Countries have agreed on vital new measures to overhaul global finance practices and generate investments for tackling a range of economic, social and environmental challenges, at the United Nations Third International Conference on Financing for Development. The conference is being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between 13 – 16th July.
The draft outcome document, which once adopted will be known as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, provides 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 and builds on the outcomes of two previous Financing Development conferences in Monterrey, Mexico and Doha, Qatar.
“This Conference shows the way forward – with governments, international organisations, financial and trade institutions, business, and civil society all working together for sustainable development,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Addis Ababa. “I am very encouraged by the strong momentum and ownership among all partners.”
The agenda includes agreements for international cooperation for financing of specific areas such as water and sanitation, transport and energy.
To achieve these goals, countries agreed on new initiatives including:
Climate Change: The Action Agenda calls on developed countries to implement their commitment to a goal of jointly mobilising USD100 billion per year by 2020 from a wide variety of sources to address the needs of developing countries. Countries also committed to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that lead to wasteful consumption.
Technology: Establish a Technology Facilitation Mechanism at the Sustainable Development Summit in September to boost collaboration among governments, civil society, private sector and the scientific community.
Infrastructure: Establish a Global Infrastructure Forum to identify and address infrastructure gaps, highlight opportunities for investment and cooperation, and work to ensure that projects are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
Social protection: Countries adopted a new social compact in favour of the poor and vulnerable groups, through the provision of social protection systems and measures for all, including social protection floors.
Health: Countries agreed to consider taxing harmful substances to deter consumption and to increase domestic resources. They agreed that taxes on tobacco reduce consumption and could represent an untapped revenue stream for many countries.
Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Countries committed to promote affordable and stable access to credit for smaller enterprises. They also pledged to develop and operationalise a global strategy for youth employment and implement the International Labour Organisation Global Jobs Pact by 2020.
Foreign Aid: Countries recommitted to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for official development assistance, and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent for least developed countries.
Measures for the Poorest Countries: Developed countries commit 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. They also agree to adopt or strengthen least developed countries investment promotion regimes, including with financial and technical support. Governments also aim to operationalise the technology bank for this group of countries by 2017.
Taxation: Strengthen support for the work of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters to improve its effectiveness and operational capacity, and the engagement with the Economic and Social Council. It emphasises the importance of inclusive cooperation and dialogue among national tax authorities.