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    The NGO Committee on Financing for Development at the United Nations advocates for a worldwide economy that is environmentally and socially sustainable, ethical, and people-centered.

    Guided by the 2002 Monterrey Consensus, we urge policymakers to support development strategies that end global poverty and advance human rights. We seek international financial systems that are fair and truly representative of all people. We are motivated by the moral imperatives underlying the United Nations Charter and the missions of the organizations we represent.

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    Network and dialogue at the UN with those working on for Financing for Development (FfD) issues and collaborate with global network of FfD organizations.

    Participate in monthly meetings featuring regular briefings from the UN FfD Office and distinguished guest speakers from the UN Community.

    Voice concerns on FfD issues to the UN through written and oral statements prepared within the Committee.

    Receive notices of meetings and conferences on FfD issues sponsored by the UN or NGO Committee, including high-level meetings with Bretton Woods institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization).

    (Go to www.ngosonffd.org for FfD resources and committee membership form)

FFD3 AT ADDIS ABABA, THREE DAYS LATER: SEE YOU IN NEW YORK

Sebastien Nkoa

By Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

“He rose on the third day according to the scriptures.” Like in the Bible, the third international conference on financing for development FfD3 wrapped up three days ago. For most of the CSO delegates and participants those three days have been a time of “post traumatic shock.” Three days in the tomb since for over six months CSOs worked hard to follow the various drafts of the document, yet the final text put aside the CSOs main concern: The international tax corporation. But as in the introduction of the Acts of the Apostles, the question is asked to the CSOs: “Why are you CSOs destroyed?” This issue on tax and others will be addressed again very soon. So from there go get ready for new fights.

Why do we believe the fight continues? Indeed let’s go through the final document proposition in order to see which fights are expected to take place. On the issue of DPR (Domestic Public Resources), three main points are to be closely followed up. The first one is about strengthening institutional capacities to deal decisively and effectively with private sector practices aimed at tax evasion in all its manifestations. The second one is about a common agenda on fiscal cooperation with particular consideration for developing countries, especially in relation to IFF (Illicit Financial Flows). And the last one, the need to seek a particular type of PPP (Public-Private Partnership) under which multinationals will pay their taxes and adopt a code of good conduct and transparency in developing countries. Under this umbrella we can say that there are still fights to undergo because as we mentioned in one of our previous articles, it is all about tax issue. The project of mobilizing Domestic Public Resources can be effective if and only if there are strong institutions which are able to sue multinational which misbehave, which steal and which don’t consider the environment in their practices especially in developing countries. This point refers mainly to the private sector which is responsible for the fact that they settle in developing countries, exploit resources yet develop tax evasion in transfer pricing and trade mispricing.

CJ2vi6UWIAAUFgTThese practices cannot help developing countries since everywhere in this world we know that government mobilizes its resources mainly by taxes. And the first way for government to mobilize taxes shouldn’t be by taxing stuff like basic goods that are used by the poor people but in resources that the country has. Here we think about gold diamond iron and so forth that developing countries have in abundance and that are exploited by multinationals without paying due taxes though this should have significantly helped those countries. When it comes to the point of fiscal cooperation with particular consideration to developing countries in terms of IFF, what is considered here is a global consideration. Indeed if the post 2015 development agenda is expected to be realistic there is no need to call for more donations. If the target of 0.7% of ODA/GNI and 0.15-0.2% ODA/GNI to LDCs has not been met, the solution will not come from more donations appeal. The solution proposed by CSOs is very simple and final. GDPs of LDCs LLDCs SIDSs are among the lowest in the world yet cost of commodities like oil, gold, diamond, iron, and so forth have never been so high. When we know that developing countries are providers of those commodities, then two simple questions come into our mind here: how come that as suppliers of commodities that are sold at a higher price in markets GDP of developing countries are among the lowest in the world? The second one, who gain from that transaction if, as we notice, that money does not benefit those it is supposed to benefit? The answers to those two questions are: question one because of tax evasion practices, transfer pricing, and trade mispricing; question two those who gain from that chaos are those who organize it, we mean multinationals.

The second element our analysis wants to explore is the international public finance. Here the question of ODA (Official Development Aid) comes again as another battlefield which is not to be deserted. At this point it is important to notice that ODAs have not been met. Various developed countries except a very few of them have really given what they promised. Here we will call upon the principle of CDR (Common but Differentiated Responsibility) to let developed countries know that we are all in the same boat, we all have a common responsibility in what is going on today in our world. Nobody still lives isolated, what happens today in one side of the world will affect the other side of the world in a way or another. The last financial and economic crisis showed it clearly. The subprime crisis which started in US ended up revealing a world systemic crisis. The Greece bailout that we follow today if not solved in a human way will affect each part of our global world since nobody is isolated. It is then the responsibility of developed countries to meet their commitment by giving what they promised. Once a promise is made it becomes a right for the receiver to ask for it and an obligation for the giver to give. And here again the giver must not orient the gift. ODA must go in the lines of national development plans of the countries that receive them. The point we make here is that most of the time ODA and FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) are given under conditions, and it is clear that if we don’t deny questions of democracy or human right and those in the same line, we disagree with orientation of ODA and FDI toward private sector. ODA on one hand should be oriented toward social sector rather than private sector. Social sector is by definition nonprofit, hence orienting ODA toward it is a real sign of aid since that aid is not supposed to generate more money. FDI on the other hand is expected to serve needs of national development plans in areas like roads and infrastructures which are lacking in developing countries. We can read in paragraph 35 that FDI is concentrated in few sectors in many developing countries and often bypass countries most in need, and international capital flows are often short-term oriented.

CKCNwDkWEAALHB2These are two main points which point out the necessity of continuing the fight, the DPR (Domestic Public Resources) and the IPF (International Public Finance) areas need the fighting fire to be kept on burning. Multinationals shouldn’t just walk away with developing countries resources as if they are in a conquered land, they should not only pay taxes for what they work, but also pay a just price to people from whom they take those resources. ODA in the area of IPF is a right for developing countries and developed countries have the obligation to honor those ODA. They must not only honor them yet they should do it without conditions, ODA should go in the line of national development plans of receiver countries and not oriented toward private sector which most of the time serves the interest of donors spoiling by that means the real intention spirit and purpose of ODA. In our next article we shall stop at the levels of private finance and trade in order to shed more light on the reason why we should keep a track on what has been done in Addis and keep saying: “see you in New York”.

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FFD3 AT ADDIS ABABA, DAY 8: FROM GREAT HOPE TO GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT

Sebastien Nkoa


By Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Morning came and evening came, that was the last day. Unlike in the Bible story God looked at what they had done at FfD3 and he saw that it was not good at all. That is why he inspired CSOs not to rest yet. Not to rest yet, is the feeling we all leave Addis Ababa with since billion of people all over the world will not forgive the inhuman face of the outcome document of Addis. Why? you will ask me, and I will answer you that from Monterrey consensus to Addis Ababa declaration we moved from great hope to great disappointment. Let us analyze why is it so.

NkoaFirst of all and this is the most disappointing point of Addis Ababa, private sector has been given more power.  Indeed if you read the final draft that is about to be adopted it is recommended to countries at their national level to strive to eradicate poverty by 2030. Good point. But how will LDCs (Less Developed Countries), SIDSs (Small Island Developing States) and LLDCs (Land Locked Developing Countries) achieve that goal? How will they be able to mobilize the huge amount of money required to meet the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)? The great answer of Addis Ababa conference is simple: first of all PPPs (Private Public Partnerships). Indeed if you read the final document paragraphs 35, 36, 37, 38. Let’s just read together the first lines of those few paragraphs: paragraph 35: “Private business activity, investment, and innovation are major drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth and job creation.” Paragraph 36: “we will develop policies and, where appropriate, strengthen regulatory framework to better align private sector incentives with public goals.” Paragraph 38 “we acknowledge the importance of robust risk-based regulatory framework for all financial intermediation, from microfinance to international banking.” Having been a banker and with the respect due to my colleagues bankers I have never seen a banker who invest in an activity where he knows very well that he will lose. And this is the greatest mistake Addis Ababa is making. MoI (Means of Implementation) of the post 2015 agenda are entrusted to a sector that is 100% after profit, that is the private sector. Consequences of such a choice decision are disastrous since governments will be forced to privatize key sectors such as energy, health, transport, education, just to mention those few. And we all know that those sectors are non-profit making sectors, not a single rational economic agent or investor will venture in those sectors in order to make profit. Yet Addis Ababa is condemning developed countries to do so though in developed countries it is not the case.

The second point of disappointment is related to the role of our governments. It has come up clearly that national governments in developing countries have been weakened. I would like to elaborate this section by calling upon the final document of Addis Ababa where we noticed that ODA (Official Development Aid) and FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) are not enough, though this was supposed to represent a substantial additional income for governments in developing countries to achieve the SDGs. We said it previously ODA and FDI all together are 10 trillion US dollars while developing countries need 160 trillion US dollars to meet the SDGs. Indeed Addis Ababa document shows us clearly that most of the countries that promised 0.7% of ODA/GNI 0.15% to 0.20% of ODA/GNI to LDCs have not fulfilled their promises. Let’s read paragraph 51: “we express our concern that many countries still fall short of their ODA commitment and we reiterate that the fulfillment of all ODA commitment remains crucial[…] we urge all […] to step up efforts to increase their ODA and to make additional concrete efforts towards the ODA target.” Do we need more to see that national governments are twice weakened? First they are deprived of substantial aid that would have given them tools to meet their responsibilities, second they are forced to privatize key sectors. Like in the first point we made above consequences of this weakening of national government is disastrous because this is what will happen:  when PPPs will fall short in those key sectors we mentioned above (since no profit can be made out of their exploitation), the responsibility of that failure will fall upon national governments at a double level. One they will have an unhappy populace after them, two they will carry the burden of cleaning the mess done by those firms which would have left the country already. We can mention here the energy crisis in many African countries though the energy sector had been privatized just after structural adjustment measures. Education crisis can be mentioned also. Since governments privatized that sector, there is no clear indication of increase in statistics of children going to school, even more, the quality of education decreased and cost increased. At a micro level these PPPs will not favor at all local industries. Indeed how can we expect LDCs LLDCs SIDSs MSMEs (Micro Small Medium Enterprises) to compete with big multinational which will overflow in developing under the arguments of PPPs? It is even clear in the final document in paragraph 88 that something need to be done at that level: “Recognizing that international trade and investment […] also requires complementary actions at the national level, […] we further recognize the need for value addition by developing countries and for further integration of MSMEs into value chains.” At this level too our national governments failed to protect their local industry against multinationals. Addis Ababa conference shows us that sectors that will benefit from this PPPs are only those that will benefit them directly like STI (Science and Technology Innovation) which people living in poverty don’t enjoy since they have more important struggle to fight like daily meal challenge, sanitation, education just to mention those ones. Since as we have just seen our national governments have been weakened, the final question is: who will pay the bill?

CKCNvoSWUAA_Jw-The answer to this question is simple: People living in poverty and the environment will pay the bill. Among the multitude of side events which went on here in Addis Ababa during the four days of conference, it has been noticed that people living in poverty are those paying the bills of the mess in which our world is. People living in poverty are deprived of the basic services they deserve from governments which have been weakened as we mentioned above. Those services have been privatized, given to companies which are only after profit, thus they charge services that should be free of charge or just paid basic fees to support the system. At the end of the day when those companies run short in those sectors they just abandon them and both government and citizen are left on the roadside. And who will be charge in order to clean up the mess: People living in poverty. Over the issue of extractive industries, for instance, the document made it clear that this sector should be regulated. Let’s have a look at paragraph 26: “we underline the importance of corporate transparency and accountability of all companies, notably in the extractive industries. We encourage countries to implement measures to ensure transparency, and take note of voluntary initiatives such as Extractive Industries Transparency.” These industries invade developing countries, extract natural resources almost freely, and leave local populations empty handed and even worse with only big holes here and there if these populations had been lucky enough not to be displaced. The minerals extracted are sold at an affordable cost in international markets. The people from whom resources are stolen are the same who are burdened by the debt. Paragraph 93 says “many countries remain vulnerable to debt crises and some are in the midst of crises including a number of LDCs, SIDSs. […] We acknowledge that debt sustainability challenges facing many LDCs and SIDSs require urgent solutions.” Poor people living in poverty are condemned to pay twice, pay because their resources are stolen from them and pay because they borrowed money to clean the mess made by those who stole their resources. The first price they are to pay is the one they have to pay in order to clean the mess made because of bad policies and lack of transparency. They are charged for services that should be free and that they privatized hoping for the best which didn’t happen. To solve this they borrow money from those who stole their resources and sold them at a high price to the original owners. And since they can’t repay what they borrowed they are condemned.

Nkoa 2These are few elements that we really regret and cause our disappointment. These few issues have not been addressed by the final document as expected since the issue of tax we mentioned yesterday would have solved the matter by providing 160 trillion US dollars to LDCs LLDCs and SIDSs at once if the tax body was to be implemented. So who will pay the bill? People living in poverty as usual. From great hope to great disappointment — that is the feeling we have of FfD3.

FFD3 AT ADDIS ABABA, DAY 7: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TAX ISSUE!

Sebastien Nkoa


By Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

“I have never seen such a conference like this one of Addis Ababa, negotiations are so tense and intense that we are almost closing the conference without any agreement”, declared one member of an official delegation who required not to be mentioned. Will this really happen? That is the question on the lips of all delegates. The fact is that it is all about taxes.

Indeed in the latest draft, Heads of State and governments and heads of delegations are arguing on paragraphs 27-28-29. Basically the draft proposes the creation of an international tax corporation. So the question I try to answer today is: what is at stake if an international tax corporation is scaled up? In order to answer that question let us consider three major elements. The first one is related to the report made by the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) from Africa which revealed that LDCs and in particular Africa lose each year almost 150 trillion US dollars due to IFF. That money leaves LDCs through tax evasion, tax avoidance, and various other similar means. If we compare figures, LDCs needs almost 160 trillion US dollar in order to eradicate poverty by 2030. Basic mathematics shows us that if the issue of IFF is solved many other propositions such as ODA (official development aid) will no longer be necessary since the purpose because of which they have been scaled up has been solved.

Now let us move to the second step of our analysis by saying that why is it that such a good mechanism which at once will solve the matter because of which we are all gathered since Monterrey to Addis Ababa through Doha is not welcomed? The answer is because that issue is addressed to big international multinational corporations and firms. Without naming them we all know that these big multinational corporation and firms have developed world wide systems to evade taxes to avoid paying them and even more to fight any topic related to tax. This is a fundamentally wrong practice since as we know taxes are set up for social and public benefit. Taxes are used to improve life in various domains sectors and areas. Taxes collected are used to build roads, schools, hospitals, assure energy and water supply, pay salaries, guaranty social security. Here the secondary question is: is it ethical to have team of hundred of people who work hard day and night to build up a system to avoid paying tax or to evade it? This is not acceptable.

CKCNvoSWUAA_Jw-Since it is not acceptable, LDCs, SIDCs, LLDCs stand together as one to say “NO.” And that is the reason why that point is so controversial here in Addis. And this takes us to the last point of our reflection and the answer to our question. What is at stake if an international tax corporation is scaled up? The answer is: interest of international firms, corporations and companies. That is what is at stake, interests of few are heavier than interests of majority. Their interests are at stake since they will be forced to pay taxes wherever they are, they won’t have any other place under this planet where to hide themselves or hide stolen assets. And this is where the fight is, LDCs, LLDCs, SIDCs will at least benefit from the system, they will be given what they deserve, they won’t have any more need to address international community seeking for help since FDI (foreign direct investment) represent only 10 trillion US dollar and let’s remember above figures: 150 trillion US dollars stolen, 160 US dollars needed and finally 10 trillion US dollars given as FDI and ODA. At this point I would like to correct my previous sentence and put it the way: what is at stake are the rights of those who are stolen all over the world by multinational companies. Since those people who are called poor are actually not poor at all, their resources are stolen from them by few people who now control the system and don’t want justice to be rendered.

What else can we say now? Today is the last day of the conference; tension is very high and can be felt in the air here in UN-ECA, will Addis Ababa be a failure? Let’s wait and see, the next 24 hours will tell us.

FFD3 AT ADDIS ABABA, DAY 6:WAITING FOR THE FINAL DOCUMENT

Sebastien Nkoa


By Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Wednesday here in Addis Ababa could have been called the longest day indeed. Many delegates not only of CSOs but of all delegations were all ears turned towards the plenary where the final text was still negotiated. The fact that until evening nothing has been issued showed that tractatus were still going on in the corridors about some paragraphs of the final draft. At this point indeed most of the time G77 and other developed countries don’t agree on some point (s) of the document to be released as final one. This point was already clear during the CSOs briefing session that a kind of “imposition” was being put on LDCs in order to accept the text the way it is at this stage, yet LDCs (Less Developed Countries) LLDCs (Land Locked Developing Countries) and SIDSs (Small Island Developing States) which made already a lot of concessions in the documents as it is now want some points to be clarified, in particular the question of tax and IFF (Illicit Financial Flows).

While waiting for the final document I took opportunity to tour around attending side events that presented a particular interest for me. The first one I attended was entitled: Building Bankability-How PPPs can help leverage billions to trillions held at Elilly hotel Addis Ababa. What came up from all this is that PPPs are seen differently according to the point where someone stands. On one hand the World Bank (WB) speaker made it clear that on their point of view PPPs are the way to go is the objectives of FfD want to be achieved. For him any other alternative might lead to the goal yet the PPPs do it in better way and that is why they are a focus point on the document. On the other hand the former minister of economy of Morocco showed that PPPs though they are good present risks. Indeed his municipality had a good PPP in the sector of public transport and sanitation; though these were benefiting both their partner and the municipality, the partner decided to withdraw when the world financial crisis broke in 2007-08. The saddest part of this fact is that Morocco was not that much affected by that crisis even more the sector of transport and sanitation. That unilateral decision of withdrawal forced their municipality to partner with commercial banks in order to carry on their duty and they are now having a deficit of 700%. What he proposed is that PPPs should be oriented in “human investment” and “capacity building” so that local people can continue to carry on the sector even when partners are no longer there.

The conclusion of the Moroccan speaker was a clear sign that new forms of financing should be found and at that point I found it interesting to have a look at what Innovative Financing in the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda held at Radison Blu hotel Addis Ababa could propose. The outcome of this side event showed that people should come together in order to work hand in hand in order to eradicate poverty. Chile as chair of the leading group on innovative financing welcomed any other country to join them in that new form which is really made for the purpose of achieving FfD goals. Innovative finance is particular in this that it proposes forms of raising funds for development aid through micro contributions at various levels like taxes PPPs. Some of the UN departments use that mechanism to raise funds that are oriented toward developing countries.

If as innovative finance says new ways of funding are required to achieve FfD goals, what can be the role of private sector? In order to have a clear idea on that I decided to come back to Elilly hotel where another side event on Can Private Sector Really Deliver Financing for Sustainable Development? Here it was clear that private sector can invest only in sector that are profitable for them. Though some initiatives are praised here and there the broad reality is that private sector initiative can contribute to create greater gap between rich and poor. There is an urgent need of international regulation and framework in order to know what exactly goes on in the area of private sector implication in the eradication of poverty. This will help to really address the problems at the root and by that really eradicate poverty.

By evening everybody was still waiting for the final document to be issued. Heads of State and governments main committee was convened for a meeting at 18:30. Let us hope for the best since time is now running out and as expressed by most of the delegates nobody wants the matter to be taken to the General Assembly in September where any single vote “NO” will break the whole process and document. An agreement should be found here in Addis which respects the spirit and vision of FfD.

FFD3 AT ADDIS ABABA, DAY 5: FROM MONTERREY TO ADDIS THE WORLD HAS DEEPLY CHANGED

Sebastien NkoaBy Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

 

The day everybody was waiting for has finally come; the official opening of the FfD3 took place at the UN-ECA here in Addis Ababa. Anybody could notice right from the high security level that something was happening. A good number of heads of state were present and many more heads of delegations. CSOs met at Elilly Hotel to finalize their last points before either going to the UN-ECA Building or following the opening session through another means of communication still in one of the nearby hotels.

Indeed, after the words of Ban Ki-moon the president of Ethiopia, who was elected president of the conference, addressed the participants mentioning hope in the achievements of the SDGs defined at Monterrey though he reaffirmed the need of a new partnership. We can all agree that the world has financially changed since Monterrey, though progress has been made, Addis FfD3 should be remembered as having achieved its main goals. FfD3 is expected to help countries to continue to finance their own development through new and innovative means that will be proposed to them. But this should not hide the fact that tax avoidance, illicit finance flows and other misconducts should be severely fought. Donors should respect their promises especially the agreement on 0, 7%. Particular thanks has been given to Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden and UK who keep their commitment regarding the agreement on 0, 7%. South-South cooperation should be skilled up since LDCs represent 25% of the world population, 1% of the global trade with a GPP growth of 2. If Developed Countries respect their promise of increasing from 0, 1% to 0, 2% their ODA/GNI to LDCs changes in LDCs will be noticed. To LDCs Domestic Resource Mobilization should be improved, as well as sectors of energy, telecommunication, and technology if a different Africa is to emerge in a nearby future.

The President of Ethiopia continued by criticizing those who accuse FfD ambitions to be too proud, for him FfD is the right forum to think future of developing countries. We should not miss the history, we are the ones to change our future concluded the president of Ethiopia.n Ki-moon on his side reaffirmed his hope to see 2015 as the year of global action, a starting point of a new global partnership, a critical step forward towards the SDGs.  Though countries are responsible for their own development but should be helped and supported by the whole international community. Solutions to underdevelopment lie in new and innovative financial leverage. Addis Ababa agenda in that regard includes gender equality, protection of climate hope to reach an agreement among countries. All members and stakeholders WB IMF should implement the SDGs. For the UN Secretary General, Addis Ababa should secure the post 2015 agenda goals.

global-tax-bodyThe next speaker reminded the participants that it is an opportunity for us through FfD3 to change our world. Though progresses was made, we still need to improve many sectors since billions of people are still living in poverty. In order to tackle that problem, entrepreneurship should be promoted, terrorism should be fought. The proposed SDGs can be successful if resource mobilization is scaled up, investment in infrastructure, transport, telecommunication improved and the gap between developed countries and LDCs African in particular is reduced. Six sectors seem to be key points of change: 1) Domestic Resources Mobilization improvement as well as tax evasion IFF continuous fight; 2) International Public Finance support, especially in developing countries where it is the main resource mobilization; 3) Reduction of infrastructure gap by means of implementation of “from billion to trillion” concept; 4) Increase of private sector contribution wealth creation; 5) Sovereign debt and systemic issues problem resolved, as well as a complete reform of the international economic and financial system; 6) Effective forum of following up important issues.

After this the president of the World Bank Group (WB) on behalf of other continental Bank institutions reaffirmed the fact that billions of people are still living in poverty. Though SDGs look ambitious that is the way to go in order to achieve post 2015 goals. This can only happen if investments are promoted, climate issue tackled, and the building up of a system that takes into account each and every particular country with its particularities and private sector taken into account in development issue. He concluded by saying that SDGs are achievable and we must do it, we can do it, we shall do it together.

World Trade Organization (WTO) representative made known that trade brings funds thus can improve development. Still there are challenges to overcome such as infrastructural gap to reduce, systems to change. The WTO worldwide conference in Nairobi in December, the first in Africa about trade will give opportunity to address key issues.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative called governments to contribute to development at their various levels. Needs to adapt to new challenges are urgent and this can happen if and only if all participants work together.

Before various heads of State and delegations took the floor on behalf of their countries, African Union (AU) revealed that millions of people have been lifted up from poverty yet a lot still has to be done. In that regard priority should be given to investment in people through resources mobilization. We need to work together in order to end poverty. Africa will be in a near future described with new criteria as a prosperous integral continent, concluded the honorable Lady.

Various heads of States took the floor then one after another to express their view of FfD3 and expectations that they have about it. Meanwhile various CSOs delegates were running here and there to attend number of side events and parallel events organized wglobal-tax-bodyithin the UN-ECA compound and in the nearby hotels. This was a great opportunity for participants to advocate for their organizations and discover also other organizations. Three more days ahead for the participants to sharpen their strategies as we are waiting for the final document to see if laborious work of many months will carry fruit.

FFD3 AT ADDIS ABABA, DAY 4: CSOS HAVE A KEY ROLE TO PLAY IN OUR WORLD FINANCIAL SYSTEM

Sebastien Nkoa

By Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

 

Sunday was marked by two major events. The first one was the talk of UN Secretary General to CSOs and Joseph Stiglitz conference on tax system.

Before all these big events happened, various working track groups finished where they left the previous day. The working track on international public finance came up with the conclusion that ODA were both solution to the problem and part of the problem. Solution of the problem in that it really helped some receivers to tackle many issues especially in sectors that were really affected by the financial and economic instability such as health education agriculture. Yet it was also part of the problem since some other receivers used it in the wrong sectors such as empowering private sector which was actually fundamentally wrong. ODA should not be used in private sector.  This led the international public finance working track to the other point of conclusion that public finance does not meet the need of those leaving in poverty since profits made out of ODA is privatized and South-South cooperation is not promoted at all though it should be. Principle of common but differentiated responsibility should be carefully looked at. In one word they concluded the problem of international public finance is the problem of EFECTIVENESS.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attends Closing of Civil Society Organization Forum.

Ban Ki-moon

This done, delegates attended the last round of round tables where various groups gave a brief overview of their works and strategized ahead of the official event starting the following day. Lunch time helped delegates to gain strength and wait for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Indeed at 03:30 pm CSOs gathered in plenary in the main hall of Desalegn hotel had great honor to receive the UN Secretary General who gave a key address of a high importance. Having thanked organizers he said that CSOs have a key role to play in our world economic and financial system. The concern we all have is to move out of the present situation continued Ban Ki-moon and the hope of UN is that CSOs help in that change as they actually strive to do. Ban Ki-moon continued by saying that great things are expected from this FfD 3 conference. Domestic resource mobilization should be improved in order to meet the need of countries, especially needy ones. Quantity and quality of private investment should be priorities. Long run goals should be promoted as well as short run goals. All this is a sign that global financial system has become very complex. But this should not discourage us said Ban Ki-moon. SDG should aim at ending poverty by 2020.  CSOs should make sure that this world is a good place to leave for all said Ban Ki-moon, and this has become a real issue since we all notice that nature is deteriorating due to human action, we should change our attitude. Ban Ki-moon said that CSOs are one of the three pillars on which stand the UN: GOVERNMENTS, PRIVATE SECTOR and CSOs. We should all make sure that Addis Ababa conclusions offer solid bases for a better future. “Let us write the history here [in Addis Ababa], you [CSOs] are the voice of the people, go and tell your leaders that this world is the place where we all aspire to leave, so let us make it a better place.”

From Ban Ki-moon to Joseph Stiglitz, Jose Antonio Ocampo, Jane McCormick, Pascal Saint-Amans, Winnie Byanayima someone had to rush from Desalegn to the Sheraton Hotel. Indeed there, ICRICT (Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporation Taxation) and FRIEDRICH EBERT STIFTUNG organized a talk on “expending the debate on tax-reform.” What came up of this is that the whole system is sick; the house is set on fire. Joseph Stiglitz said that Developed Countries promote a taxation system that failed. We tremendously need a reform of the system and developing countries should be included in the process of reforming. Though the world is much more complex than we think, the tax problem should be addressed and fixed. How and what for, asked the panelists? An international independent tax body should be put in place the same way we do have a football body system, UN body system. This is urgently needed since for instance 100 billion us $ are lost by developing countries every year due to generous tax evasion. Extractive industry, telecom and alike cause major damages to developing countries by not paying taxes though the first responsibility of businesses is to pay taxes. Payment of taxes should help building capacities. The issue of tax is a moral issue hence we can’t put it aside. Since taxes are predictable we can hold our governments accountable of what they do with taxes.  Taxes are a bridge between those in the society who have enough and those who struggle daily, that is why those who have enough have the moral obligation to share with their brothers and sisters who are in need. This moral obligation is a necessity since those who work for the wealthy are the needy and their working conditions are scandalous. Examples were given of extractive industries which exploit their worker in developing countries; they underpay them, no social security, and no profit for native people of the localities of extraction. Aid will never be a panacea against poverty, tax issue should be solved if we want a better world.

FFD3 AT ADDIS ABABA, DAY 3: AN AGENDA THAT CHANGES THE SYSTEM

Sebastien Nkoa

By Sébastien Nkoa Ayissi, OP, Cameroonian economist, banker, and student of Theology at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, and SNDatUN delegate to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development


Day three was quite an interesting day in four main points. These were pre-conference briefing session, the opening session, the opening plenary, and finally the various groups of working track going on simultaneously with round table discussions.

At the opening session Aldo Calieri gave a brief history of FfD which he said aims at creating change. Though the FfD was born before 2007-8, the financial and economic crisis showed that the FfD is a relevant structure that pushes for relevant issues in terms of financing. That is why decisions should be influenced in favour of developing countries. Unfortunately Aldo said that today we have the feeling that previous talks about the FfD had better conclusions like Doha whom he said has better achievement than FfD3 even before it is officially opened.

addis2Following the same line as Aldo, other speakers especially Stefano Prato during the opening session affirmed that the system as it is now is not what the majority wants. In summary, “We want an agenda that changes the system”.  This is the moment to speak aloud to make known values we stand for. Mention was made of the rapid response group (RRG) which should play a key role in following the various issues raised by the question of FfD. This is to address structural problems, to call the governments, to make sure that governments address the needs of the ordinary peoples and how do governments implement their promises towards those living under poverty.  The women network group representation called women to be responsible and make known what they need. That is why WWG should be the voice of the voiceless. The African women group in particular shared what their group can offer to the world.

addisChina representative to UN during the opening plenary gave thanks to the CSOs for their work, since governments are slow to address issues that are pointed out by CSOs long before governments are conscious of those issues. He called both parties to work together since we have the same goal which is to serve people.  But he mentioned that we can’t address FfD without addressing the three pillars of sustainable development: a sustainable economy, a sustainable social sector and finally a sustainable environment. Unless those pillars are strong we are not moving forward. On the same forum but later on the German spokesman also made a strong declaration affirming that technology should be used not as a means to enslave developing countries but to help them find their way to develop respecting their culture environment and so forth. Private finance should be promoted in order to create wealth; legal framework should be clear so that every group benefits from that wealth created through the contribution of all. One of the last but not least speakers was the pan-African group who gave a summary of the pan-African CSO conference held in Uganda and here he mentioned that for the African group it is clear that the current document has failed, what was promised has not been achieved, issue of debt is still a burden for many African countries, domestic resources are still wasted private sector is disconnected, tax framework is still needed, what is needed in Africa he said should be an exit from dependence to aid. Stolen assets should be brought back and this will solve many problem in terms of financing.

The last major point was the breaking of delegates into groups according to their working track focus or the round table discussion. On my side I followed the track of international public finance where the main idea was how to make ODA relevant for those who receive it. Governments that receive it should not be pushed or cornered in other sector because they receive ODA. In the same line ODA should be used primarily to develop social sector.