At high-level event on development, UN officials urge greater private financing

General Assembly President John Ashe.
UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
General Assembly President John Ashe.

At high-level event on development, UN officials urge greater private financing

New and innovative sources of financing are needed to supplement decreasing official development assistance, United Nations officials said today calling for greater private funding and fostering international trade to sustain economic growth and fuel sustainable development.

Addressing participants at the opening of the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, President of the General Assembly, John Ashe urged the international community to accelerate efforts to mobilize financial resources towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline and towards paving the way for a post-2015 development agenda.

“Financing for development is the elixir – the lifeblood, if you like – that we need,” Mr. Ashe told Member States and representatives of institutions, civil society and the business sector.

The overall theme of this, the sixth high-level dialogue on the issue, is “The Monterrey Consensus, Doha Declaration on Financing for Development and related outcomes of major UN conferences and summits: status of implementation and tasks ahead.”

The Monterrey Consensus, adopted in that Mexican city in 2002, is a landmark partnership agreement for global development. It covered a number of topics, including domestic resource mobilization, foreign direct investment (FDI), trade, official development assistance (ODA), debt relief and systemic issues.

It was followed in 2008 by the Doha Declaration, which emphasized, among other things, the need to urgently meet the agreed ODA target of 0.7 per cent of donor countries' gross national income (GNI), and underscored the importance of strengthening the World Trade Organization (WTO) with special and differential treatment for developing countries.

The current ODA is around 0.31 per cent of national income of developed countries, according to UN figures.

Also addressing participants, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged all countries to fulfil their pledges and meet their development assistance targets.

“For many developing countries, and in particular the most vulnerable, predictable levels of ODA remain critical,” Mr. Ban said, adding that he was “deeply concerned” about the recent decline in ODA.

Mr. Ban also emphasized the private sector’s vital role in financing and investing for a more sustainable and prosperous world.

“A strong financial commitment to human solidarity today will improve prosperity and security tomorrow,” he noted.

The two-day event consists of a series of plenary meetings chaired by Mr. Ashe where ministers and high-level officials are making formal statements on behalf of their countries.

In addition, participants are part of roundtables and an informal interactive dialogue on the reform of monetary and financial systems and implications for development; and mobilization of public and private financing; the role of financial and technical development cooperation.

The informal dialogue is focusing on the link between financing for development and achieving the eight MDGs and advancing the post-2015 agenda.

In a report produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and released in July, the UN proposed a series of financial mechanisms to raise $400 billion annually for development needs, given the ODA declines as a result of to the global economic crisis.