth in developing countries. He suggested that there might be too much focus on financial flows between developed and developing economies. Advanced countries must also help with facilitation of trade, migration and remittance, controls on arms sales and fighting tax fraud and money-laundering. His country had transformed from receiving aid to contributing it through European initiatives, not only providing financial assistance but also sharing its transition experience. A priority in the coming years would be combatting illicit financial flows. He warned, however, that despite greater prosperity, challenges, such as outward migration, remained. “Striving for a better society never ends,” he concluded.
PAUL HERERT OQUIST KELLY, Minister and Private Secretary for National Policies of Nicaragua, said that, as the adoption of the outcome document grew near, more emphasis needed to be placed on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and the outcomes of previous conferences, including rates of ODA, technology transfer and trade access, must be respected. Concrete commitments must be made and must be followed up. He welcomed the creation of new financing mechanisms for a new international financial order. There was a systemic global crisis, however, that threatened to greatly increase poverty, represented by inequality, which was worsening because of extreme capitalism, austerity policies and skewed banking regulations. Climate change was also threatening to increase poverty to apocalyptic proportions. Development financing must be consistent with those threats and the situation of each country.
ZANDA KALNINA-LUKASEVICA, Acting Minister for Development, Parliamentary State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, associating with the European Union, called for a new global partnership to support implementation of the post-2015 agenda, based on a multi-stakeholder approach. The process must be truly inclusive. Latvia’s experience had shown the importance of wide consultation and accountability. The private sector was particularly important and creating a conducive climate was essential. The Addis agenda’s ambitions must match those of the post-2015 Agenda and must be monitored in a coherent manner.
MINORU KIUCHI, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said that in the new financial order, the traditional North-South divide must be overcome and all must be able to play their respective roles. Inclusive, sustainable and resilient growth for all was Japan’s objective, guided by the principles of human security and the use of ODA as a catalyst. Quality infrastructure investment with a wide positive impact was a priority; his country was supporting such infrastructure in Asia and Africa. Investing in disaster risk reduction was also important, to maintain development gains, another area in which Japan was supporting a raft of initiatives. The country had also greatly increased its assistance to those most vulnerable to climate change. He pledged his country’s active and constructive engagement in all international forums leading to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.
JUSTINE GREENING, Secretary of State for International Development of the United Kingdom, associating with the European Union, said today’s generation of young people was the largest in history and “peak youth must equal peak growth”. An estimated 600 million young people would enter the job market in the next 15 years, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. If they had productive work, national income levels could rise faster than at any other time. Many fragile States, however, were being left behind. Conflict had put development into reverse, while climate change, if left unchecked, would undo recent progress. The United Kingdom had delivered on its pledge to allocate 0.7 per cent of GNI to international assistance. It was time for others to step forward to fulfil their promise to developing countries, through aid, private-sector investment and domestic resource mobilization. Aid used smartly could unlock critical private-sector finance. Improving the rights of girls and women was “the smart thing to do” for development, as was tackling tax evasion, trade barriers and illegal financial flows. “Let’s leave here with a deal and set up for success,” she said.
VINCENT T. SERETSE, Minister of Trade and Industry of Botswana, stressed that development required global solutions with the active participation of all stakeholders. The financial crisis showed the need for reform of the international financial system and review of consequent development financing. His country had experienced depressed exports and revenue base from the crisis, hampering efforts to fight poverty. In order to reverse such trends and finish the tasks left unfinished by the Millennium Development Goals, adequate, sustainable and predictable financing was absolutely essential for his and other African countries. While a full range of financing was important, Botswana’s needs now leaned more towards technical assistance and institutional capacity building. He pledged full support to realizing the Addis action plan.
NOEL-NELSON MESSONE, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Gabon, said growth was not yet inclusive. Developing countries’ share of trade was small, infrastructure was lacking and constraints on African countries’ development persisted. “We need to build the Addis consensus” of trust, solidarity and common but differentiated responsibilities, he said, adding that Gabon was committed to sustainable development as a precondition for sustainable natural-resource management. He supported the 2063 Agenda, saying that Gabon, a middle-income country, had not always had fair access to international development assistance, which it should have received as a developing country. A global partnership based on trust and political determination was needed to uphold commitments, with ODA playing a key part, as enshrined in the Paris Declaration. It should be reinforced qualitatively and quantitatively. Gabon attached great importance to infrastructure, energy, the green economy, health and local enterprise.
JOSEPH NOEL ETIENNE GHISLAIN SINATAMBOUT, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Cooperation and International Trade of Mauritius, associating with the Group of 77 and China, and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), cited challenges in tax reform and good governance. Too often, corruption and illicit financing thwarted economic development and disenfranchised those who would benefit from it. Small island developing States were a “special case” for sustainable development, due to their unique vulnerabilities. They needed the strong support of the international community. Despite mobilization of their limited resources, they faced enormous difficulties. Clear arrangements for monitoring and review of development cooperation were needed, notably a framework that rationalized the many existing mechanisms at the national, regional and global levels.
KELFALA MARAH, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Sierra Leone, aligning with the Group of 77 and China, and the least developed countries, said fragile and conflict-affected States deserved attention. During the Monterrey conference, fragile States had not been specifically considered, and in turn, faced problems in implementing the Millennium Development Goals. He welcomed the current recognition of the need for resources for conflict-affected countries, which needed stable financing to reduce their inherent problems. Given the diverse needs of fragile and conflict-affected States, they required support for domestic tax revenue mobilization. Supporting the call to tackle climate change, he said that as a post-conflict country, Sierra Leone emphasized peace and security as a necessary condition for development.
FREDERICK A. MITCHELL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of the Bahamas, expressed his country’s full commitment to mobilizing the magnitude of resources necessary to implement a historic new development agenda. In that context, a reform plan was allowing greater mobilization of domestic resources. In order for his country to fulfil its responsibilities for its own advancement, however, there must be a level playing field in the world economy and the trade rules must be fair. In addition, the country must guard against the financial shocks caused by the variability of foreign direct investment, such as the recent bankruptcy of a major hotel project, as well as natural disasters. Due to vulnerability to such shocks, small islands such as his must not be judged for suitability for concessional financing merely on the basis of GDP per capita, he argued. In addition, his country should not be subjected to blacklisting as a non-cooperative tax jurisdiction. In that regard, he reaffirmed the need for a full intergovernmental body on tax matters under the Economic and Social Council.
CHRISTIAN PARADIS, Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie of Canada, called for consensus on the Addis agenda as it now stood, with the post-2015 era looming and agreement on financing was sorely needed. ODA should focus on the neediest and be combined with a variety of other funding sources. Using such aid to leverage other financing was a challenge that Canada was working on in a variety of forums, and for which it was focusing on institution building and a convergence of funding mechanisms. Canada was also working to facilitate easier remittances between countries and to help them harness the full range of domestic resources.
SETH TERKPER, Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ghana, called attention to his country’s transition from developing country to lower middle-income status, which he described as abrupt and disruptive as such categories were determined through GDP per capita. To overcome its persistent vulnerability, Ghana needed assistance to implement a diversification and value-adding plan that supported power and industrial production, as well as the continuing growth of the agricultural and services sector. The World Bank, Africa Development Bank and other development partners were assisting in a variety of strategic initiatives; he detailed the financing arrangements for infrastructure and access to capital markets, as well as the shift from sovereign to project guarantees. He also described further needs in tax policy and in countering illicit monetary flows, and called for enhancement of the United Nations special expert tax programme.
VESNA PUSIC, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, said small middle-income countries should not be discouraged from providing initial funds to countries with which they wished to cooperate. In creating global consensus on development cooperation, small country donors were important in building that agreement. “If you bring sufficient numbers of countries as initial providers, it will change the face, not only of countries at the receiving end, but also that of countries providing the initial means,” she said. Development cooperation could only be understood as cooperation. Everyone benefitted if cooperation was not arrogant and had no hidden agendas. Citing countries where in-flows of money had wreaked havoc, such as Iraq, she said “money is important but it is not enough”.
RATU INOKE KUBUABOLA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Fiji, associating with the statement delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said his country looked to the international community for a financing framework that tackled the vulnerabilities of a small island State subjected to severe weather and climate events. Welcoming the World Bank’s exception for financing small island States, he appealed for more such programmes from the rest of the international community along with true development partnerships. Mobilizing domestic resources required investment along with an equitable trading regime. Welcoming also the draft outcome of the Conference, he noted the high ambitions of the proposed sustainable development goals and affirmed the importance of integrating the agenda into all national plans, policies and programmes.
FAAMOETAULOA TAITO TAALE TUMAALII, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of Samoa, associating with the Group of 77 and China and the Pacific small island developing States Group, stressed the importance of North-South cooperation in developing countries’ handling of economic shortcomings. Small island developing States were a “special case” for sustainable development, due to their small size, extreme isolation and narrow resource bases. ODA remained the main source of international finance for many nations and should be based on quantified, time-bound targets that built on the global partnership. Also, climate finance should be considered separately from financing for development and the post-2015 agenda, while sustainable consumption and production strategies should enable small and medium-sized enterprises to enhance opportunities for the poor. External debt problems must be addressed and Samoa was exploring ways to use ODA to leverage resources and promote inclusive growth.
ROBERT DUSSEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, said Africa had performed well economically despite many recent setbacks, inviting its partners to help it implement its new agenda. Togo’s average 5 per cent growth rate was achieved thanks to implementing the Millennium Development Goals, especially with regard to food security and combating HIV/AIDS. The way development was planned and partnerships were made must change, through better adapted and innovative mechanisms. Togo had reformed its public finances. Without a peaceful enabling environment, the sustainable development goals could not be implemented, which was why Togo would host an African Union summit on maritime safety and security, and development in Africa.
JAWAD NAJI, Minister, Prime Minister’s Adviser for Islamic and Arab Fund Affairs of the State of Palestine, said the Conference’s draft document did not reflect the needs of States and peoples subjected to occupation. They had the right to benefit from financing for development, as the Millennium Declaration and other instruments had recognized. “There is a curious paradox here,” he said, stressing that Palestine had been fighting for half a century against Israeli occupation. He called for the provision of financial support for the Palestinian Government so it could carry out its mission for development and economic growth. His Government had passed several laws and regulations to create a propitious environment for business, and had done what it could to enlarge its industrial base, by installing modern infrastructure and increasing access to new Middle Eastern markets.
NIALÉ KABA, Minister of Economy and Finance of Côte d’Ivoire, citing gains, said the number of people living in extreme poverty had significantly dropped, and schooling had become a reality in many countries. Côte d’Ivoire had put in place an ambitious reconstruction programme, based on its development plan, which prioritized health and social infrastructure. The construction of health and technical centres had seen “good results” in controlling malaria, HIV/AIDS and other pandemics. Women’s empowerment also had become a reality. Such reforms would continue. Her Government would focus on the effectiveness of its tax system, examining how to mobilize domestic savings and creating budget policies. ODA would continue to play an important role, and she urged developed countries to honour their commitments. South-South cooperation also should be strengthened. Public-private partnerships and funding for local authorities merited attention.
ANNICK GIRARDIN, Minister of State for Development and Francophony of France, said that solidarity was at the very heart of the French Republic, which was celebrating its revolution today. ODA represented solidarity and France was the third largest world donor. Through solidarity, all players had responsibility and in that context it was essential to combat illicit flows of funds and create a fair and sustainable world. Solidarity in the technological innovation and adaptation required to combat the effects of climate change, which was a major priority, would be forged in an agreement anticipated in Paris in December.
ABDOU KOLLEY, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Gambia, said that supporting achievement of the sustainable development goals required domestic resource mobilization, private sector finance and participation, and overseas development assistance. Domestically, expansion of tax bases meant tackling largely informal economies along with harmonized Government policies. Public-private partnerships could fill in much of the funding gaps faced by developing countries, but for those that had a hard time attracting such investment, ODA was still a significant source of external financing and was critical. There was a need, therefore, to meet the 0.7 per cent ODA commitments. In addition, the conclusion of a balanced and development-oriented Doha trade round had the potential of lifting many countries out of poverty.
ANDRES ESCOBAR ARANGO, Vice-Minister of Finance of Colombia, stressed that the mobilization of a full range of resources was needed to achieve sustainable development. Colombia was succeeding in reducing domestic poverty, but needed to redouble efforts to reduce inequality. In that effort around the globe, international technical and financial cooperation was critical, including the central importance of ODA to develop the capacity of countries to mobilize domestic resources. Exchange of information on tax evasion was among the most important tools for harnessing existing resources. As a middle-income country, Colombia required international cooperation to consolidate gains for the benefit of the entire population. South-South cooperation was also key, but did not substitute for North-South cooperation including ODA. Commitments emerging from the Conference should be subjected to review and follow-up as an integral part of monitoring implementation of the post-2015 agenda, he concluded.