• 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 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.

UNCTAD 14 en

Advertisements

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

Nkoa 3

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.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: COASTAL RESOURCES AND COMMUNITIES

Launch of the Publication Titled: “Climate Change in the Dominican Republic: Coastal Resources and Communities”

Thursday October 1 at the United Nations Church Center, 777 UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017 from 1PM to 3PM.

For more information, go to: www.globalfoundationdd.org/upcoming_events.asp#

GFDD event flyer

PUTTING PEOPLE AND PLANET FIRST: FINANCING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT REQUIRES POLITICAL COURAGE

The many crises our world and peoples face are clear evidence that international budget decision-making and financial systems favor the few to the detriment of the masses, and favor unjust private profits over the health of the planet. Despite significant efforts by the global community to implement the Millennium Development Goals, vast numbers of people still live in poverty, ever-smaller numbers accumulate outrageous wealth, and indiscriminate growth and consumption destroy the earth.

The world has the money and expertise to solve these problems, but we have to allocate them better. The problem is not in having enough money; it is in having enough political courage. Sustainable development is an economic and ethical issue. Pouring funds into weapons instead of medicines and schools is an ill-advised choice that must be challenged. There is no justifiable reason that annual global spending on war and violence should be 600 times greater than spending on peace and social progress, as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calculates.

We can change budget priorities by changing political will. Civil Society, with its grassroots perspective, is uniquely situated to articulate the moral imperatives of reducing inequalities and keeping our planet healthy, and thus must be heard. Civil Society experiences in developing regions must be shared and people living on the margins must have a strong voice in global economic planning. Civil Society has valuable insight on means of implementation that policy-makers would be wise to seek out.

Update and reform of the global financial architecture has been on the development agenda for decades, but very little has changed. This is an example of misplaced priorities. It is time for people and planet to benefit from global financial systems that are transparent, participatory, fair, inclusive, and safe from collapse. The UN must be at the center of the reform process. Developing countries have more input and influence at the UN than in other economic forums like the G20, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Paris Club. Balance is crucial for credibility and viability.

Balance is also crucial in public/private partnerships if they are to be a major source of financing for sustainable development post-2015. A multi-faceted approach to meeting needs is worth exploring with caution. How we finance determines what we finance. Long-term public projects cannot be forgotten in a rush for corporate gains. Privatization of profits but socialization of losses cannot be tolerated.


NGO FfD Committee LogoTHEREFORE, THE NGO COMMITTEE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT URGENTLY CALLS FOR:

  • Putting people’s rights and the needs of the planet at the heart of all global economic efforts;
  • Recognizing that financing for sustainable development is a moral as well as an economic issue;
  • Building political will for reallocation of resources to address sustainable development priorities;
  • Equal representation and voice of developing countries at all economic forums;
  • UN-led reform of international financial institutions and systems;
  • A human rights framework governing international financing, taxing, trade, and business;
  • Participation, monitoring, transparency, and accountability for all stakeholders.