Recommended Initiatives to be launched at the Addis Conference on Financing for Development

17 March 2015
Jeffrey Sachs, Guido Schmidt, Traub Aniket Shah

A successful outcome of the Addis Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) will become the linchpin for the adoption and subsequent implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) following the September Summit at the United Nations in New York as well as the climate agreement under UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December.

Failure to adopt an adequate financing framework and non-­‐financial means of implementation may undermine the SDGs and the world’s resolve to tackle dangerous climate change. The stakes are therefore high. This note outlines four practical initiatives that could be announced in the run-­‐up to and at the Addis conference. Together they will make an important contribution towards enabling every country to meet the SDGs.

The FfD discussions occur in the context of unprecedented opportunities. The rapid growth in many developing countries supports the mobilization of increased domestic resources. At the same time global savings are at an all-­‐time high of some $22 trillion, and modern technologies will help us tackle challenges that have hitherto seemed impossible. Addis should find a way to harness new technologies and mobilize the private sector to scale up our collective pursuit of all SDGs.

Domestic and international public finance will continue to play a vital role for investments in health, education, smallholder agriculture, access to basic infrastructure, and other critical financing challenges. Well-­‐designed public finance mechanisms can leverage greater volumes of private finance. Domestic resource mobilization in developing countries has increased significantly, and more can and should be agreed in Addis. South-­‐South Cooperation is expanding, and the growing role of new donors is one of the most promising developments that should receive strong support in Addis.

Meanwhile, international aid from developed countries has not kept up with the needs. Many developed countries are in fiscal crisis and have repeatedly reneged on their promise to increase ODA to 0.7 percent of their GNI. A central question for Addis will therefore be how international aid can be scaled up and how the scarce resources can be disbursed as effectively as possible.

In addition to updating and expanding the principles of the Monterrey Consensus, we therefore propose that the Addis Declaration mobilize international action around four specific initiatives focusing on education, health, smallholder agriculture and nutrition, and infrastructure for Africa, especially related to NEPAD’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEA4ALL). Together, these initiatives will help make the Addis conference a success.