Financing for Development – Eurodad policy forum reflections

Added 26 Jun 2014
A long weekend to reflect on an inspiring and energizing policy forum we held in Brussels last week, with colleagues from around the world, on the topic of the UN’s upcoming Financing for Development (FfD) summit. Some great kick off presentations on the state of development finance (scroll down to see them) led us into a day and a half of thoughtful and intense strategic discussion. Why all the fuss? Well, the FfD summit – slated for 13-16 July 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – could be a big deal. 

It will be a key moment in shaping the development finance narrative, agreeing international commitments across all issues, and mandating follow up processes. This is the third such summit. The first, in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002 signalled a shift in discussions on FfD, putting domestic resource mobilisation at the centre of the agenda, and raising the profile of other issues, adding impetus to the debt relief and aid effectiveness agenda for example. The second, in Doha in 2008, added illicit financial flows and tax evasion to the agenda among other things.  It led to the 2009 UN Conference on the world financial and economic crisis (here’s our analysis at the time) which pushed reform of the global monetary system up the agenda, and produced the excellent Stiglitz report.

Developed countries have been fighting hard to prevent ongoing discussions about the post-2015 sustainable development goals from including commitments that they may have to honour – particularly on financing. The timing of the FfD conference means it’s just a few months before the UN summit on post-2015, which will give developing countries huge leverage to extract meaningful commitments from the rich world on changing finance rules and practices. That’s why the G77 group of developing countries pushed so hard for a July 2015 date (many developed countries wanted to postpone it to 2016). Developing countries play a far larger role in the UN than in other economic forums such as the G20 and the IMF, and FfD processes have been traditionally quite transparent and open to CSOs, so the door is open for civil society groups to push for real changes that benefit the poor, the environment, and help create a more just and sustainable world.

Now back to those presentations. Apologies for starting with myself first, but I had the job of disentangling the figures and painting the broad picture of the state of development finance, focusing on the fact that far more finance flows South to North than the other way round. 

Furthermore, Lidy Nacpil, of our sister network, Jubilee South – Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, gave a thought provoking and inspiring talk, linking financing challenges to the global climate crisis.