UN urges ‘tangible actions’ from world leaders to finance sustainable development for all

18 April 2016

Hailing 2015 as a year of “crucial milestones” for development, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said world leaders must now meet the agreed financing targets to ensure implementation of the numerous landmark agreements on eradicating poverty, building resilient societies and addressing climate change in order to put the world on a sustainable development path.

Opening the inaugural session of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban said that the

Addis Ababa Action Agenda, together with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, are “triumphs of multilateralism.”

“I urge each and every one of you to take action and show leadership,” Mr. Ban said. “We must all play our part in this global endeavour, from governments and international organizations, to financial and trade institutions, the private sector and civil society.”

The Forum runs through Wednesday and will include the Special high-level meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Today’s inaugural session will feature presentations by the heads of the major institutional stakeholders and of intergovernmental bodies of these institutions, followed by statements by Ministers and other high-level officials. In the afternoon, there will be an interactive dialogue between UN delegations and senior officials from World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Secretary-General recalled that this past July, world leaders gathered in Addis Ababa and adopted a comprehensive framework to mobilize and deliver the resources, technology and partnerships needed for sustainable development. He added that he looked forward to the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement in New York later this week.

“We have the collective responsibility to turn these landmark agreements into tangible actions,” Mr. Ban said. “The time for implementation is now.”

Noting that the financing requirements to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals are estimated to be in the order of trillions of dollars annually, Mr. Ban stressed that mobilizing such resources will be a significant challenge, particularly at a time of continued economic uncertainty and financial constraints.

“The global economic recovery remains uneven. We have not seen the strong, sustained and balanced growth needed to realize sustainable development for all,” the UN chief said.

“Yet this challenge is not unsurmountable. We know that global public and private savings and investment will be sufficient – but only if they are aligned with sustainable development,” he added.

Addis Ababa Action Agenda as a ‘starting point’

Following up on the Addis Agenda is the “right starting point,” Mr. Ban emphasized, as it provides a full range of actions to realign financial flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities.

The Addis Agenda contains more than 100 concrete policy commitments that draw on all sources of finance, technology, innovation, trade, debt and data to support the 2030 Agenda, Mr. Ban said.

The global response to the 2030 Agenda must match the scope of the challenge – which means tapping into the potential of all actors to achieve the large-scale transformation needed, the UN chief said.

“Now is the time for smart investments in people and the planet, where they are needed, when they are needed and at the scale they are needed,” he said. “Billions of lives depend on it.”

Mr. Ban also said that investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure are a prerequisite to achieving many global goals. In that vein, the new Global Infrastructure Forum, led by the multilateral development banks, which he attended last weekend in Washington, D.C., is an important step towards bridging this gap.

“But more needs to be done. We need to step up our efforts to implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda in its entirety,” Mr. Ban stressed.

The private sector must be an active partner, in particular in areas such as the provision of urgently needed social goods, and the growing importance of South-South cooperation must also to be recognized, the Secretary-General said. In addition, he said that developing countries hosting large numbers of refugees should have access to concessional loans, noting that he is glad to see progress on that front.

The Secretary-General also called for stronger commitment to humanitarian financing, which will be one focus of the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit that he is convening in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May.

“With a spirit of true partnership, shared responsibility and solidarity, we can transform our global vision into better lives and greater opportunities for people everywhere,” the Secretary-General concluded.

ECOSOC President highlights new chapter in history

In opening remarks at the Forum today, the President of ECOSOC, Oh Joon, highlighted that the launch of the forum marked a new chapter in the history of the financing for development process.

“In this process, we are advancing on the solid ground laid out by our predecessors,” Mr. Oh said. “We must now forge ahead with elevated ambition and innovation based on the lessons learned from these experiences.”

In particular, Mr. Oh said that the Monterrey Conference and Doha Conference had generated a strong momentum in advancing financing for development issues among Member States, major institutional stakeholders, and others.

Furthermore, the ECOSOC special high-level meetings with the Bretton Woods Institutions, World Trade Organization and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as well as the General Assembly high-level dialogues on financing for development, have strengthened political momentum leading up to Addis.

The ECOSOC President noted that for its part, today’s forum serves as a primary platform for policy dialogue on financing for development follow-up. The forum is tasked with assessing progress, identifying challenges and facilitating the delivery of the means of implementation. It is also expected to promote sharing of lessons learned at the national and regional levels, while addressing new and emerging topics.

The forum also provides a platform for concrete action, enabling broad engagement by relevant stakeholders as well as Member States, and carries out its work in accordance with a strong evidence-based approach, Mr. Oh said.

“I trust that this forum will provide the right space for exchange on early action taken and will chart the road map for future implementation of the Addis Agenda,” he noted.

The overall theme of the forum is “Financing for sustainable development: follow-up to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.” The inaugural segment began with a special high-level meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO and UNCTAD.

 

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