Countries reach historic agreement to generate financing for new sustainable development agenda
The global community has agreed on a series of bold measures to overhaul global finance practices and generate investments for tackling a range of economic, social and environmental challenges at the United Nations Third International Conference on Financing for Development, being held in Addis Ababa.
The agreement called “Addis Ababa Action Agenda”, provides a foundation for implementing the global sustainable development agenda that world leaders are expected to adopt this September in New York at the UN General Assembly. The agreement was reached by the 193 UN Member States attending the Conference.
“This agreement is a critical step forward in building a sustainable future for all. It provides a global framework for financing sustainable development,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
“The results here in Addis Ababa give us the foundation of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development that will leave no one behind.”
Financing is considered the linchpin for the success of the new sustainable development agenda, which will be driven by the implementation of 17 sustainable development goals.
The Conference is the first of three crucial events this year that can set the world on an unprecedented path to a prosperous and sustainable future. Its outcome provides a strong foundation for countries to finance and adopt the proposed sustainable development agenda in New York in September, and to reach a binding agreement at the UN climate negotiations in Paris in December that will reduce global carbon emissions.
In support of implementation of the sustainable development goals, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda contains more than 100 concrete measures. It addresses all sources of finance, and covers cooperation on a range of issues including technology, science, innovation, trade and capacity building.
Domestic resource mobilization is central to the agenda. In the outcome document, countries agreed to an array of measures aimed at widening the revenue base, improving tax collection, and combatting tax evasion and illicit financial flows. Countries also reaffirmed their commitment to official development assistance, particularly for the least developed countries, and pledged to increase South-South cooperation.
The outcome document also underscores the importance of aligning private investment with sustainable development, along with public policies and regulatory frameworks to set the right incentives. A new mechanism that will facilitate financing for new technologies for developing countries was also agreed upon.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda includes important policy commitments and key deliverables in critical areas for sustainable development, including infrastructure, social protection and technology. There were agreements for international cooperation for financing of specific areas where significant investments are needed, such as in infrastructure for energy, transport, water and sanitation, and other areas to help realize the proposed sustainable development goals.
To achieve these goals, countries also agreed to new initiatives, including on:
Social protection—Countries adopted a new social compact in favour of the poor and vulnerable groups, through the provision of social protection systems and measures for all, including social protection floors.
Health—Countries agreed to consider taxing harmful substances to deter consumption and to increase domestic resources. They agreed that taxes on tobacco reduce consumption and could represent an untapped revenue stream for many countries.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises—Countries committed to promote affordable and stable access to credit for smaller enterprises. They also pledged to develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the International Labour Organization Global Jobs Pact by 2020.
Foreign aid—Countries recommitted to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for official development assistance, and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent for least developed countries.
A package of measures for the poorest countries—Developed countries commit to reverse the decline in aid to the poorest countries, with the European Union committing to increase its aid to least developed countries to 0.2 per cent of gross national income by 2030. They also agree to adopt or strengthen least developed countries investment promotion regimes, including with financial and technical support. Governments also aim to operationalize the technology bank for this group of countries by 2017.
Taxation—The Agenda calls for strengthening support for the work of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters to improve its effectiveness and operational capacity, and the engagement with the Economic and Social Council. It emphasizes the importance of inclusive cooperation and dialogue among national tax authorities.
For further reading, find the complete Addis Ababa Action Agenda agreement here.