Keynote address Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development

Excellencies,Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to today’s briefing by the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development on the “Global Economic Context”. I am pleased to be here with you today.

I came back from the World Economic Forum in Davos last Friday, where I witnessed much of the discussions were about inequality. It is widely recognized that we all need to intensify our efforts and take concerted action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, addressing poverty and inequality is at the center of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 2030 Agenda represents an imperative for profound change towards a more fair, inclusive and sustainable globalization. But we cannot achieve this transformation without the necessary changes in macroeconomic policies.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development provides a roadmap for getting there. We need to shift capital away from ‘business as usual’ towards investment that improves lives, advances rights and reduces poverty, illiteracy, disease and hunger.

As the chair of the Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development, on behalf of the Secretary-General, I would like to emphasize that the Task Force is an important mechanism for the review and follow-up on the Financing for Development outcomes. The task force is currently hard at work on its 2018 report, which should inform not only negotiations for the Financing for Development Forum but also discussion on the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the HLPF.

The first chapter of the report will address a fundamental question – to what extent the global economy is supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. To answer this and related questions, the Task Force brings together different actors from across the UN system and beyond, while fostering dialogue and promoting coherence of the international response.This event is a good example. The Task Force provides a unique opportunity for the IMF, UN DESA, UNCTAD and other Task Force members, including the World Bank and UNDP, to produce a common vision of the state of the world economy and present policy options to Member States. This Task Force is also an effective instrument to bring the different voices and extensive expertise of the international system together to assess the impact of the international economic environment on sustainable development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Last December, I launched the 2018 UN report on the World Economic Situation and Prospects. As noted at that time, the general economic backdrop has improved: the global economy is growing by 3 per cent, the highest growth rate since 2011. About two thirds of all countries are seeing stronger growth this year compared to last year; and steady global growth of 3 per cent is forecast to continue beyond 2018.

As encouraging as this is, there remain significant challenges and risks that have wider social and environmental relevance.

First, economic growth is unevenly spread. On a per-capita basis, numerous countries and regions are stagnating. The IMF’s research in the Africa region, which was presented here in New York late last year, came to the stark conclusion that some countries are seeing negative per capita growth. UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report looks in detail at the inclusivity of growth and the trends of rising inequalities. UN DESA has underscored that we cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with the economic and social performance we are seeing, particularly in the Least Developed Countries.

Second, recent increases in investment after a decade of weak performance is a positive development. But it is not yet clear that the investment we are seeing is of the type we need. Sustainable development calls for high quality and long-term investment that bolsters decent work, sustainable industry and infrastructure. Instead, amidst the spurt of investment growth in 2017, the amount of private sector participation in infrastructure, as recorded by the World Bank, continued to decline. And the Least Developed Countries are still falling far below sufficient investment levels.

Third, there are fundamental issues with the structure of our global productive system and its impact on inequality. While unemployment has declined in many countries, there are continued challenges of insufficient wage growth and lack of decent work. Underemployment, youth unemployment and precarious employment remain areas of concern, and these challenges will evolve as new technologies emerge. The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects, along with UNCTAD, ILO and DESA publications, explore how these labour market issues can impact growth and contribute to increasing inequalities.

Fourth, there are environmental dimensions to growth itself. The World Economic Situation and Prospects of the UN and the World Economic Outlook of the IMF have both examined these issues in detail. The world needs stronger efforts to delink economic growth from environmental degradation. Only continued international cooperation and a concerted effort to stem the man-made causes of global warming can limit the long-term risks of climate change.

This Task Force is also grappling with the underlying structures of the international financial and economic systems, which are still not well suited to achieving sustainable development. The global financial architecture, which is supposed to channel investment to where it is most needed, is still prone to systemic risks. While some areas of financial regulation have seen progress, others remain with little change from pre-2008 arrangements. Financial flows remain too short-term oriented and volatile, posing risks, especially to developing countries, with negative impacts on inequality and inadequate gain in terms of economic growth.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The cyclical upturn in growth is a positive phenomenon, but it is not sufficient for the kind of transformation the 2030 Agenda envisions. The discussion of inequality I heard at Davos needs to be channeled towards action.

We encourage Member States to seize the opportunity:• to reorient investment toward long-term and sustainable development• to diversify and permanently increase the trajectory of growth in developing countries• to ensure that economic gains are better distributed and come at drastically lesser cost to the environment.

In short, we must ensure a more inclusive and equitable globalization for the achievement of the SDGs.

I look forward to proceeding in our collective journey towards our shared goals.

Thank you.
File date: 
Friday, 二月 2, 2018
Mr. Liu