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The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) began its annual special high-level meeting with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), witha focus on the theme of ‘Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of financing for sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda.' The meeting brought representatives of the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) together with UN Member States to discuss post-2015 development and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3).

ECOSOC20 April 2015: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) began its annual special high-level meeting with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), with a focus on the theme of ‘Coherence, coordination and cooperation in the context of financing for sustainable development and the post-2015 development agenda.’ The meeting brought representatives of the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) together with UN Member States to discuss post-2015 development and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3).

The first day of the meeting took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 20 April 2015, and included a keynote discussion, interactive dialogues, and three ministerial segments.

Opening the meeting, Martin Sajdik, ECOSOC President and Permanent Representative of Austria, thanked the BWIs for their collaboration on the post-2015 development agenda and FfD 3, and hoped that this collaboration would extend past 2015. He stressed that building a more cohesive and resilient economic system will create fertile ground for implementing the next development agenda.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the presence of finance minsters and their support for FfD 3 and sustainable development. He called for three key outcomes from FfD 3: creating a holistic financing framework for FfD; achieving concrete deliverables in crucial areas, such as infrastructure, agriculture, social needs, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs); and agreeing to a strong follow-up process to ensure that no country is left behind.

In the keynote address, Ali Babacan, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, discussed his country’s Presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) for 2015. In this role, he said Turkey is prioritizing collective action for robust growth, focusing on inclusiveness, implementation and investment. He announced that Turkey will be launching a world forum on SMEs, as well as ‘Women 20,’ a program on the role and effectiveness of women in the economy. Babacan also stressed that Turkey is working to increase the G20’s engagement with low-income developing countries and to advance an inclusive agenda.

A ministerial segment discussed the topic of the ‘World economic situation and prospects.’ Panelists offered insights on the slow pace of global growth and recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis, and offered recommendations on the roles of global financial institutions. Vache Gabrielyan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia, said the financing landscape has become more complex, and the role of public financing in development is evolving. Magdalena Andersson, Minister for Finance, Sweden, said that with low global oil prices, now is the time to put a price on carbon and phase out oil subsidies. Abraham Tekeste, State Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Ethiopia, said his country has faced many challenges on the way to economic recovery and stable growth, and that international financial and trade institutions have a greater role to play in financing the post-2015 period.

In an interactive discussion following the segment, Member States debated: the roles of public and private financial resources; the need for a universal, rules-based, non-discriminatory trading system; the participation of developing countries in global financing; and policy coherence at the global, regional, and national levels. South Africa, for the Group of 77 and China (G77/China), called for respecting the policy space of national governments and for a larger UN role in coordinating global economic governance. Benin, for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), called for 0.2-0.25% of GNI and a net 50% of official development assistance (ODA) to be directed to LDCs.

Luis Manuel Piantini Munnigh, UNCTAD, stressed his organization’s comprehensive and holistic mandate and the role of the UN in “finding global solutions to universal problems.” He said the role of trade in development should be reflected as a key enabler and means for inclusive economic growth and development.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank Group, said that, for the first time ever, the IMF, World Bank, and a variety of regional development banks co-authored a joint paper, which addresses multilateral development finance for the post-2015 development agenda. He offered the World Bank’s support to ensure the technical robustness of the post-2015 goals and targets and to strengthen the data capacity of countries.

Calvin McDonald, IMF and International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), remarked on the improving economic prospects in the Eurozone, while saying that growth is slower and more diverse in developing and emerging economies. He stressed that implementation of the 2010 IMF reforms remain an “absolute priority,” and he urged the US to ratify these reforms as soon as possible.

Xiaozhun Yi, WTO, hoped for a successful finish to the Doha Round of trade negotiations, and pledged WTO support for delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He called for methods to develop the inclusive and sustainable growth envisioned by the agenda, and for action to reduce trade costs and improve access to global markets.

During a thematic debate on ‘Current challenges and emerging opportunities for the mobilization of financial resources and their effective use for sustainable development on the road to Addis Ababa,’ George Talbot, Permanent Representative of Guyana and FfD 3 Co-Facilitator, identified three main challenges for the new financing agenda: change; skills; and ambition. He explained that the challenge of change comes from the universal applicability of the agenda to the differentiated circumstances of countries, while the other two reflect the need to diversify existing skills and set a level of ambition, in line with the very ambitious post-2015 development agenda.

Geir Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Norway and FfD 3 Co-Facilitator, noted that eradicating poverty and hunger could happen for the first time in history, stressed the need to look to cross-cutting initiatives, and called on Member States to “get out of their comfort zones and come with fresh ideas.”

Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-General, invited Member States to: build the FfD 3 outcome in line with the holistic nature of the Monterrey Consensus; pay attention to systemic issues; and fully recognize the importance of trade and investment as key enablers for development.

Wu Hongbo, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and FfD 3 Secretary-General, said that during the regional consultations of the FfD3 preparatory process, participants underscored that the role of migrant communities in mobilizing international private resources covers more than remittances. Diaspora communities are potential sources of foreign direct investment (FDI), private philanthropy, and technology transfers, he said.

During a thematic debate on ‘Renewed global partnership for development in the context of the post-2015 development agenda,’ Juan Manuel Valle Perena, Director-General, Mexican Agency of International Development Cooperation, noted that “post-2015 will be the era of partnerships.” He added that Middle Income Countries (MICs) will play an increasing role, stressing the need to make South-South Cooperation more effective.

Magdy Martinez-Soliman, UN Development Programme (UNDP), underscored the need for: creating incentives for private investments for sustainable development aspirations; going beyond corporate-social responsibility and philanthropy; and adapting the concept of FfD 3 to a world much more frequently affected by shocks, “where volatility becomes the ‘new normal’.”

Brenda Killen, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), noted her organization’s role in “driving joint action based on evidence and data.” She said OECD is facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships among its members, MICs, the private sector, and civil society to maximize their impact. The success factors she underlined included high-level leadership, context-specific partnerships, and keeping the focus on results.

Taking the floor, Member States: reiterated the importance of strong means of implementation, ODA, and technology transfer; called for the intensification of efforts to prevent debt crises, curb illicit flows, stop tax evasion, and eradicate corruption; and stressed the need for trade liberalization, keeping development finance and climate finance separate, setting a price on carbon, and rationalizing fossil fuel subsidies. The Russian Federation stressed that the FfD 3 outcome should be built on common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).

The special high-level meeting will continue on 21 April 2015. [Meeting Programme] [From Billions to Trillions: Transforming Development Finance] [IISD RS Story on MDBs’ Joint Statement]


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