World Leaders Lay Foundation for Reforming International Financial Architecture, Expediting Socioeconomic Progress, as Financing for Development Forum Concludes
Warning Millions Still Living in Extreme Poverty, Deputy Secretary-General Stresses ‘It Is Now or Never’
Expressing grave concern over recent shocks that are threatening sustainable development worldwide, the Economic and Social Council concluded its Financing for Development Forum today with the adoption of an outcome document aimed at reforming the international financial architecture in order to adapt to global economic changes and expedite progress towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Adopting the text — titled “Follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document E/FFDF/2023/L.1) — by consensus, delegates said that it has laid a constructive foundation for further action.
“In the face of the multiple and interlinked global crises, we must meet the moment and embrace change by taking immediate measures to scale up efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda”, Heads of State and Government stated through the outcome document. Recognizing the crucial role of inclusive and sustainable industrial and business development, and reiterating the importance of international cooperation, they reaffirmed the need to promote quality infrastructure in developing countries and explore innovative approaches to coordinate, scale up and channel public and private finance.
Further acknowledging that domestic resources are generated by economic growth and an enabling environment, world leaders recommitted to strengthen revenue-administration capacities through modernized, transparent and progressive tax systems and policies. Against this backdrop, they encouraged intergovernmental discussions at United Nations Headquarters on strengthening the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation. Development partners should scale up and fulfil their official development assistance (ODA) obligations, while enabling concessional finance for least developed countries, they said.
Supporting efforts to reform multilateral development banks, world leaders urged them to mobilize and provide additional financing within their mandates to support developing countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Stressing the urgency of debt treatment, they called for international debt mechanisms and recognized the need to find solutions for debt vulnerabilities. To this end, Heads of State and Government committed to creating conducive domestic and international environments to promote inclusive structural change, while welcoming the role of financial innovation and technology in enhancing financial inclusion.
After the adoption, several delegates took the floor to express their positions and voice concerns over certain parts of the outcome document. Many delegations welcomed the adoption of the document by consensus, while some expressed regret over the non-inclusion of the impact of unilateral coercive measures on social and economic development, with the representative of Venezuela stating that, despite “deliberate stumbling blocks”, the Forum remained silent on the matter. Echoing this stance, Syria’s representative said the document fails to address the difficulties of developing countries, while acknowledging that the text also includes positive elements for these States. In this vein, the delegate of Canada, welcoming the inclusion of gender equality, said the text outlines the special vulnerabilities of small island developing States.
In closing remarks, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the discussions over the course of the Forum have driven home the urgency of scaling up financing for sustainable development. “It is now or never,” she said, pointing out that about 574 million people — nearly 7 per cent of the world’s population — are projected to still be living in extreme poverty by 2023. The Secretary-General called for mobilizing an additional $500 billion per year through the SDG Stimulus and for re-allocating by October at least $100 billion in special drawing rights through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, she said, adding that Japan agreed to double the amount of those reserve assets, directing them to the people in need.
She underscored the importance of pursuing long-term reforms of the international financial architecture alongside short-term actions to relieve debt burdens and mobilize liquidity, while also emphasizing the need for strengthening international tax corporation and creating new financial models for climate action. “The SDGs are in need of rescue,” she stressed, urging States to deliver on their commitments.
In the same spirit, the Council President, Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria), conveyed her appreciation for the active engagement of Heads of State and more than 30 ministers, noting that their contributions have been instrumental in advancing the financing for development agenda. “Existing mechanisms are not sufficient to address the multiple concurrent crises,” she said, calling for an increase in development financing and new methods to achieve sustainable structural transformations.
“The end of the Forum is just the beginning of the next stage that lies before us,” she noted, adding that the outcomes of the Financing for Development Forum will directly inform financing discussions at the high-level political forum on sustainable development in July, which will set out priorities and generate political momentum for the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in September. “Let us draw inspiration from the commitments and initiatives announced during this Forum and renew our collective efforts towards achieving a more equitable and sustainable world for all,” she said.
The Forum on Financing for Development also held a panel discussion on “safeguarding food security through multilateralism, trade and national actions” and a round table on “Integrated National Financing Frameworks — national actions to raise financing for the SDGs”.
The Forum held its ninth panel discussion on the theme “safeguarding food security through multilateralism, trade and national actions” that featured a keynote address by Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe. Moderated by Pedro Manuel Moreno, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), it included presentations by Madeleine Alingué, Minister of State for Economic Prospective and International Partnerships of Chad; Allison A. Thomas, Assistant Deputy Administrator and Managing Director of the United States Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agricultural Service and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair for the Policy Partnership for Food Security; Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Managing Director of the Common Fund for Commodities; David Laborde, Director of the Agrifood Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); with Jane Nalunga of the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute of Uganda as the lead discussant.
Mr. MNANGAGWA, speaking via a pre-recorded video message, said that Zimbabwe’s development experience has been recently characterized by illegal sanctions, further curtailed by climate change, COVID-19 and global geopolitical tensions. Despite this, the Government has shown that national food security can be attained through enhanced stakeholder participation for increased production and productivity within the sector. Recognizing the common goals at the multilateral level regarding food security and nutrition, he highlighted a greater need for partnerships. To this end, strategies to strengthen multilateralism and trade must be scaled up to guarantee food security across countries, taking into account different levels of development. He called upon the institutions that oversee the global multilateral system to reform and restore people’s confidence in the system and multilateralism in general, while ensuring that all people have access to nutritious food.
Mr. MORENO said 2.3 billion people around the world suffer from food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by increasing food and energy prices. Most of these people live in developing countries and are vulnerable. The hike in commodity prices since 2020, along with increasing debt levels, has created more problems, he said, calling for a multilateral approach to find ways to achieve sustainable food production and support the planet’s ecosystem. The panel aims to find ways to increase food security.
Ms. ALINGUÉ noted that Chad is a Sahel country with 7.6 million hectares of irrigated land, practicing family-intensive agriculture. Citing international shocks, food and nutritional insecurity, she emphasized the need to increase job opportunities in order to stem rural exodus and migration. Food security will affect more than 100 million people, she noted — more than half of them women — while 3.8 million people will be in a vulnerable position. With the grain market below normal due to flooding, Chad has prepared various sectoral policies and strategies to fuel its economy, including agro-pastoral guidelines and a national road map on food. Implementation of a national plan for rural areas will ensure sustainable resources, adaptation to climate change and public-private partnerships. She noted her Government has prepared an industrialization and economic diversification plan for small and medium-sized enterprises, and is investing in job creation to increase its gross domestic product (GDP) and raise exports of manufacturing products from 2 to 6 per cent by 2030.
Ms. THOMAS said food insecurity is a shared global challenge and a critical component of the United States’ national security. Since 2022, Joseph R. Biden’s Administration has committed over $13.5 billion to address the global food crisis, while the country’s leadership in the field has been highlighted at several major international summits. Recognizing the need for collective action, she said the impacts of future conflicts, pandemics and climate change should mitigated first. She also underscored the importance of increasing agricultural productivity and recalled that, in 2022, her country launched a $3 billion programme, “The Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities”, that provides funding to small producers and underserved communities aiming to apply climate-smart production practices and sequester carbon. To this end, an international climate hub, created by the United States Department of Agriculture will serve as a resource on climate change and agriculture for global stakeholders.
Additionally, she underscored the importance of developing and investing in early warning systems and risk assessments, while ensuring efficient fertilizers and soil health. To meet these needs, the Government provides $20 million for soil mapping and $2 billion annually for food assistance development programmes through the “Feed the Future” initiative. “The future of trade and food security combined relies on our collective actions,” she stressed.
Mr. BELAL said the Common Fund for Commodities has been working to address small food producers’ dependence on commodities and fluctuating commodity prices so these producers can achieve more sustainable income. Safeguarding food insecurity is very difficult in the face of rising prices. For example, one country had to increase the price of its electricity by 500 per cent. “Imagine the effect on other sectors of the economy,” he said. Turning to trade, he said the framework surrounding trade in commodities is unfair to the small producers, who frequently cannot put food on their own tables. Africa has the most dependency on commodities and 70 per cent of the Fund’s work is on that continent. He outlined the ways in which producers are earning very poor prices for their goods, compared to the price of these goods, such as coffee and cashews, paid by consumers.
In addition, 90 per cent of coffee is exported in a green form without any value added, and 99 per cent of coffee is roasted away from the region in which it is produced, he said. This means that producers are not gaining income from the increased value added to their coffee. Moreover, the long travel distances contribute to carbon emissions and harming the environment. He urged people to put themselves “into the soul” of the small food producers and “see how they are surviving”. The world is “super connected” right now and consumers must become aware of the problems faced by producers. These producers need technology and advice, and transparency must be brought to the supply chain so it is made more environmentally viable.
Mr. LABORDE stressed that international food security has deteriorated, as the situation in 2023 is worse than in 2015, with the amount of people in chronic undernourishment rising from 8 to 10 per cent. On top of that, 250 million people live in acute food insecurity, and 3 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet on a daily basis. Those numbers will not improve, he emphasized — and from London to Bamako, you cannot go to a household and talk about shared prosperity with a mother or father if they cannot afford a nutritious meal for their family. This situation exists because the international community has underinvested in agrifood systems, without making the structural gains needed to feed the global population — and the money that was spent was not spent properly. The international community has forgotten small holders, who are key to food sustainability, while many countries have lived in a situation of surplus with cheap food — much of it wasted.
Investing in agrifood systems is complex, risky and confusing, he affirmed, and beyond the lack of investment, there are economic slowdowns, a looming debt crisis, local and international conflict, and climate shocks. This is a global concern, he stressed, citing floods in Chad, Pakistan and California that are hitting breadbaskets everywhere. The smaller the State, the more important trade becomes — although it is not a miracle solution. While trade is the flow of goods, there must also be a discussion on the flow of money. Noting the critical role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in fostering an open, transparent and rules-based multilateral trade system — with rules based on science and not politics — he further stressed the need for removing export restrictions on food, and keeping trade in fertilizer free of sanctions and blockades. Small holders must be provided with information on prices, and every market must have proper competition policies.
Ms. NALUNGA, noting that hunger and malnutrition have been increasing in Africa, said that industrialization of agriculture is a key pathway for structural transformation. Trade must be fair and equitable, she said lamenting that the issues of agriculture, public stockholding, safeguards mechanisms and intellectual property rights have not been addressed by WTO. Noting that, in Africa, open markets can lead to the destruction of agriculture — because countries cannot compete with the competitively produced exports — she called for re-thinking liberalization. Turning to investment, she underscored the importance of achieving balance in rights and obligations. Recalling that African countries agreed to provide 10 per cent of their budget to agriculture and lamenting that only a few have done so, she said coherence between national and regional levels related to finance, agriculture, trade and industry should be addressed. Moreover, she suggested that gender issues and youth be taken into account. The issue of food sovereignty should be put back on the agenda, she added, emphasizing that African countries should be given time to implement climate-change related policies.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates and representatives of civil society laid out their concerns with a global trade system that frequently hurts producers of food in low-income countries and thus contributes to food insecurity.
The representative of Paraguay said there is a need for multilateral norms that are based on scientific evidence, and commercial barriers that contribute to price distortions must be removed.
The representative of Argentina agreed it is essential to maintain a world trade system based on rules. Agricultural trade that is more just and transparent is needed. This will help countries make the investments needed to increase their food production and thereby meet the world population’s growing needs for food. Subsidies, which represent 15 per cent of the total value of agricultural production, must be reduced. As a producer and exporter, her delegation is deeply committed to reforms. The food insecurity and hunger faced by many people must be addressed.
The representative of the Third World Network noted that long-term food security has eroded over the long term. Developing countries cannot continue to be import dependent. Developing countries face irrational and unfair trade rules. Their ability to use subsidies has been limited while developed countries use them on a great scale. This massive inequity has to be addressed.
Ms. ALINGUÉ reaffirmed the need to improve on traditional systems as they are unfair to countries like Chad. Ensuring food security and nutrition for all and avoiding compromising economic social and environmental bases requires investing in sustainable agriculture, and protecting arable lands for the benefit of local populations. She urged for better manufacturing systems and cross-border trade, with more assistance for those in crisis.
Ms. THOMAS agreed that there is a consistent theme of recommendations and best practices in fighting global food insecurity. She called for a focus on investing in small farmers and their access to tools and information, and an agricultural market information system to reduce uncertainty. The United States remains committed to an open trade system, seeking opportunities through WTO and other bodies.
Mr. BELAL noted that the world of commodities is one of boom and bust. The issue is not food production, but rather a management issue. He cited the example of Bangladesh, saving $700 million annually on fertilizer, further calling for smallholders to reap the benefits of high prices, and for them to receive what they are due.
Mr. LABORDE cited climate change, with exceptional events like La Niña and El Niño becoming the new norms — with a greater impact on low- and middle-income countries than high-income ones. Adaptation is therefore key, while high-income countries can help their sectors; as by 2050, imbalances will accelerate, with 3 billion people with the means to adapt their agrifood systems while 7 billion people will not. While there has been investment in certain crops like maize, rice, wheat and soybeans, which is not the case for others, he stressed that the clock is ticking and action and financing must be targeted.
Ms. NALUNGA, recognizing the importance of bringing agriculture issues back to the agenda, underscored the need for addressing coherence and collaboration, while also enhancing partnerships. To this end, she urged WTO, FAO and UNCTAD to work collaboratively. The issues of finance and fiscal policies are important to ensure that developing countries can invest in agriculture and small-scale producers, she said, noting that they produce almost 70 per cent of agricultural products.
Mr. MORENO, summarizing the panel discussion, said: “If today 10 per cent of the world population is in hunger, the call for action is more urgent than ever.”
The representative of Indonesia also spoke.
The Forum then held a round table on “Integrated National Financing Frameworks — national actions to raise financing for the SDGs” that featured keynote addresses by Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Navid Hanif, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Moderated by Shari Spiegel, Chief of the Policy Analysis and Development Branch in the Financing for Sustainable Development Office of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the round table’s panellists included: Rose Pola Pricemou, Minister for Planning and International Cooperation of Guinea; Mariyam Manarath Muneer, Deputy Minister for Finance of Maldives; Luis Madera Sued, Vice-Minister for Planning and Public Investment of the Dominican Republic; Raden Siliwanti, Director for Multilateral Funding of the Ministry of National Development Planning of Indonesia; and Carin Jämtin, Director-General of the Swedish International Development Corporation Agency. Olivier Cattaneo, Head of the Policy Analysis and Strategy Unit of the Financing for Sustainable Development Division of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) spoke as a lead discussant, followed by Luca De Fraia of Action Aid International.
In a keynote address, Mr. STEINER said countries are struggling with extraordinary financial realities and economic circumstance as the international system seems unable to find responses on the scale, and with the speed, that so many countries need in the face of extreme disruptions. The Forum is building on the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank and can promote a convergence around a common sustainable finance agenda. The Forum can also build on the SDG Stimulus Plan, unveiled by the Secretary-General, which aims to provide $500 billion annually in additional financing for and in developing countries. He stressed that this funding and investment needs to be leveraged to help developing countries.
He said the Integrated National Financing Frameworks, being carried out in 86 countries, can be used by Governments to align their national development plans with the Global Goals and help unlock new sources of funding. The Frameworks aim to promote much greater financial coherence. In March, Maldives launched its financing strategy, the first from a small island developing State. With 16 new policy actions, it is a strategy that calls for all development financing to be climate financing. As a tool to develop national strategies, the Frameworks require tailored support, including technical assistance and South-South exchanges. The Frameworks also provide a plan for countries to set out their priorities. He invited new partners to join the Integrated National Financing Frameworks Facility, established last year with UNDP, OECD, European Union, Sweden and Italy. He said the Frameworks help recognize that “finance is the kinetic force that will help bridge the great financial divide” and help secure the future of the people and the planet. He stressed that national sovereignty must be observed as these Frameworks are carried out.
Mr. HANIF stressed that the world is fast running out of time to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a financing divide that has translated into a sustainable development divide. In this context, the Secretary-General has called for an SDG Stimulus, with a massive increase in development financing of at least $500 billion per year, aligned with national priorities and plans. He cited integrated National Financing Frameworks, now involving 86 countries, which help them articulate their financing needs and gaps, aligned with national priorities. Such financing strategies can be a landing point for scaled up international support, guide the operationalization of the Stimulus at the country level, and help build the institutional capacities, processes and systems to underpin strategic financing policymaking in the long term. He noted the launch of the integrated National Financing Frameworks Facility, together with UNDP, OECD, European Union, Sweden and Italy, to scale up joint support for Framework implementors. He further announced the launch of two flagship e-learning courses: an introductory course and an in-depth course for practitioners, to empower learners to put theory into practice.
Ms. SPIEGEL, introducing the roundtable, said this initiative aimed at enabling the countries implementing Integrated National Financing Frameworks to share their experience.
Ms. PRICEMOU said that, in 2015, Guinea aligned itself with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and integrated the Global Goals into its national development plan. To this end, it created a national integrated financing framework and road map. Recalling that the country’s financing for development is based on domestic and external resources, she said the Government mobilized public income, streamlined public expenses to promote productive investment and improved its business climate to attract private investment. Moreover, it has undertaken steps to strengthen its public administration and bodies by promoting digitalization, implementing strategies for debt management, diversifying its national economy and improving its political, economic and financial Governance. In this regard, she underscored the importance of improving the dialogue between the Government and the stakeholders on the principle of shared responsibility.
Ms. MUNEER said the Maldives Government published its National Financing Framework in March and was the first small island developing State to do so. Maldives is a highly vulnerable country and has to work urgently on efforts to raise climate financing. The Framework helped to correct a fragmented approach, close information gaps and leverage the existing investment options. The country undertook a development assessment that outlined its goals and desire to achieve a net-zero target by 030. It had spent $96 million from its budget alone in 2022 for climate mitigation and adaptation and knew it needed $800 million to $1.5 billion more. The Government decided to treat all financing as climate financing. Its Framework has 16 objectives and more than 100 action points.
One objective, for example, looks at insurance products and the need to develop climate-related insurance that can help the country protect against losses suffered by its tourism industry as a result of environmental damage, she said. The country considered gender as a key component of its strategy and gender has been integrated into all 16 financing objectives. Consultative rounds of talks were held with various stakeholders as the objectives were developed. Much work needs to be done and the Government plans to learn from best practices around the world, she said, adding that it is counting on its international and local partners to build on the momentum. The Ministry of Finance has set up the Climate Finance Hub to coordinate information.
Mr. SUED said financing should be more strategic in a complicated international arena. As a small island developing State and new middle-income country, the Dominican Republic needs to be more efficient with public investment and expenditure. His country was not convinced to join the integrated National Financing Frameworks effort by a United Nations agency — rather seeing it as a tool to improve the relationship between strategy and financing, to establish a fluid dialogue between those concerned with development and those concerned with finance. The effort must be flexible and adapted to the needs of each country. It must be an instrument of negotiation for long-term planning and budget, establish a national team on financing, and strengthen institutions.
Ms. SILIWANTI, reporting on Indonesia’s sustainable finance progress, said the Ministry of National Development Planning has developed an SDGs road map, having estimated a financing gap of $1 trillion by 2030 even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Underscoring the need for addressing this gap, she said her country has developed a range of innovative financing instruments — including green sukuk and SDG bonds — and has mobilized private capital for sustainable development. To this end, it raised over $7.5 billion from using these instruments. Recalling that Indonesia is the largest impact investment market in South-East Asia, she underlined the importance of improving cohesion between planning and financing. As the country has conducted a development finance assessment for its National Financing Framework, it discovered financing options and alternative financing sources that have not been optimized. In this regard, the Government engaged with key stakeholders in blended finance impact investment. Moving forward, she reiterated the critical role of the Framework in pulling together development financing resources in limiting risks, filling gaps and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, while ensuring coherence of political processes.
Ms. JÄMTIN said the unpredictable global economic outlook means all countries have to explore the potential of all financial flows and investments in in order to finance sustainable development. Opportunities do exist to align private capital with the achievement of the Global Goals. Yet, global financial shocks are holding the private sector back from investments. The Frameworks can provide a platform for new financing opportunities to emerge and build confidence and accountability, she said, stressing the need to focus on institutional development as sustainable development and strong support from institutions for sustainable financing. These Frameworks can serve as a platform for stakeholder dialogue and new public-private partnerships. The Forum helps foster a dialogue on these Frameworks and helps build confidence in them, she observed. The Swedish International Development Corporation Agency remains committed to partnering with all stakeholders to fulfil the 2030 Agenda.
Mr. CATTANEO noted OECD is a long-time knowledge partner of the United Nations on the integrated National Financing Frameworks agenda, providing inputs through the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development for the development of Framework-related knowledge products. It also develops relevant tools and analyses for members, such as the Transition Finance tool-kit and country diagnostics that are available through its website. Recalling the Forum’s discussion on fragmentation, country ownership and other effectiveness principles, he cited the Framework as a new and important piece of this effectiveness agenda. The aim of the Framework Facility is to respond to the growing demand from countries for technical assistance and capacity-building to develop and implement their Frameworks. Noting the financing landscape has become extremely complex, with thousands of instruments to choose from and hundreds of vertical funds — requiring strong Government capacities and technical knowledge to navigate the system — he reminded that the Facility is trying to provide just that. He recalled the successful joint OECD-UNDP Tax Inspectors without Borders model, that has a $100 return in taxes for each dollar invested in capacity-building.
Mr. DE FRAIA said the National Financing Framework is a possibility of putting in practice national ownership and development plans on the level of financing. Noting that there are “too many expectations” around the Framework, he expressed concern about the duplication and additional transitional costs. To this end, his organization has published several papers and produced general recommendations. Noting that the Framework may sideline the importance of systemic reforms and cause erosion of the countries’ development plans, he voiced concern about the nature of the reforms promoted through the instrument. “We still try to understand how the integrated national financing frameworks are being implemented at the local level,” he said, adding that it is early to come to firm conclusions. The Framework may pose a risk of only engaging Governments and multilateral institutions, with no clear role for stakeholders, he stressed.
In the ensuing dialogue, representatives discussed their commitment to achieve the Global Goals and how the National Financing Frameworks might help them find financing solutions. Several representatives stressed the need to ensure that the voices of local people are heard.
The representative of Spain said the Frameworks can help countries align their national priorities as they develop financing mechanisms and work towards achieving the Global Goals.
The representative of Cuba noted that the economic and financial blockade imposed by the United States does not give the country access to stable sources of financing and investment.
The representative of the Samoa Umbrella for Non-governmental Organizations said the priorities of countries should be democratically reflected within the Frameworks. There must be assurances that any reforms proposed by the Frameworks do not create any harm. People should be treated with dignity.
The representative of the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice said Member States should not present the Frameworks as a solution for financing without recognizing the structural constraints faced by many countries. The people of the Global South should be able to make their own choices about whether and how to participate in these Frameworks.
Ms. MUNEER said she looked forward to the establishment of a mechanism to prevent the country from fall-out of the work it has undertaken, and will establish a committee of relevant ministers to ensure the process is sustainable.
Mr. SUED agreed that the document can help establish a long-term dialogue and implement long-term financial policies — with the idea being to have a tool for strategic financing in 20 years’ time.
MARCOS NETO, Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub of the United Nations Development Programme, said it is important to keep the dialogue going and help share lessons from other countries. He recalled that the Framework is a sovereign piece of financial planning which should have the active participation of all stakeholders at the national level — allowing a Government to have a financing plan to dialogue with the international community. The Framework helps developing countries have a voice in global development processes.
Ms. SPIEGEL recalled that the Framework is a process in building, creating and learning.
Also speaking during the interactive dialogue was a representative of Ibon International.
Action on Draft Outcome Document
LACHEZARA STOEVA (Bulgaria), Council President, introducing the draft outcome document “Follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document E/FFDF/2023/L.1), invited the co-facilitators of the draft to make remarks.
ANA PAULA ZACARIAS (Portugal) said the richness of the debate on the outcome document showed that the task was complex and challenging, adding that “expectations were and are high”. Achieving consensus was possible due to the delegations’ commitment and constructive spirit, she added, noting that it will send as a strong political message on the importance of multilateralism. “Together, we planted the seeds that will flourish in the future,” she stressed.
CLAVER GATETE (Rwanda) said the outcome document lays down a “constructive narrative on which others can build”. Recognizing that the text could not accommodate all concerns, he said: “We did our best […]” to reflect the views and concerns of Member States.
Ms. STOEVA thanked all the delegates for their cooperation and efforts to produce a compromise. The negotiations were difficult yet everyone was able to look at the bigger picture to produce a strong document, she said. The adoption of the document has no budget implications.
The Forum then adopted the draft outcome document without a vote.
Speaking after the adoption, the representative of Costa Rica, also speaking for Colombia and aligning herself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the financial gaps on achieving an energy transition must be filled. It is necessary to ramp up efforts towards a fair energy transition so the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement can be implemented. Joint efforts are fundamental to helping the world decarbonize.
The representative of Cuba, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that, while the Group has joined the consensus it remains firm in its conviction that the United Nations must remain strong and united in the face of the multiple challenges that are preventing progress towards the Global Goals and sustainable economic growth. The Group deeply regrets that the outcome document does not account for the harmful role of unilateral coercive measures to the social and economic development of developing countries that are illegally subjected to such measures. The number and scope of these measures has expanded in recent years and is a worrying trend, with grave consequences for affected countries’ ability to access development finance and engage in free trade and investment.
The Group made several proposals, based on agreed language, to focus on the development impacts of these measures, but no serious consideration was shown, he said. It reaffirms its firm rejection of these laws and regulations; these actions not only undermine the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law, but also severely threaten the freedom of trade and investment.
The representative of the Russian Federation, aligning himself with the statement to come on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, noted with regret that paragraph 85 — which takes note of the report of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development — contains an analysis of the consequences of the situation in Ukraine with a clearly biased position, including on unsubstantiated claims that have stood the test of time and the real situation. Attempts to ascribe all global problems to the situation in Ukraine, including difficulties in fighting poverty and hunger, are not only not objective, but destructive. Citing the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including for global value chains, he noted the short-sighted financial policy of Western countries in fighting it — creating trillions of unsecured dollars, which spurred inflation, led to spiraling interest rates, and due to the interconnectedness of the global economy, shifted this burden to the already heavily indebted countries of the South.
He further noted the pernicious effects of illegal unilateral sanctions — against the Russian Federation and other States — disrupting supply chains and trade routes, as well as the numerous long-term conflicts in which the West is directly related. Instead of trying to shirk responsibility under any convenient pretext, he suggested that the champions of inaccurate analysis take a sober look at the woeful situation of the world economy and think about how to find a way out of it together. This is the aim of the outcome document adopted today, which gives a much more balanced picture than some documents of the Secretariat and other United Nations agencies, which, he stated, should draw conclusions from this. He further dissociated his delegation from all the unacceptable passages in the report of the Inter-Agency Group, noted in paragraph 85, primarily the introductory remarks of the Secretary-General.
The representative of Venezuela, speaking for the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, said developed countries must start complying with the commitments they had made. Noting that unilateral coercive measures block large amounts of funds, he expressed concern, that despite “deliberate stumbling blocks”, the Forum remained silent on the matter. To this end, calling the document “incomplete”, he reiterated a call for including the text on unilateral coercive measures and urged States to lift them. He also insisted on the inclusion of this issue in the Forum’s 2024 session.
The representative of Iran, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, said he is not committed to the parts of the document that contradict his country’s national priorities, laws and regulations. Expressing disappointment that the text does not address the effect of unilateral coercive measures, he urged the international community to eliminate the use of these measures against developing countries.
The representative of Switzerland welcomed the adoption of the outcome document by consensus. He said his delegation is a partner in the work of international tax cooperation and wants to strengthen existing fora yet ensure the United Nations does not create competitive tax mechanisms. Supporting efforts to achieve greater debt transparency, he urged delegates to build on the progress made this year.
The representative of Canada, also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, expressed support for this year’s discussions. He welcomed that the outcome document reflects gender equality, which contributes to economic growth and that the document recognizes the special vulnerabilities of the small island developing States. While there needs to be fair and effective taxation, he said the United Nations could best contribute to this issue by building on existing mechanisms rather than developing another tax framework.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, welcomed that consensus was reached, including on paragraphs dealing with the SDG Stimulus, debt vulnerabilities, reform of multilateral development banks and international cooperation in tax matters. Thanking the Inter-Agency Task Force for its annual report, he looked forward in particular to analysing options for a fourth Forum on Financing for Development.
The representative of Syria, aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, said his delegation joined consensus, but, while the document included positive elements for developing countries, it is incomplete. It fails to address all their difficulties, particularly unilateral coercive measures, which render access to financing for development impossible. It is unacceptable for some States to impose redlines in negotiations so the text will not include consensual language from the 2030 Agenda on those measures. Noting his delegation had entered negotiations in good faith, he stressed that such redlines are extensions of hegemonistic policies and run counter to the spirit of international law and the Charter, aiming for narrow gains. The devastating earthquake in Syria 6 February showed without a doubt the catastrophic effects of such illegal and inhumane measures, making it more difficult to rescue victims, preventing the importation of machinery and early warning systems, and ultimately increasing fatalities. He stressed that the flexibility shown by Syria should never be interpreted as acceptance of this approach, as in the near future his delegation will not give in during negotiations.
The representative of the United States, recalling that her country is the largest single provider of the official development assistance (ODA), said she joined the consensus on the outcome document. Underscoring the need for examining national policies to ensure that they are delivering to the people, she also highlighted the key role of the rule of law, respect for human rights and good governance.
The representative of Hungary, associating herself with the European Union, said she would have preferred a more general reference to people in vulnerable situations in paragraph 9 and disassociated herself from this paragraph.
The representative of Nicaragua, aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter, said the outcome document is not complete as it does not reflect the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on financing for development. More than 2 billion people suffer from the impact of these unilateral coercive measures, he said, adding that international financial institutions are also a part of these measures. The imperialists and neo-colonists are applying them to more countries.
The representative of the Republic of Korea said he was concerned with paragraph 20 of the outcome document. This may be misleading as all Member States did not agree with operating paragraph 2 of Assembly resolution 77/244. Many delegates were not able to give their opinions at the session. His delegation preferred the word “note” to “welcome” or “looks forward”. Regarding the discussions on international tax cooperation, he said these discussions should be based on inclusiveness.
The representative of Japan said his delegation has concerns about paragraph 20 of the outcome document, which states that delegates look forward to the intergovernmental discussion at the United Nations, mentioned in operating paragraph 2 of Assembly resolution 77/244. Since the concerns raised by many Member States have not yet been addressed by the United Nations and the discussion on the two-pillar solution under the Inclusive Framework is in its final stretch, Japan is not in a position to “look forward to” the intergovernmental discussion at the United Nations, which has high risk of undermining the two-pillar solution.
The representative of the United Kingdom voiced support for reform of the international financial system, and that his delegation is committed to reinvigorating progress on Sustainable Development Goals, alleviating poverty and tackling climate change. Championing targeted reforms per the Bridgetown Initiative, he called for IMF to raise access limits on its funds for the poorest countries and generate that resource. Multilateral development banks must stretch their balance sheets and scale up the volume of finance, mainstream climate-resilient debt clauses and build a more shock-responsive system. Urging progress on fairer tax systems that ensure revenues and assets lost to illicit finance are tracked, frozen and recovered, he noted the international debt system needs urgent improvement, with a rapid increase in debt service repayments. He cited the importance of accelerating progress on debt restructuring, including making the common Framework a success, and increased financing for science and technology.