What does "success" mean at a global summit on development finance?

12 july 2015

In this second blog from Addis Ababa (read the previous article here), Hans Zomer talks about the expectations among civil society organisations for the Financing for Development summit in Addis Ababa.

The theory is straightforward enough: The "Financing for Development" summit in Addis Ababa is about finding the money for a new global agreement for a better world.

Erik Solheim, Chairperson of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee summed it up as follows:

In reality, of course, there's far more to it. Owen Barder, for instance, has a long list of things that need to happen if the summit is to be considered a success.

Global civil society organisations have drawn up their own list of key considerations. Developed over 2 days in Addis Ababa, the CSO declaration set out "reflections and recommendations" from the hundreds of people from around the world that participated in the forum.

For his part, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his speech to the CSO forum formulated 4 key challenges for civil society organisations:

1) Taxation: Mr. Ban said that "domestic resource mobilisation" is crucial. He called on CSOs to work on issues of tax dodging and illicit financial flows.

2) Aid: Ban Ki-moon said that CSOs have a crucial role in keeping pressure on Governments, to ensure they keep their promises on ODA and climate change adaptation.

(Note: ODA is no longer the most important source of finance for developing countries, but it remains the most stable, predictable and poverty focused source of funding. At Addis, many developing countries have indicated that they're not prepared to discuss "domestic resource mobilisation" without a clearer commitment from rich countries on Aid.)

3) Companies: Probably the most important change in the international debate on global development is that private funding is now taking centre stage. Ban Ki-moon encouraged NGOs to "keep up the pressure" to ensure the discussion is about "the quality, not just the quantity, of private sector investment."

4) Finance: Mr. Ban said that the international financial system has become extremely complex. He said that civil society organisations have a crucial role to play in raising awareness of the system and helping to create an "enabling environment" for citizens to engage with issues of trade, debt and other major systemic issues.

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