Press release 18 November 2017
Ministers, high-level government officials, as well as representatives from international organizations, the private sector, civil society and academia have convened in Qatar this weekend to discuss how to advance national and international efforts to promote financing for sustainable development. The State of Qatar, with support from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, is hosting a 2-day High-level Conference on Financing for Development and the Means of Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, from 18 to 19 November 2017.
The Minister of Finance of Qatar, H.E. Mr. Ali Shareef Al Emadi, in his opening statement, emphasized Qatar’s commitment to work with its partners in the international community to achieve the UN objectives. He expressed his belief in the importance of international cooperation as a catalyst to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, underscored that “global challenges must be addressed through global cooperation. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda provide the compass for our way forward.” At the global level, the progress on the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Agenda is reviewed annually at the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up (FfD Forum) and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The next forums will be held in New York in April and July 2018, respectively. There is a strong link between these two follow-up processes.
In this context, the Qatar Conference is aiming to raise awareness among national policy makers about the global developments. As highlighted in the opening statement delivered on behalf of the President of ECOSOC, “the FfD Forum has established itself as the global platform for review of progress and challenges in the implementation of the FfD outcomes at the national and international levels.” In preparation of the 2018 FfD Forum and the 2018 HLPF, ministers and high-level government representatives are taking advantage of the meeting in Qatar to present national implementation experiences during ministerial round tables.
Mr. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, pointed out that putting economic development first and the social and environmental dimension in second place cannot form the basis for sustainable development. He underscored the central role of Financing for Development in integrating the three dimensions and setting countries on a more ambitious trajectory towards achieving the SDGs.
Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, urged participants to address challenges to multilateralism, including the erosion of the global enabling environment for international trade. In this context, Dr. Kituyi repeated UNCTAD’s commitment to engage actively at the 2018 FfD Forum and the 2018 HLPF.
On the second day of the Conference, experts will discuss the means of implementation for specific SDGs selected for an in-depth review at the 2018 HLPF. A joint session on SDGs 6 (water) and 7 (energy) will focus on the financing of critical infrastructure in these areas. Another session will concentrate on SDG 11 (cities). An increasing amount of public services need to be provided to an ever-growing number of people. At the same time, local governments are struggling to generate the necessary resources. A third session will present recommendations on the impact of science, technology and innovation roadmaps in the context of ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG 12) and the protection of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15).
Two thematic sessions will move the discussion from the policy to the instrument level and focus on how to achieve the necessary leap from billions to trillions to finance sustainable development. First, participants will debate how to scale up and better align investments by sovereign wealth funds with the SDGs. A second discussion will develop ideas on how to unleash the full potential of Islamic finance for achieving the SDGs, particularly in terms of large-scale infrastructure investments.
The State of Qatar and UN-DESA expect that the Conference will generate political momentum to spur the Financing for Development process. As USG Mr. Liu stated: “The year of 2018 offers important opportunities to move the agenda forward. DESA will continue to lead global efforts to advance Financing for Development and to support Member States in implementing the Addis Agenda.”
Additional information on the Conference is available at: https://www.un.org/esa/ffd/high-level-conference-on-ffd-and-2030-agenda/.