Helen Clark: Statement at Plenary Session of Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Jul 13, 2015

On behalf of the UN Development Group, I thank the Government of Ethiopia for hosting this important United Nations Conference.

This Third International Conference on Financing for Development is one of four major development related UN processes occurring this year, from that on disaster risk reduction in Sendai in March, to the launch of the SDGs in September, and to climate change COP 21 in Paris where a new global climate agreement is due to be reached.
Together these add up to a once in a generation opportunity to put our world on course for inclusive and sustainable development.

But we all know that without resources, no agenda is worth the paper it is written on. That is what makes a successful outcome to this financing for development conference so vital: the Addis Ababa Action Agenda needs to point the way to realisation of all the critical development agendas agreed this year.

UNDP is privileged to have long been designated as one of five key institutional stakeholders for the financing for development process, alongside the IMF, the World Bank, UNCTAD, and the WTO.

As preparations for this conference began, UNDP has consistently urged that a Monterrey Plus approach is taken which looks at both ODA and international public finance beyond ODA; building the capacities for domestic resource moblisation; and ensuring that financing is risk informed, taking into account pronounced challenges since Monterrey including the accelerated impact of environmental degradation – including of the climate ecosystem; the vulnerability of growing populations to natural hazards – including the world’s fast growing cities; and the proliferation of protracted conflicts.

This calls for a big, bold, transformative financing agenda which can help meet the challenges of our times, including the eradication of the scourge of poverty across all its dimensions.

All sources of finance – domestic and international, public and private – are needed. One source of finance does not substitute for another. Official Development Assistance remains essential for many countries, particularly for LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, and others in special development situations.
The challenge is to ensure that different sources of finance complement and reinforce each other. We need ODA to have more catalytic impact, including through support for building the capacity to access a wide range of financing instruments, including climate finance.

ODA can also be catalytic in strengthening domestic resource mobilization. Capacities for inclusive growth and development need to be built, within governments at all levels and in public institutions and legal and regulatory frameworks.

Human capital has to be built too – the backbone of development is rising levels of education, skills, and health status. As we have seen so tragically with Ebola, development can go into reverse when a health system fails.

Focus also needs to be placed on investing in the sectors which will generate decent work, and create that virtuous cycle of rising income which boosts demand and rates of savings to finance further investments.

The 2013 Human Development Report on the Rise of the South showed how economic emergence was also linked to rising human development. Investments in infrastructure, openness to trade and investment, and investments in health, education and social protection are all vital on the route to emergence.

The financing needs to meet internationally agreed development goals and national aspirations are great. Yet our world has more wealth, more knowledge, and more technologies at its disposal than ever before.

Enabling all countries to access these drivers of development has to be at the heart of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and realising the vision of the SDGs to protect our planet and to leave no one behind.

UN Member States are looking to the UN development system to play a leading role in the implementation of the post-2015 agenda.

We are fit for that purpose, and we are dedicated to supporting national partners to build the capacities they need to access finance, strengthen domestic resource mobilization, and advance inclusive and sustainable development.

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