As the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development drew to a close in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Thursday July 16th, UN delegates celebrated the adoption of a series of bold measures to overhaul global finance practices and generate investments for tackling a range of economic, social and environmental challenges.
The agreement called the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, was adopted following 4 days of negotiations to provide a foundation for implementing the global sustainable development agenda that world leaders are expected to adopt this September. The agreement was reached by the 193 UN Member States attending the Conference, following negotiations under the leadership of Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. It contains more than 100 concrete measures and addresses all sources of finance, covering cooperation on a range of issues including technology, science, innovation, trade and capacity building.
The negotiations culminated in a standoff over calls from the G77 to upgrade the UN expert committee on tax into a new UN agency, giving all countries a seat at the table as the Guardian Newspaper reported. Tax was the biggest sticking point during the conference. When rich nations, such as the US, UK and Japan, were accused of lobbying hard to block the proposed agency, civil society groups feared the talks would end in deadlock. Luckily this did not happen, but the outcome document rejected the idea of a UN tax body and instead proposed changes to the existing expert committee. Some rich nations, recognized the need to reform existing agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) but maintained a new intergovernmental body was not the solution.
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, countries also agreed to new initiatives, including a:
- Technology Facilitation Mechanism at the Sustainable Development Summit in September to boost collaboration among multistakeholders;
- New social compact in favor of the poor and vulnerable groups, through the provision of social protection systems and measures for all;
- Global Infrastructure Forum to identify and address infrastructure gaps, highlight opportunities for investment and cooperation;
- Taxation system that taxes harmful substances to deter consumption and to increase domestic resources;
- Commitment to promote affordable and stable access to credit for smaller enterprises;
- Recommitment to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for official development assistance;
- Commitment to reverse the decline in aid to the poorest countries, with the European Union committing to increase its aid to least developed countries to 0.2 per cent of gross national income by 2030.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commented positively on the outcomes of the conference stressing that “This agreement is a critical step forward in building a sustainable future for all. It provides a global framework for financing sustainable development.”
To find out more about the outcomes of the conference please click here.