Analysis by J Nastranis
NEW YORK (IDN) – The Group of 77 and China, representing 134 members from developing countries, has expressed “disappointment” at the outcome document emerging from the three-day United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up – FfD Forum – at UN Headquarters in New York.
Underlining the importance of the Forum, G77 and China Chair Virachai Plasai, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Thailand, explained that the developing countries’ fates “still heavily depend on how to meet the financing gap in order to achieve the goal to end poverty and hunger, as well as Sustainable Development Goals in its three dimensions”.
However, the FfD Forum is not only essential to developing countries but also to the overall global community since it takes stock of the implementation of Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and supports as well as complements the latter with concrete policies and actions.
Due to its universal nature, FfD Forum requires the spirit of global partnership and solidarity to translate visions in AAAA to concrete actions. The G77 and China are pleased that the Forum successfully captured the essence of multi-stakeholders nature mentioned in AAAA with the participation of both developed and developing countries, private sector, civil society, major international financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders.
But there were some panels where there was no developing country representation, for instance the development and humanitarian nexus panel.
Plasai pointed out that Paragraph 131 of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), obliges the follow-up process to assess progress, identify obstacles and challenges, address new and emerging topics, and provide for action by international community.
The Group of 77 and China, therefore, strongly urges that following issues must be incorporated in the FfD follow-up process, including, but not limited to:
First. North-South Cooperation is still the main channel of financing for development and the fulfilment of all Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments remains crucial. “We urge ODA providers to reaffirm their respective ODA commitments, and urge all those that have not met their targets to make additional concrete efforts,” Plasai said.
Second. The Group recognizes the importance of capacity development that addresses specific needs and conditions of developing countries as well as reflects their national sustainable development strategies and priorities.
It therefore calls for enhanced international support and establishment of multi-stakeholder partnerships for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries. “In this regard, enhanced engagement of major international institutions, including UNIDO and UNCTAD, in providing technical assistance and expertise in the areas of industrialization as well as trade and investment respectively should be further forged,” the Chair of G77 and China said.
Third. While welcoming the launch of the Global Infrastructure Forum (GIF), led by the multilateral development banks (MDBs), April 16 in Washington, D.C., the Group emphasized that the outcome of GIF must be reported to the FfD Forum, and the responsibility for hosting this important Forum would rotate among the MDBs.
Fourth. The Group urges countries to commit to promote and increase transparency in financial flows in all aspects and work together in the fight against illicit financial flows in order to work towards the global framework to tackling illicit financial flows.
Fifth. Since international trade and investment are engines for development, the Group calls on WTO members to redouble their efforts to promptly conclude the negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda and reiterate that development concerns form an integral part of the Doha Development Agenda.
“We also urge the promotion of investment for sustainable development and look forward to the G77 Meeting on Investment for Sustainable Development in Thailand on 4-5 May 2016 during which the Group will explore ways and means to promote investment in developing countries to support the realization of AAAA and 2030 Agenda,” Plasai said.
Sixth. The Group urges assistance to developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief, debt restructuring and sound debt management.
Seventh. The Group Chair stressed the importance of systemic issues within the FfD process. “We should continue to broaden and strengthen the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making and norm-setting and global economic governance, ensure easier market access and investment opportunities for developing countries, and further promote regional economic integration,” Plasai said.
The Group’s chair appealed to all parties that enough time was needed for the intergovernmental process along with open-minded attitude and the spirit of partnership and solidarity. “We sincerely hope and look forward to the meaningful and substantive outcome documents for the future Forums to reflect the actual transformation of global visions into tangible actions that will improve the lives of people around the world,” he added.
The four-point outcome document of the FfD Forum affirmed participants’ “strong commitment to the full and timely implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which builds on the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration.
The ECOSOC Forum participants recognize that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda provides a global framework for financing sustainable development, and is “an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, supports and complements it and helps to contextualize its means of implementation targets with concrete policies and actions”.
These relate to domestic public resources, domestic and international private business and finance, international development cooperation, international trade as an engine for development, debt and debt sustainability, addressing systemic issues and science, technology, innovation and capacity-building, and data, monitoring and follow-up.
The participants welcome the proposed three-pronged approach of the 2016 Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) report, and look forward to future IATF reports which contain a discussion of the global context and its implications for the follow-up process; an overview of each chapter of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda highlighting synergies between the chapters of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, including the pertinent updated data and issues, while covering the broader set of commitments and action items in an on-line annex, and analyses of thematic issues.
They look forward to future sessions of the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Follow up, and underline the importance of deciding, well in advance, on its dates, themes and other organizational matters.
The Forum was convened by seventy-first President of the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Oh Joon who is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York. [IDN-InDepthNews – 22 April 2016]
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Photo: Achieving Sustainable Development | Credit: UN ECOSOC