Investments in human capital, in jobs and economic transformation, and in trade (agenda items of this Development Committee meeting) can all play a critical role in tackling inequalities and helping to reach those being left behind.
By taking concrete measures to build human capital we equip people with the skills and capabilities to thrive in a changing and interconnected economy. Strengthening human capital can mitigate the risk that skill-biased technological change leaves people behind. Efforts to strengthen education systems should include promoting lifelong learning and digital skills to foster adaptability and better match skills with future employment needs.
In this context, the UN welcomes the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Project and its role in marshalling stronger evidence on the productivity-enhancing impact of investments that improve outcomes in health and education and the importance of human capital for jobs and economic transformation.
Last month, the UN convened the first-ever High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, which has proven to be a catalyst for economic growth. Health is a human right and a precondition, outcome and driver of sustainable development. Recognizing this, the high-level meeting on universal health coverage galvanized global commitments to ensure health for all.
The Political Declaration that UN Member States adopted in the meeting is the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health – a vision for Universal Health Coverage by 2030. The United Nations, through joint efforts including the new Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All that includes the World Bank Group, is ready to support countries with our convening power, knowledge and expertise.
While trade can have transformative impact for economies and people, if not managed properly, it can also perpetuate inequalities, create discord and social fragmentation.
It is therefore critical that countries put in place policies to assist those left behind and to enhance social and environmental protection to ensure that benefits of trade and participation in Global Value Chains (GVCs) can be widely shared and sustainable, as the World Development Report 2020 on “Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains” stresses. New and emerging technologies and climate change are among major disruptors to GVCs with important implications for inequalities, which should be carefully managed. Prolonged trade disputes could also have significant spillovers on third countries through the disruption of GVCs.
More broadly, we need enhanced cooperation and renewed multilateralism to turn globalization into a positive force that more equitably benefits all. The path to a more inclusive and fairer globalization is outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is critical to deliver a “Decade of Action” for the 2030 Agenda and its central pledge to leave no one behind.
I. United Nations Collaboration with the World Bank Group
The United Nations appreciates the strong partnership with the World Bank Group in a wide range of areas.
To give a few examples, to support countries to address the climate crisis, the UN will continue to work with the World Bank Group and other institutional partners in support of the Finance Ministers Coalition for Climate Action. The new “Climate Promise” of UNDP committing to support 100 countries to revise and submit enhanced NDCs by 2020 will be implemented in close coordination with key partners, including the World Bank Group in the framework of the NDC Partnership.
Through the Insurance Development Forum (IDF) the UN will continue to work with the World Bank Group and the insurance industry to optimize and extend the use of insurance and its related risk management capabilities to build greater resilience and protection for people, communities, businesses, and public institutions that are vulnerable to disasters and their associated economic shocks.
The World Bank Group is one of the key contributors to the Financing for Development (FfD) process. The United Nations welcomes the continuing collaboration with the World Bank Group in producing the annual Financing for Sustainable Development Reports, including in developing further the global methodology on Integrated National Financing Frameworks, as requested by Member States in the last ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development.
The next annual ECOSOC FfD Forum will be held from 20 to 23 April 2020 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The ministerial segment of the FfD Forum will include the Special high-level meeting of the Economic and Social Council with the Bretton Woods institutions, the WTO, and UNCTAD. This is a critical opportunity to promote greater cooperation, coherence and consistency in the international system.
The United Nations also welcomes its strong partnership with the World Bank Group in supporting countries to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from crisis.
Collaboration is happening through Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments (RPBAs) and Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNAs), the Famine Early Action Mechanism (FAM); through jointly supporting the operationalization of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus; through implementing the recommendations of the UN-World Bank “Pathways for Peace” report; and exploring stronger collaboration in UN Mission Transition contexts, to name a few.
We see the ongoing IDA19 negotiations and the development of the World Bank Group’s new Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) Strategy as very important entry points to include incentives for further institutionalizing our collaboration in fragile and crisis situations.
The United Nations looks forward to further leveraging and expanding its partnerships with the World Bank Group in support of countries’ sustainable development priorities.