State of emergency: UN convenes Financing Forum while a new wave of debt crises threatens to derail sustainable development


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Bodo Ellmers, Policy and Advocacy Manager at Eurodad at the UN

State of emergency: UN convenes Financing Forum while a new wave of debt crises threatens to derail sustainable development

By Bodo Ellmers and Tove Ryding

Last week, governments met at the United Nations in New York for the Financing for Development Forum, and the challenge is very clear. Too little progress has been made towards achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), which to a large extent is the consequence of lacking finance. The 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda, a UN framework adopted at the same time as the SDGs, which is supposed to ensure money flows toward development and the achievement of the SDGs, is not fulfilling its objective.

Political differences at the Addis Summit meant that fundamental institutions, such as a multilateral debt workout mechanism to prevent and resolve debt crises, could not be agreed upon. Developing countries have repeatedly called for developed countries to engage in a negotiation about setting up such a mechanism. It would fill a gaping hole in the international financial architecture, by providing an effective insolvency framework for states. So far, developed countries have refused to negotiate about this, causing it to become a highly pressing issue.

News & reports

CSO activists dressed in 1980s-style sports gear outside the UN HQ in New York. Their tshirts read "Debt Workout Now"

Eurodad in Action at the UN Financing for Development Forum

The United Nations convened in New York last week for the Financing for Development Forum. While the outcome document has been negotiated in advance, the Forum itself offered lots of opportunities to discuss what change we need to finance the sustainable development goals. Eurodad staff and members as well as the broader Civil Society Financing for Development Group made extensive use of these opportunities. Here is a wrap-up of the highlights which ranged from policy debates on aid, debt, tax and private finance to the first ever – but probably not the last – Civil Society Debt Workout.

2018 development aid figures. Why aid reporting rules matter for more effective development.

Earlier this month the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released their preliminary figures on the amount of official development assistance (ODA), or development aid, raised in 2018. Following the OECD's publication, Eurodad released an initial reaction.

Spring Meetings wrap-up 2019

Finance ministers from around the world gathered in Washington DC last week for the IMF and World Bank spring meetings. Held amid an economic downturn and emerging risks of a new round of debt crises, the key task was to discuss how the two organisations can be made more effective to address these challenges, which threaten to affect people’s lives and derail progress toward development goals.

Useful resources

Billions to trillions - a reality check

A new report by Stamp Out Poverty has been launched during the 2019 UN Financing for Development Forum in New York. The report outlines why the mobilisation potential of blending has been oversold through the Billions to Trillions agenda, by a factor of ten, and how continued blending evangelism will be unhelpful in reaching the sustainable development goals.

Can the IFC’s new Green Equity Strategy clean up the bank’s coal problem?

The World Bank Group is quietly bankrolling some of Indonesia’s most destructive coal mining companies, despite instituting a virtual ban on coal financing in 2013, according to a report released today by Inclusive Development International, Bank Information Center Europe and JATAM Indonesia. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private-sector arm, has in recent years provided hundreds of millions of dollars to client banks and private equity funds that have on-lent the money with limited oversight in Indonesia, including to the country’s largest coal producer, Bumi Resources, and other major players in the industry.

How will you work for sustainable development? A litmus test for EU leaders

In a year of European Parliament elections and EU institutional renewal, CONCORD calls on all EU leaders to work towards a sustainable Europe by 2030. This CONCORD paper highlights how EU leaders should ensure they positively contribute to the sustainable development of partner countries, through a more integrated and long-term approach.

Upcoming events

Last chance to register for Eurodad International Conference 2019! Registrations will close on 30 April.

This newsletter has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union under the 'Raising public awareness of development issues and promoting development education in the European Union (DEAR)' programme. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Eurodad and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.