Helen Clark: Keynote speech at ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development

Apr 18, 2016

My thanks go to His Excellency Mr. Oh Joon, President of ECOSOC, for the invitation to address Member States at this Inaugural Forum on Financing for Development. I also thank the two co-facilitators of the draft conclusions and recommendations of this Forum His Excellency Mr. Jean-Francis Regis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin, and His Excellency Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, Permanent Representative of Croatia. UNDP is privileged to be one of the five institutional stakeholders of the Financing for Development process. 

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals which were launched last year have set out a bold and universal agenda which responds to the volatile and unpredictable times in which we are living. Prior to that in July, Member States agreed to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. This Agenda calls for the effective deployment of all sources of development finance in support of sustainable development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It will be important for countries to have the capacity to blend, catalyse, and leverage finance across public and private, domestic and international, and developmental and environmental sources to maximize their use. 

This week’s meeting is the first formal occasion for Member States to monitor progress on implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. As the first report of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development shows, monitoring progress is a complex exercise. The Forum can support the process by driving forward a clear plan for monitoring and reporting. At each annual Forum, the international community can take stock of progress; consider who is being reached - and who risks being left behind; and share experiences about innovative approaches to financing sustainable development. 

How can UNDP and the UN Development System support the financing for development process?

UNDP and sister UN development organisations are committed to participating in the Inter-Agency Task Force and the annual Forum. UNDP contributed to the preparation of the report of the IATF as one of the institutional stakeholders in the FfD follow-up process. Recognising that advancing sustainable development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda are about more than financing alone, UNDP and the UN Development Group will provide further support to the process in the following ways:

First, through our work at country level, we can showcase the range of innovative financing approaches which countries are taking – from green financing to blended financing, impact investing and many others, so that those experiences can be learned from, taken to-scale, and adapted elsewhere. 

Second, the UN development system can be a key partner to countries in building strong national ownership and leadership for SDG implementation. Already, 95 UN Country Teams have been approached for support in implementing the SDGs.

The United Nations Development Group has agreed on its MAPS (Mainstreaming, Acceleration, and Policy Support) approach for offering joined up support for country-level implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We can support governments to mainstream the agenda into national plans and budgets; to assess the risks of shocks which might stand in the way of progress, and how to reduce and manage around those risks; to build capacities to collect data and report on national progress; and to advocate for the SDGs. 

Third, we can support countries to build the broad coalitions and partnerships called for in the Addis Agenda. We are well placed to support Member States and other stakeholders to share ideas, knowledge, experiences, and technologies.

Fourth, we will intensify our focus on the poorest and most vulnerable countries. Many developing countries struggle to raise sufficient domestic revenues and to attract private finance. They may also be extremely vulnerable to shocks and stresses, such as extreme weather events, disease pandemics, and/or commodity price volatility. WE must stand with them to build capacities for attracting the financing required from across all sources.

Fifth and finally, the proposed outcome document from this year’s FfD Forum also mentions the importance of voluntary commitments to financing sustainable development. In Addis Ababa, UNDP and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) announced a partnership to advance Tax Inspectors Without Borders - an initiative which  supports developing countries to build tax audit capacities. This is very important for domestic resource mobilization. The first joint OECD-UNDP deployment of tax experts has happened in Jamaica, and the next will be in Liberia in June.

To conclude.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have been launched in uncertain economic times. Yet overall the world has more resources and capacities at its disposal than at any other time in history. We have to make these work for sustainable development.

UNDP and sister agencies in the UN Development Group are committed to supporting the Financing for Development Forum in its important role of promoting financing for the 2030 Agenda, so that the aspiration to “leave no-one behind” can be realized.
 

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