Member States Discuss Proposed Measure of Total Official Support for Sustainable Development
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UN Member States and stakeholders discussed how a new measure of Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD), proposed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), could contribute to the monitoring of development finance resources mobilized for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

OECD15 April 2015: UN Member States and stakeholders discussed how a new measure of Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD), proposed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), could contribute to the monitoring of development finance resources mobilized for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The event, titled ‘Financing the post-2015 agenda: A broader measurement framework for monitoring resources in support of the SDGs,’ took place on 15 April 2015, in New York, US, on the sidelines of the second drafting session on the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3).

Opening the panel, Haje Schütte, OECD, said TOSSD is a statistical measure that would capture the diversity of resource flows in support of sustainable development. TOSSD would measure flows from: Development Assistance Committee (DAC) agencies; non-DAC sovereign providers (BRICS and MINT countries, South-South Cooperation providers); export credit institutions; private investors (foreign direct investment (FDI), other private flows); Development Finance Institutions (non-concessional loans and investments); and private philanthropy.

Schütte said TOSSD: would complement, not replace, official development assistance (ODA); covers activities that promote sustainable development, including contributions to public goods; includes all financial instruments; captures both international public finance and public schemes for mobilizing private finance; is pertinent for any provider of development finance, including private actors that take part in blended financing schemes; and is being built through an open and transparent process.

He added that a statistical framework that is “fit for purpose” in the post-2015 development finance context should be built on three criteria: promote transparency and facilitate the monitoring of development finance; provide the right incentives to maximize resources mobilization, their “smart” allocation and catalytic use; and be based on international standards for measuring and monitoring of development finance.

“TOSSD really matches the call that we have always made: have governments in developed countries develop instruments to support investments in least developed countries (LDCs),” said Jean-Francis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin to the UN. He noted that LDCs understand TOSSD as “an ODA +,” a new indicator from developed countries to mobilize, channel and monitor flows resourced for developing countries.

A.K. Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, said, “I hope that OECD is not denying the importance of ODA. Doing that would fail the role that was assigned to OECD. I am not sure that including FDI and market-trade loans should be integrated in ODA. These are certainly profit-oriented and should not be branded and categorized as ‘official support’.” He stressed the need to differentiate between ODA and other flows, and asked if the proposed framework is additional to traditional ODA.

Tony Pipa, US Department of State, said TOSSD “is a complement and certainly not a replacement of ODA.” He explained that it is a measurement framework meant to capture economic activities that are already happening, in order to: bring “rigor and transparency to the instruments that different development partners bring for development;” strengthen the incentives; and provide countries with an overview of the full spectrum of resources that they are receiving.

Thomas Gass, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), noted that “the SDGs are about a shared vision of humanity in 2030,” and said the need for coordination of all financial flows for sustainable development represents “the fundamental shift in the paradigm that we are looking at now.” He added that the question for the OECD is how much of the flows measured by TOSSD are dedicated to sustainable development.

In interaction from the floor, a member of the Swedish Credit Authority and FfD 3 steering committee stressed that TOSSD, ODA, private investments, and private funds mobilized with public funds “are very different.” OECD’s Head of Climate Change Division said TOSSD will help align the post-2015 development agenda and the UNFCCC agendas, “bridging the gap between them.” Another member of the OECD secretariat stressed the inclusiveness of the process, noting that OECD has organized several workshops, meetings and events to gather insights from the private sector, developing countries and civil society, further planning to make this type of participation “a rule for this process.”

Summarizing the discussion, moderator George Talbot, Permanent Representative of Guyana and FfD 3 Co-Facilitator, identified three main concerns: whether TOSSD can be seen as “outsourcing the development agenda;” the place of private finance in the scheme; and the implications of TOSSD for catalyzing additional financing. [IISD RS Sources] [Concept Note] [IISD RS Coverage of the Second Drafting Session for FfD 3]


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