Helen Clark: Remarks at the "Innovative Financing for the MDGs" event

21 Sep 2010

Talking Points for Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme On the occasion of the High Level Side Event on “innovative Financing for the MDGs”

I am pleased to co-chair this panel on “New resources for development: the opportunity of a contribution on financial transactions” with Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

I thank the Governments of Japan, Belgium, and France and the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development, of which UNDP is a member, for co-organizing this important side event today.

Having this event on the margins of the MDG Summit is highly appropriate. The purpose of the Summit is to generate momentum to accelerate progress on the MDGs.

A decade after the MDGs were launched, we can see that the focused effort to achieve them has yielded results.

Progress, however, has been uneven across the Goals, and across and within regions and nations.  So large needs remain unmet, and for far too many people their aspirations for a better life are not yet being met.

Moreover, meeting the MDGs has undoubtedly become harder in this era of multiple global crises, devastating natural disasters, and ongoing conflicts. 

Yet, in the last decade we have seen many countries – including the poorest – making significant progress on a range of MDGs. That reinforces our view at UNDP that they can be met.

In preparing for the Summit, UNDP has been compiling evidence from a large number of countries of what factors drive achievement of the Goals.

There is a wide range of proven policies which, adapted to national context, can ensure progress - where there is strong political leadership, an absence of conflict, good policy, sufficient capacity, and adequate and predictable funding for development.

In this context, UNDP believes that applying innovative financing mechanisms, such as a financial transaction tax, offers a promising way of complementing ODA with a potentially significant, sustainable and additional resource flow to achieve the MDGs by 2015 and sustain progress in the longer term.

Given the enormous climate challenge, additional financing above and beyond ODA is needed in particular to support developing countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

Innovative financing mechanisms have already demonstrated their worth, especially in the health sector, where they help to fund the purchase of essential drugs and vaccines.

The new report “Globalizing Solidarity: The Case for Financial Levies” assesses the sufficiency, the market impact, and the feasibility, stability and suitability of innovative financing options to address global developmental and environmental challenges.

As a result of the economic crisis, traditional forms of financing for development are under threat. ODA is under increased budgetary pressure in many donor countries, and private investment and remittances have also been affected.

This adds further weight to the case for raising resources for development from new sources – and not least from the financial sector.

As is the case with all resources for development, it will be important that what is raised from innovative financing mechanisms is used transparently and effectively, and complies with principles of aid effectiveness and coherence.

I commend the efforts of the Leading Group and all involved parties for seeking to mobilize additional resources for development.

Innovative forms of finance offer a potential to bridge the gap between the resources currently available and what is needed to reach the MDGs.

It is this kind of innovative thinking is needed accelerate MDG progress and advance sustainable development more broadly.