Third International UN Conference on Financing for Development

aug 2Many developing countries were generally disappointed in the outcome of the recent UN Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. While the UN reported that the “groundbreaking agreement” forms the “foundation of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development that will leave no one behind,” some civil society organizations were less enthusiastic. The Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ) reported that a key proposal on the creation of a UN global tax body was rejected; it was to have assured that every country would have a seat at the table and an equal say in reforming global tax policies, and helped developing countries increase domestic resources through fairer international tax policies. GATJ also said that no specific debt relief initiatives are contained in the FfD outcome document, while privatization and private finance are heavily promoted as “solutions” to financing for development. The problem of illicit financial flows (tax evasion and corruption) was strongly debated, but final language around the issue remains weak, with no clear measures for implementation.

Besides the tax issue, the original agenda sought to get government commitments to provide social protection and essential public series for all (e.g. health, education, energy, water, and sanitation); an economic package to support the poorest countries; ways to ensure the technology and infrastructure needed to achieve the SDGs; and mainstreaming women’s empowerment into financing for development.

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