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Magdy Martínez-Solimán: Statement delivered at ECOSOC high-level meeting with the World Bank, IMF, WTO and UNCTAD-Thematic debate on “Renewed global partnership for development in the context of the post-2015 development agenda”

20 Apr 2015

Mr. President, Distinguished Panelists and Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

(Mr. Merza Hasan, Dean of the Executive Board, Executive Director, World Bank Group,
Mr. Juan Manuel Valle Pereña, Executive Director, Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID),
Ms. Brenda Killen, Deputy Director, Development Cooperation Directorate, OECD)

The international community is on the verge of agreeing the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Keywords used to qualify the intent include “ambitious” and “transformative.”

Member States agree that the new universal agenda will demand structural transformations in countries at all income levels to ensure that prosperity is shared by all and that the planet’s natural limits are respected. Technological innovations will play a critical role in these transformations. But not as vital as vision, political will and citizens’ participation.

The third International Conference on Financing for Development presents the opportunity to agree on a financing framework as ambitious as the new agenda. We will need, as the Secretary-General said this morning, a comprehensive framework, concrete deliverables, and a strong follow-up process.

In Addis Ababa, the international community needs especially to strengthen its resolve to take action on those areas where implementation of Monterey Consensus has been weak. We need a “Monterrey Plus” in Addis. Let me elaborate on this:

In the MDG-era, financing was often conceived as adding up the resources available to developing countries from different sources (domestic resources, FDI, remittances) to meet the MDGs, with the gap being filled with ODA.

It is clear that this “gap-filling” approach is insufficient as we look at implementation means of the post-2015 agenda. The universality and breadth of the new agenda require that we move from filling gaps to mobilizing very large finance flows, the billions and trillions as World Bank would say.

However, the quantity and quality of ODA billions will remain crucial in particular for the LDCs. In this context, it is concerning that the portion going to the poorest countries and to Africa has been decreasing while aid has grown in recent years. The Addis conference represents an opportunity for donor countries to reaffirm their longstanding ODA commitments and provide a timetable to meet their targets.

The Development Cooperation Forum of the ECOSOC and other fora, such as the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, which Mexico, Malawi and the Netherlands co-chair, can make an important contribution.  

But the post-2015 agenda is larger than aid. This is good news if we are able to lift the finance above the public budget threshold. There is a need to consider other forms of international public finance for investments in communicable disease control, climate change adaptation and mitigation, science, innovation and new technologies. The only place where we do not need recycling is with public finance for development and climate. We need growth and additional resources.

The post-2015 agenda cannot be achieved through public finance alone either. Incentives are needed to ensure that private investment decisions move the world towards sustainable development aspirations.

It is essential that in the future business operations and results contribute directly to the SDGs, in ways that goes beyond corporate social responsibility and philanthropy. UNDP and the World Bank Group are currently developing a G20 inclusive business framework with the support of the ILO and OECD.   

Before I conclude, I want to stress that we also need to adapt our concept of financing for development to a world where we have more frequent shocks and where volatility is becoming the new normal. The costs of shocks as diverse as economic crises, disasters, conflicts and disease outbreaks are high and increasing. In order to achieve sustainable development, nations and communities need to be resilient, so that they are able to anticipate, shape and adapt to the many shocks and challenges that can frustrate development processes and wash away hard earned development gains. What is essential is that all development is risk-informed. We now have a significant opportunity to develop a more sophisticated framework which tackles underlying vulnerabilities and incorporates risk management.

A successful outcome in Addis will lay the groundwork for agreements on an ambitious and transformative post-2015 agenda, leading to a climate agreement later this year. Making the Addis conference a success is a giant step towards building this new agenda together.