• 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: 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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Can we save modern economics?

Nkoa 3By Sébastien Nkoa, OP
Economist, Banker, Project Developer – Central African Republic

Can we save our modern economy? Referring to Bernard Lonergan, ‘what is needed is a new political economy that is free from the mistake of the old political economy yet a democratic economy that can issue practical imperatives to plain men” (FNPE 5). Our answer is that our modern economy should be replaced by a New Political Economy; this new economy should bring back man at the center of its system first and reduce its reliance on science and statistic secondly.

Reforms of the old political economy are necessary in order to achieve this. There is urgent need to deal with bias. Why bias? “Problems can be manifest. Insights that solve them may be available. But the insights will not be grasped and implemented by biased minds” (B. Lonergan, Microeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis, 102). Among biases there is the bias of neurosis, fertile in evasion of insight, there is the bias of the individual egoist by which someone exploits each new situation to his own personal advantage, there is the bias of group egoism blind to the fact that the group no longer fulfills its once useful function and that in one way or another blocks development and impedes progress. This happens in many African countries whereby an elite of a few privileged people hanging around heads of state refuse to leave power, and so seek to modify their national constitution in order to maintain themselves in power. There is finally the general bias of all “good” men and women of common sense who strongly believe that they can solve all the problems by their sole actions (MD: ECA 102)

Lonergan proposes a New Political Economy which should bring back man to the center of its system. The more economics endeavors to be an exact science, the more incapable it becomes to speak to men and the greater its tendency to treat men the way the exact sciences treat atoms and guinea pigs[…]. We are asking for an instrument that democracy must have, for it is the broad generalization, the significant correlation that effectively organizes free men without breaking down their freedom (FNPE 7).

When the system that is needed for our collective survival does not exist, then it is futile to excoriate what does exist while blissfully ignoring the task of constructing a technically viable economic system that can be put in its place. Is my proposal utopian? It asks merely for creativity for an interdisciplinary theory that at first will be denounced as absurd, then will be admitted to be true but obvious and insignificant, and perhaps finally be regarded as so important that its adversaries will claim that they themselves discovered it (MD: ECA 106).

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.

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”.