• Mission Statement

    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.

  • Membership Benefits

    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)

UNCTAD 14: A STRONG CIVIL SOCIETY NECESSARY FOR TRADE JUSTICE

By Veronica MwaVeronica Mwangangi cropngangi, IBVM: The two-day pre-conference civil society forum was very intense as we deliberated on the civil society declaration to be presented to the negotiation committee at the main UNCTAD 14 meeting. The discussions were an eye opener to me on the economic situation of the world and especially of developing countries. Gender issues, inequalities within and among nations, illicit financial flows out of developing countries, stagnation in global trade, multilateralism, and green finance are some of the issues that interested me. A few issues bothered me: that developing countries are on the verge of debt distress, that they are dependent on commodities trade which is highly affected by the ever changing global prices and demand, the high level of illicit trade, and that the developing countries found trade with developed nations difficult because of the non-tariff measures imposed by the latter.

Conversations during the side-events of the civil society forum left me thinking that developing countries would need to seal off all the avenues that allow illicit financial flows out of the countries, move up the value chain by investing this finance in manufacturing and processing industries so as to minimize commodities exports, and perhaps consider south – south trade in order to realize the SDGs. I found the conversations at the civil society forum honest. A strong civil society movement is necessary in a country….. no wonder the Secretary General  of UNCTAD referred to the official opening of the civil society forum as actually the opening of UNCTAD 14.

As a teacher of business studies, attending UNCTAD 14 provided me with information and statistics to quantify what I teach. Tax havens were discussed by civil society, so as a patron of a tax club whose aim is to inculcate a tax paying culture among young people, I made contact with Tax Justice Network, Africa and I intend to depend on them to expand the horizon of my students and staff on tax matters. I hope to use the contacts established with NGOs to promote care of the environment and the empowerment of women.

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UNCTAD 14: FOCUS ON YOUTH AND WOMEN

Eunice NdabiBy Eunice Ndabi, IBVM:  At UNCTAD 14, I was much interested in the youth forum at which UNCTAD secretary general Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi urged youth to claim their rightful position in shaping the world and the future they want and to question and monitor their governments’ task of meeting the SDGs. He said, “We cannot always build the future for the youth but we can build the youth for the future.” He also asked youth to make good use of the funds endowed to them and the training opportunities presented to empower them. Manu Chandaria, philanthropist and chairperson of Kenya Manufacturers Association, encouraged youth to cultivate resilience and patience in small undertakings that with perseverance would yield greatly.

Unpaid work was another topic that interested me as most of it is done by women, especially in developing countries. These include housework, care of invalids, and subsistence farming, among others. Economic empowerment of women was also key as power imbalances are to be put in check and women would have ownership and control of resources, access to ICTs, and conducive policy environment for women investors.
Especially in the service of youth, I will do my best to empower them with the life skills they need to claim their position on the global map. Coincidentally it’s the girl child I deal with, and this amounts to “women empowerment.”
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UNCTAD 14: WHICH KIND OF “NAIROBI OUTCOME”?

Nkoa 3By Sébastien Nkoa, economist and banker

As we are moving towards the end of what will enter into history as UNCTAD 14, negotiations are going on in Nairobi in order to get the final text of what will be called the “Nairobi Outcome” with two major instruments: a political declaration to be called “Nairobi Azimio and a negotiated text to be called “Nairobi Consensus. While representatives of various delegations are still discussing the final document, worries are already being brought forward regarding key issues that must be taken into account if a great outcome will be offered.

The first and most outstanding concern of UNCTAD 14 is about the meaning of UNCTAD itself. Indeed the future outcome document seems to suffer greatly from discussions which are going on threatening to dilute the meaning of UNCTAD itself. In that regard no adequate resources are put to the disposition of UNCTAD in order to achieve its mission. EU (European Union) wants to turn UNCTAD into a mere technical assistance organization. This new structure will have as its fundamental task more technical assistance toward members especially developing countries than as a forum of discussion on fundamental issues regarding development of trade commerce and technology around the world. In the same line, EU wants less intergovernmental interaction into the UNCTAD process. This approach takes out of the process controversial issues involving macro policy, finance, debt, illicit finance flows, and many others for which developing countries are really pushing in order to get justice on issues which make them lose a lot on international financial system.

The tax issue is pretty controversial since EU in line with the JUSCANZ group (Japan, United States, Canada, and New Zealand), wants just to put on the table a take-it-or-leave-it text that they hope developing countries will accept, a deal which is far from done. And this is where CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) reaffirm their stand to see key points reaffirmed with strong language.

Indeed since the last “Panama Papers scandal (involving high ranked governmental authorities all over the world as well as many multinationals), illicit finance flows and tax evasion have come back to the table as major issues which should be addressed. Besides this there is a need for a global structural transformation agenda, addressed at the global level and not just at the regional level of Africa. Issues faced by Africa have their roots from various corners of the world, not necessarily in Africa, and have also repercussions all over the world, not only in Africa. This is why a more inclusive development agenda (Agenda 2030) taking into account public services, gender equality, climate change, technology, youth, natural disaster, and policy security should be seen as a priority during discussions going on in Nairobi in these last days of a highly awaited conference.

While we are waiting for the final outcome document with its two major instruments, let us hope that the fruits will honor the expectations of their flowers, highly admired during preparation of the conference.

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UNCTAD 14 CSO FORUM: A LOOK AT THE ROLE OF UNCTAD TODAY

Nkoa 3By Sebastien Nkoa, economist and banker:
The fourteenth UN conference on trade and development known as UNCTAD 14, which is taking place in Nairobi 17-22 July 2016, was preceded by a CSO (Civil Society Organization) Forum the week before the conference. During that CSO Forum, time was taken to reflect upon the real meaning and actual need of UNCTAD. According to the majority of representatives, priorities and means of implementation of UNCTAD should be reshuffled; otherwise there is a risk of losing the opportunity to tackle development as it should be done and by this to help achieve the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Referring to the Declaration of Civil Society to UNCTAD 14 issued on 18 July 2016, let’s make a survey of some key points of CSO concerns.

The crucial role of UNCTAD was established 50 years ago when it was settled to be a platform for “thought and action on broad issues of trade and development explicitly formulated around the challenges and perspectives of the vulnerable and marginalized majority of nations within the international system, and the people in them.” This noble vision of the platform has gone a long way so far, and it is laudable to notice that that mission and vision carried the platform beyond advocacy work for only developing countries. All countries all over the world today benefit from the platform and the most recent intervention of the platform was its action to spot the last global financial crisis before it happened. Structural issues such as structural debt, inequalities, sovereign debt restructuring, illicit financial flows, mining irregularities and so forth have been at the center of debates since.

Unfortunately UNCTAD suffers from fundamental changes of focus that need to be addressed these days if the original goals of the platforms are to be reached. The first one of the key issues to be addressed is the responsibility to the many countries that need the services of UNCTAD regarding the evolution and management of globalization as well as interdependence of trade, finance, investment and technology as they affect the growth and development prospects of developing countries. Indeed most of the developing countries for the last couple of decades have strengthened economic structures inherited from colonial masters. Unfortunately they have few structures to transform their resources as well as their products. Here UNCTAD should continue its mediating role to help developing countries have a voice in international marketplace.

The second point we want to mention here is the major role UNCTAD should play on curbing tax evasion and avoidance and illicit financial flows, including in commodities markets and through investment policies. As was already introduced during FfD (Financing for Development) Forum in Addis Ababa, tax avoidance and other misbehaviors in international fiscal policies are a big blow to developing countries which own resources but lose, through tax evasion and avoidance, revenues they could make from the trade of those resources. Billions of US dollars could be recovered and used to finance development of third world through clean, just, and clear mechanisms and this should be done under the auspices of the United Nations. Once again as was discussed in Addis Ababa, alternative and development-oriented methodology on debt sustainability analysis and national vulture funds legislation should be supported by UNCTAD. In this line the UNCTAD Road Map and Guide to Sovereign Debt Workout should be made known and explained and assistance given for understanding by Member States. Developing countries are under the heavy burden of unjust debt which swallows huge amounts of their budgets, depriving important sectors like health, education, infrastructure, and gender equality from investments that can change lives of billions of people living under poverty.

For these elements to be implemented, research and policy analysis, including positive and negative impacts of trade rules on international and regional development strategies, and on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, are needed independently of the World Trade Organization which does not share the development mission of UNCTAD. The Trade and Development Report is one of the outlets that UNCTAD should use for such analysis. In this regard the role of the private sector should be monitored by UNCTAD especially on mobilization of domestic resources, fiscal and debt sustainability, human rights, and climate change. The current economic model that allows multinationals to take advantage of weak rule of law in many countries in order to exploit cheap labour opportunities should be one of the major concerns of UNCTAD in order to regulate actions of those multinationals. It will be important not to leave aside transfer of technology since it is an essential element enabling sustainable development in developing countries. UNCTAD should support it as well as it supports capacity-building programs especially of small and medium-sized enterprises with the right information on policies and benefits at the grassroots level. All this combined with access to finance for marginalized categories can be another priority of this UNCTAD Conference in Nairobi.

These are a few of the issues which are worth being followed closely during the current UNCTAD Conference since our world is at the edge of major changes that are coming just after one of the most important financial and economic crises the world has gone through and at the trade and commercial conventions which will shape the future of our planet. CSOs have understood the importance of the fight, not for minority selfish interest but for the common good of our planet and its inhabitants.

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UNCTAD 14: To make our world a better place to live in

Nkoa 3By Sébastien Nkoa, OP, SNDatUN delegate to UNCTAD 14:

The 14th session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which will take place from 17-22 July in Nairobi, preceded by a one-week Civil Society Forum, is another great opportunity for Civil Society Organizations to discuss their views with Member States. This conference will give me the possibility to get closer to the reality of Trade, Commerce and Development at a higher level. In that regard I am following closely sub-theme 4 which is the “contribution to the effective implementation of and follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and relevant outcomes from global conferences and summits, as related to trade and development”.

Indeed after the failure to achieve the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals), I am interested to know how the international community and UNCTAD in particular will work to implement both the newly proposed SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and the AAAA (Addis Ababa Action Agenda) which is the road map to achieve the SDGs. I do believe that we are the ones to make our future bright or dark. That is why I hope through my participation to this conference to shed my contribution of light in order to make our world a better place to live in.

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Two concerns with UNFCCC COP 21 outcome agreement: time and meaning losses

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By Sébastien Nkoa, OP
Economist, Banker, Project Developer – Nairobi, Kenya

The 21st UNFCCC (United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change) Conference of the Parties (COP 21) which took place between November and December (30 November – 12 December 2015) left us with a taste of unfinished business. Indeed a number of elements in the overall ‘Paris Outcome’ are not realistic. Those elements can be found in the Paris Agreement, COP 21 decision, and Paris Action Agenda. Weaknesses presented in those three points make us not so proud of what some claim to be the first world deal on climate change.

In the world of international relationships ahead of the signature of an agreement, three scenarios are possible: 1: ‘Le Zombie’ which is a tactical deal with potential for collapse; 2: ‘Comme ci, Comme ca’ which is a modest progress with guarantees on finance; 3: ‘Va Va Voom’ which cements a new enduring regime on climate change.

Logo-COP21I consider the ‘Paris Outcome’ to be scenario ‘Le Zombie’ first of all in ‘time concern’ that the agreement will take before it enters into force by 2020 and once 55 countries covering 55% of global emission of gas have acceded to it. The ‘time concern’ here is very crucial since one of the new concepts brought about by COP 21, INDCs (Intended National Determined Contributions), cannot be trusted. INDCs relegate the implementation of 78% of new power investment to 2030 in major economies. In between nothing can guarantee the success of its implementation by that time. Indeed for this to happen we should not forget that various countries before signing up to a global agreement will need buy-in from a wide range of domestic actors, local economic factors, and geographical factors as well as political and economical ones. If all these elements are to be taken into account our concern is that side effects of climate change will not be waiting and the situation will keep on deteriorating while governments will be using time to avoid fulfilling their promises. Though strengthening of overall temperature goal requires faster short-term cuts, here comes up clearly the fact that the overall idea calls us to move to net zero emission from 2050-60.

The second element of ‘time concern’ is related to the new collective climate finance goal which shifted all finance flows to low carbon resilience investment beyond the current level of $100bn up to 2025. How shall this be achieved? Indeed here the question was neither to postpone the date nor for the UNFCCC to increase the amount of fund to rise. This other ‘time concern’ takes us to an unnecessary debate since the previous debate about funds was not resolved, and this one lacks specificity regarding the question of who will give exactly what? When shall it be given? How shall it be given? Thus by accepting to increase share of finance for adaptation and mechanism to deal with insurance and displaced people UNFCCC misses the goal and misplaces the priority. Here it should remain clear that the previous climate finance was not yet well performed thus the solution should be on how to offer a better mechanism of action and not on leverage of more money.

This element of money takes us to the second concern about Paris agreement outcome: To include talks on climate change in other international processes including G 20 and SDGs  is a huge mistake. Here there is a ‘loss of meaning concern’. It should be clear that including talks on climate change as priority in other international processes sounds good but the risk is to dilute it within those processes. This will have the effect of overshadowing climate change priorities since priorities can’t be the same. Here there is a clear risk to converge towards a common framework with a mandate to firm up modalities in future which might not be modalities and priorities of talks on climate change. No need then to mention that this will imply strong political intent which will induce further granularity in the coming years, waste of time, energy, priorities.

This ‘loss of meaning concern’ can also be seen in the fact that the crucial point of fossil fuel question was left to governments and investors. COP 21 left it up to governments and investors to look for an orderly transition away from fossil fuel-dominated economy. Here comes the question of the meaning of the meeting if such an important question is left to investors who, as we know, are the first users of fossil fuels. Though a task force was set to make sure that the transition is in the process without particular prerogatives, that task force will not be effective while here effectiveness and efficacy should be priorities.

The last point we want to mention about the ‘loss of meaning’ is on the point of 2 C or 1.5 C (maintaining temperature rise below 2 Celsius or 1.5 Celsius). COP 21 missed the mark by not delivering immediately the commitments to deliver 2 C or 1.5 C as expected. Here the ‘loss of meaning concern’ and the ‘time concern’ meet since once again five more years have been given to companies to increase their emission cuts in order to meet the goal of 2 C or 1.5 C. This is very much disappointing when we know that the long term goal of greenhouse gas neutrality in the second half of the century will require a fast response addressing questions of the time.

Regarding these two main concerns – ‘time concern’ and ‘loss of meaning concern’ – we can say that COP21 reached a ‘Le Zombie’ scenario. Good things were announced but in the reality those points elaborated are either unrealistic or so vague that they won’t be helpful to achieve the real objectives that we could have expected from such a conference. Let’s hope that before COP 22 in Morocco a better vision of where we want our planet to be in the nearest future will be defined.

 

AAAA: ABLE TO MEET THE GOALS OF WHAT STARTED IN MONTERREY IN 2002?

Nkoa 3By 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 third UN conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) that ended in Addis Ababa last July 2015 has been closely followed up by the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) which proposes a roadmap towards the implementation of the main points of Addis outcome document. Yet the question here remains open: Is the AAAA able to meet the goals of what started in Monterrey in 2002 and was refined in Doha in 2008? My first glimpse of the AAAA suggests that we are still far from the initial goals for three main reasons: the focus point is missed, the actors and MoI (means of implementation) to achieve the goals are also, and lacking as well are the beneficiaries of changes that are expected.

Though AAAA #132 shows a sign of following up on the FfD through an annual meeting under the auspices of ECOSOC and HLPF (High Level Political Forum), the focus of FfD related to Doha and Monterrey is being lost. At this point it is clear that the FfD process should remain different from the SDG process. Indeed if the FfD process and the SDG process are combined as AAAA tries to do, the Monterrey and Doha spirit are lost since the focus of FfD3 should have as targets the structural problems that block LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS in order to really address the problems of development in a fundamental way. AAAA joins SDG in that it searches to raise more money. The SDGs are to replace the MDGs and will need 3.5 to 5.0 trillions of Dollars per year in order to eradicate poverty by 2030. This can be compared to Addis Ababa outcome that empowered the private sector to seek more money instead of reforming the system. In comparison Doha had more engaging language that was action-oriented towards structural change (Doha Declaration ## 15, 16, 18, 23, 24 just to mention a few), thus following in the footsteps of Monterrey and clearly different from the eight MDGs. Now it is clear that AAAA carries within it more the ambitious SDGs that lead it to look for more money to achieve the ambitious program rather than to keep the focus on the structural problem to address the roots of under-development.

Besides the loss of focus, AAAA separates itself from Doha and Monterrey by the fact that actors who are to implement the resolutions as well as MoI are not the right ones to do it. As Monterrey and Doha contended, actors of structural change should be independent actors who will represent all the components of the society at their different levels of activities, in clear opposition to the multi-stakeholders partnership that renders the system not only heavy but reduces transparency and accountability against justice equity and humanity. AAAA # 46, 47, 49 117 give the responsibility of leveraging poverty to the private sector. This will most naturally influence the type and quantity of ODA that flows towards LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, and others. Though AAAA #51 reveals the failure to raise the 0,7% ODA/GNI there is no clear mention of the way forward to solve it as Doha or Monterrey would have done. Rather in #58 the so-called catalytic role of ODA is favored leading to the fear of losing transparency and accountability. The question that we ask ourselves here is who will be controlling the action of the private sector. If the spirit of AAAA #36 is not clarified, the private sector can align business interests to SDGs, thus killing them even before they are disclosed.

What can we then say about the beneficiaries? At the human level AAAA#16 is a clear illustration that profound inequalities have not been addressed in terms of wages, tax issues (AAAA#29) where a global tax body is not set up, illicit finance flow is not stopped, extractive industry should conform to norms of local governments and global policies of transparency. Let’s remember that Monterrey and Doha took a strong and firm position on those issues. In AAAA #16 related to DRM (Domestic Resource Mobilization) no consideration is taken of a holistic approach that favors the whole human being in all its components. Monterrey and Doha on this point did not miss putting human needs at the center of their preoccupations and action-centered agenda. Here we can ask ourselves who are the real beneficiaries of all those plans of action. If the Post-2015 development agenda wants to eradicate poverty as is supposed how can it neglect gender equality since AAAA#21 sounds like an instrumentalisation of women.

As we are still in the area of missed goals, what about the climate issue? Indeed AAAA#61 does not take a clear stand on the issue of aid on one side and “climate finance” on another. Issues that relate the upcoming COP21 in Paris to FfD seem then to be more related to Monterrey and Doha documents that treated them much better than to the latest document that is AAAA.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this short reflection, from Monterrey to Addis Ababa the way has been long, yet it is sad to notice that the way has also been a backward one since issues that were engaged in Monterrey and elaborated in Doha have just been put aside in AAAA. That is why a number of questions are raised regarding the perspective that AAAA proposes, actors and MoI to be used to achieve the goals, and finally the real beneficiaries of the Post-2015 development agenda. There is a real call for action at this point in order to keep focus, lead clear action on FfD which is different from SDG, and aim at serving the “human” in all his/her dimensions of life, if AAAA wants to meet the goals of what started in Monterrey in 2002.