Planning for risks must be the ‘new normal’ in Financing for Development

Jun 17, 2015

The Swiss Government and UNDP hosted a high-level event on 15 June on the critical role of risk and resilience in Financing for Development (FfD). Acknowledging the threats posed by stressors, such as climate change, disasters, and conflict, the hosts emphasized that development cannot be financed as "business as usual."

“There is a disjoint between the way we plan and finance development and the realities of the world we live in,” noted Jo Scheuer, UNDP’s Director for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support. “Volatility is the new normal; the Financing for Development Conference is a rare opportunity to entrench the notion that development must be risk-informed to be sustainable.”

The high-level event followed a technical workshop held on 28 May that brought together twenty external policy experts to discuss challenges to development financing. That workshop was designed to articulate a vision for resilience and ensure adequate financial attention is paid to tackling shocks and stresses, such as the earthquake in Nepal and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, that adversely impact development and undermine progress.

H.E. Michael Gerber, Ambassador and Special Envoy for Global Sustainable Development of Switzerland, was on hand and, along with Gina Casar, UNDP’s Associate Administrator, welcomed the inputs and messages from experts. Amongst the key messages was a plea for all investors, public and private alike, to ensure sufficient recognition of risks and to amend investments accordingly. Experts also noted the seemingly intractable rise of humanitarian spending, which has reached close to $20 billion a year, and urged all stakeholders to invest more time and resources in sustaining development gains before a crisis strikes. This is especially important in light of the threat of climate change.

Key messages from the workshop and high-level event will next be carried forward to the Financing for Development Conference (FfD), which will run from 13-16 July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and will hopefully influence the FfD Outcome Document. For its part UNDP has been working with Member States and partners to ensure that the FfD, as well as parallel post-2015 processes, are used to strengthen development and enhance resilience at all levels.

Contact information

For more information please contact Jan Kellett (jan.kellett@undp.org). You can read Jan’s blog on the subject here.

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