President of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinoza Garces, has appointed Ghana's Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the UN, Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee and her Canadian counterpart, Marc-Andre Blanchard to follow up and review financing for development.
Before their appointments, there were three major international conferences on Financing for Development held. The Monterrey Consensus in Mexico in 2002, The Doha Declaration in 2008 in Qatar and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda in Ethiopia in 2012.
The Addis Ababa Conference aimed at mobilizing public finance, set appropriate public and regulatory frameworks to unlock private finance, trade opportunities and technological development and incentivize changes in consumption, production and investment patterns. It also sought to align all resource flows and policies with economic, social and environmental priorities.
The approach adopted in Addis Ababa was comprehensive as it was embodied in the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development. The Monterrey Consensus acknowledged all sources of financing, that is, public and private, domestic and international are not enough for financing development, but that resource mobilization depends on public policies and strengthened national and international enabling atmosphere.
As a built on from Monterrey and Doha Conferences, the Addis Agenda reaffirmed that developing countries have primary responsibility for their own economic and social development. Domestic policies must be supported by enabling international environment. The Addis Agenda reiterated.
The Addis Agenda also focused on policy requirements for realizing all three dimensions of sustainable developments, economic, social and environmental integration.
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), was adopted in 2015 and provided a new global guideline for financing sustainable development, which supports implementation of the 2030 Agenda including the SDGs. It also incorporated the SDG means of implementation targets into a holistic financing framework and served as a guide for further actions by governments, international organizations, the business sector, civil society and philanthropists.
The United Nations, four years after Addis Ababa Action Agenda adoption, has appointed Ghana and Canada’s Permanent Representatives to follow up and review financing for development. The Ambassadors tasked to assess the progress of the Addis Agenda, identify obstacles and challenges to the implementation of the financing for development outcomes, delivery of the means of implementation and address new emerging topics of relevance to the implementation of the Agenda as the need arises.
The impact of extreme natural disasters for instance, is equivalent to a global $520 billion loss in annual consumption, and forces some 26 million people into poverty each year, a new report from the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) reveals.
There is a sense of optimism. Getting financing right will be critical to meet the SDGs by 2030. There is no shortage of capital in the global economy. The total stock of global financial assets has been estimated at close to $300 trillion. However, the global financial system is not channeling those vast sums effectively towards investments for sustainable development and achieving the SDGs.
For example, international institutional investors such as sovereign wealth funds and pension funds hold an estimated US$115 trillion in assets under management. This is a significant potential source of finance for sustainable development. Yet, when we look at the portfolios, for example, of the largest pension funds, less than three percent is invested in infrastructure and even lower shares in developing countries. Reorienting even a fraction of these investments would accelerate sustainable development.
By some estimates, the official sector and asset managers currently hold as much as $10 trillion in negative yielding assets. Governments have a key role to play to create incentives to align larger shares of private finance with sustainable development objectives through direct financial interventions such as subsidies or guarantees as well as strengthened policies and institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks. This was revealed by Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP in his keynote speech at the High-Level Conference on Financing for Development and the means of Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Doha, Qatar.
It is worthy to mention that, President Akufo-Addo’s role as the Co-Chair of the Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals Advocates and his government’s internal policies including Free Secondary High School, aggressive steps to industrialize the economy through the modernization and transformation of the agric sector, the economic growth rated as one of the fastest in the world, had some effect in this appointment.