New York

08 April 2015

Secretary-General's remarks at the General Assembly Informal Interactive Hearing for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development [as delivered]

Welcome to these informal interactive hearings.  Over the next two days, leaders from the business sector and civil society will have the opportunity to share their views.

Thank you for taking part, despite your very busy schedules.  These hearings are an important element in the preparations for the upcoming Third International Conference [on] Financing for Development in Addis Ababa.

Member States, the UN system, businesses, civil society, and millions of people from around the world are coming together with creativity and a shared sense of purpose to lay the groundwork for the post-2015 development agenda.

A successful outcome of the Addis Ababa Conference is crucial for securing an ambitious post-2015 development agenda and a comprehensive agreement on climate change later this year in December, in Paris.

All sources of funding must be tapped – public and private, national and international. Domestic resource mobilization will be crucial.

But in too many countries domestic attempts to raise public resources through taxation remain hampered by loopholes, tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Private investment and the business sector also have important financing roles. But many private international capital flows are volatile and insufficient to fund sustainable development, particularly in countries most in need.

And new challenges have arisen.

The global financial crisis exposed risks and underlying vulnerabilities in the international financial systems. Inequalities within many countries have been increasing. Environmental challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and natural disasters, have become unsustainable.

And shocks like the recent Ebola crisis are costly to address and threaten to undo all we have achieved.

The world needs an international financial framework that is predictable and effective in meeting these challenges and achieving sustainable and inclusive development.

Today’s hearing focuses on the role of the business sector.  Tomorrow will focus on the essential role of civil society.

We invite the private sector to be our partners in supporting and financing this agenda, including through partnerships and collaboration.

At the Climate Summit last September, leaders from the investment community announced that they will mobilize billions of dollars for financing low-carbon and climate-resilient pathways.

I urge private sector leaders -- including CEOs -- to join us in Addis Ababa, and to consider new commitments for investment in sustainable development – including in the vital area of infrastructure. 

The United Nations has been convening many important meetings in the past, during the last 70 years. This year 2015, we are going to have very important three occasions which are linked to three priorities.  The first will come in July in Addis Ababa, as I am saying, and I am very glad that you are participating.  From Monday, we are going to have an official negotiation on a draft text on financing for development. Before that it is quite unusual that we are meeting first with business CEOs and civil society leaders for two days, just to lay the groundwork.

In the past, it has been the case that the governments and United Nations have been making, legislating and making positions.  But these days, we have learned the very important lessons that without the active participation and reflecting the views of people on the ground, particularly business leaders, all these programmes or whatever ambitious visions may not be practical, may not be implemented.  That is why we are inviting you to express your views, because you are the ones who are working, really leading all these businesses. 

Then, leaders will come in September for a special summit meeting ? three days.  It is unusual again that we are having three days special summit meeting before the General Assembly begins. I have invited, together with the President of the General Assembly, all kings and presidents, prime ministers…  His Holiness, the Pope [Francis] is also coming.  That means that we are addressing most important subjects and issues for humanity.

In 2000, when the new millennium dawned, leaders came and they thought what leaders should do for humanity, for the world’s people.  They announced and adopted the Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals deadline is December this year that we will have to have something ambitious, and visionary plans. This is what we are now calling the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Now, the future development agenda, post-2015 development agenda, with a set of sustainable development goals, will be a very important one for our humanity, targeting by 2030 - another 15 years. You are taking [part in a] very important historic moment.  Your leadership is very much required. 

Then, in December in Paris, we have to have a climate change agreement.  If and when the leaders adopt this climate change agreement, this would be a first time in the history of the United Nations that we have universal climate change agreement applicable to all the countries. We have a Kyoto protocol now, but it is less than half.  It is partial; it is not a universal one.  We must have a universal, a very meaningful climate change agreement. 

In all these processes I think your leadership and your engagement will be extremely important.  That is why I am appealing to you and I am urging you - do your historical responsibility. I wish that you will have a very productive discussion today and tomorrow.

I thank you very much.


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