The Third Financing for Development Conference Opens in Addis Ababa

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The Third Financing for Development Conference opens today (July 13) in Addis Ababa. The Conference elected Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as President of the Conference. Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom was elected as chairman of the main committee that will discuss the outcome document over the course of the four-day event.Prime Minister Hailemariam in his opening remark reminded the Conference that it has started a job to finish what the Millennium Development Goals begun.

“The development finance context has changed since [the 2002 conference in] Monterrey,” he said, and urged to create a world free of poverty in all its forms, a world of inequality to be eliminated eventually and a natural safe operating space. “Climate finance is growing… [and] the private sector has emerged as a crucial engine for FDI and remittances,” the Prime Minister added, stressing the need to explore financing derived from domestic sources.

Reminding the mixed achievements in the Millennium Development Goals, He said, he hoped the Conference will bring a new seriousness on meeting the promised target in Official Development Assistance (ODA). In this regard, he praised Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and the U.K. for having met – and at times exceeded – their commitment to achieving the ODA target. Prime Minister Hailemariam calls for urgent action to reverse the decline of ODA to developing countries.

This week’s conference, he said, would aim to set up “Technology Banks” in the world’s least developed countries, which will earmark 0.1 percent of their national income for the project.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that 2015 should be a year “for global action,” as this a historic Conference that makes any one not to be left behind. “This conference is a starting point for cooperation and global action… towards sustainable development,” Ban asserted. “We want to leave no one behind.”

The new agenda, he added, would include concrete policy commitments, such as a social compact for policy improvement aimed at improved access to health, education, energy, water and sanitation. The agenda also includes packages for the least developed countries under which they can set up investment promotion regimes by 2017 Ban Ki-moon said.

As the new agenda unveiled in Addis Ababa will also call for greater international cooperation on matters related to climate, taxation and gender equality, “All our actions need to be underpinned by our commitment to preserving our planet, our biodiversity and our climate,” the Secretary general noted. “The real test will lie in implementation.”

Ban Ki-moon urges world leaders to agree on an outcome document commensurate with the new Sustainable Development Goals, stressing the need for compromise between various parties. “Let us send a clear signal that we are serious about supporting sustainable development,” he said.Sam Pohamba Kutessa, secretary-general of the 69th UN General Assembly, for his part, expressed his pleasure that the Financing for Development conference was taking place, for the first time, on the African continent. “We have lifted over one billion people out of poverty, improved access to water and sanitation, and worked for the empowerment of women,” he said. “Yet another one billion will continue to live in abject poverty.”

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, urged creativity and boldness in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals as we cannot continue with business as usual. He said the World Bank was ready to provide the needed development credit facilities. “We need to support the World Health Organization to become stronger so that it will be able to mitigate communicable diseases, such as Ebola,” he said, “as millions will die and $5 trillion will be lost if any communicable disease occurs.” World Trade Organization President Roberto Azevedo, for his part, called on a new international partnership aimed at creating jobs and improving access to technology and financing with a view to promoting sustainable development. “Some $245 billion will go to developing countries to improve trade,” he told conference attendees.

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