Opening Financing for Developing Conference, Secretary-General Urges States to ‘Reboot’ Commitments, Bolster Inclusive Growth
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as delivered, at the opening of Third International Conference on Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa today:
I thank the Government and people of Ethiopia for their generosity and hospitality in hosting this historic Conference. I am grateful to the many Heads of State and Government and ministers who have joined us here to show their strong commitment to the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. 2015 must be a year for global action. In September, in New York, the international community will adopt a new set of sustainable development goals for the coming 15 years. In December, in Paris, Governments have committed to reach a first-of-its-kind universal and meaningful climate change agreement.
But without resources, commitments will amount to little more than promises on paper. That is why it is encouraging that this year, action starts here with you. You have recognized that in a world in which both the global population and resource constraints are growing, development finance needs a reboot. This Conference is the starting point for a new era of cooperation and global partnership.
With the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda you are taking a crucial step towards sustainable development. The Agenda presents an ambitious financing framework. It puts us on the right path to implement the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals. The framework is universally inclusive. We aim to leave no one behind. It emphasizes the importance of inclusive economic growth for developing countries. In this context, the Action Agenda fully respects the spirit of the historic Monterrey Consensus.
Countries are responsible for their own economic and social development, but national efforts need to be supported by an enabling international economic environment. Financing needs for sustainable development are high. But the challenges are surmountable. Solutions lie in using all sources of finance — public, private, domestic and international. These must be matched by strengthened public policies and regulatory frameworks and incentives for changes in consumption and production patterns.
The new agenda thus recognizes the central role of public policies in catalysing private investment in sustainable development. Most importantly, the Agenda includes concrete policy commitments in at least six crucial areas. First, it includes a new social compact for quality investment. It calls for delivering social protection and essential public services for all, including health, education, energy, water and sanitation. And it calls for a new global infrastructure forum to increase infrastructure investments that support sustainable development. This is a historic opportunity to ensure that no country or sector is left behind and that new investments are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
Second, the Agenda includes a package for least developed countries [LDCs], including a commitment to increase official development assistance, to set up investment promotion regimes for LDCs and to operationalize the technology bank for LDCs by 2017. Third, with the new Technology Facilitation Mechanism, the Agenda breaks new ground to help facilitate the development, transfer and dissemination of relevant technologies for the sustainable development goals. Fourth, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda calls for greater international cooperation in tax matters to stem the tide of illicit financial flows. Fifth, it mainstreams gender equality throughout the financing for development agenda. Sixth, the Addis Action Agenda makes it very clear that all of our actions need to be underpinned by our strong commitment to protect and preserve our planet and natural resources, our biodiversity and our climate.
These commitments can bring about real change. But the real test will lie in their implementation. A stronger follow-up process, as called for in the Agenda, will bring us closer together in turning these commitments into action. The new annual Financing for Development Forum provides the international community a fresh opportunity to ensure an integrated and dedicated follow-up process on financing for development.
Let us make full use of it. Let us forge an action plan on how to promote the Addis Ababa Action Agenda across the globe at the local, national, regional and international levels. Over the next few days, people all over world will be watching with great hope. Let us not disappoint them.
I commend the commitment and hard work of Member States, the President of the General Assembly and the Conference co-facilitators on the negotiations in New York. But I regret they were not able to arrive at a final agreement. I urge world leaders and ministers gathered here this week to agree an outcome that is commensurate in ambition with the sustainable development goals. Exercise flexibility and compromise. Let us put aside what divides us and overcome narrow self-interest in favour of working together for the common well-being of humanity.
Let us build on our shared vision of a sustainable world free from poverty and deliver a transformative outcome here in Addis. I count on all Member States and stakeholders, including the private sector and development banks, to share the concrete actions you are taking to implement the new Action Agenda and to invest more in people and in the planet.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda will be the starting point of a new path for financing sustainable development. A successful outcome of this Conference is crucial for securing an ambitious post-2015 development agenda and a comprehensive agreement on climate change. Let us send a clear signal that we are serious about supporting sustainable development and providing a life of dignity for all. Thank you.