The United Nations Financing for Development Forum 2023, which was recently held over four days in New York, was dominated by multiple crises. Setbacks to the 2030 Agenda have increased political pressure to make substantial progress on financing for development. The chapters in the outcome document on taxation and debt issues were particularly vigorously negotiated. African countries in particular want to further strengthen the UN’s work on taxation. With the escalating debt crisis, it is also becoming more important [...]
Development Finance & Tax Justice - Archive
United Nations score success
By Bodo Ellmers
In November 2023, the UN passed a landmark resolution on international tax cooperation. It opens an intergovernmental negotiation process that many hope will lead to a UN tax convention of universal application. The special session of the UN Economic and Social Council on March 31, 2023, was the first diplomatic probing of the negotiating groups.
Tax cooperation is perhaps the most poorly regulated area of global economic governance. A specialized International Tax Organization is as non-existent [...]
Last Exit Doha - The Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries is a chance not to be missed
By Bodo Ellmers
In the first week of March, the international community will gather for the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha. The conference takes place in the context of multiple crises that have hit LDCs far harder than richer and more resilient countries. It coincides with the SDG midterm, and by definition, no group of countries is as far from SDG achievement as LDCs. The conference presents a significant opportunity to mobilize more [...]
By Bodo Ellmers
Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, presented a comprehensive approach to development finance last summer. Developed in collaboration with the United Nations, the Bridgetown Initiative is a three-step plan to mobilize short-term liquidity for crisis response and long-term funding for sustainable development. Originally unveiled in the run-up to the UN climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh, it was not a flash in the pan, but is now being taken up by French President Macron as a [...]
Why a fourth International Conference on Financing for Development is overdue
As Agenda 2030 passes its mid-way point, ambitious reforms will be required during its second phase if the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are still to be achieved. A lack of financial resources is one of the main reasons why their implementation has fallen so far behind. The UN’s latest Financing for Sustainable Development Report has identified the “financial divide”, i.e. the lack of access to funds at favourable interest rates for countries of the Global South, as a key problem [...]
A turning point for development finance?
Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, development finance has operated under conditions of low interest rates and high liquidity in global financial markets. This has changed with the recent turnaround in interest rates. This briefing paper describes the current trends, analyzes the implications for financing sustainable development in the Global South, and formulates policy recommendations on how countries in the Global South and their financing partners in the North can respond to the interest rate increases.
GPW Round Up #1
This GPW Round Up #1, entitled “The Debt Crisis and Illicit Financial Flows” looks at the UN Secretary-General’s proposals in his report Our Common Agenda to address this crisis, starting with a Biennial Summit between the G20, ECOSOC and IFIs, and asks “Does Our Common Agenda provide solutions?”
At a time when Africa has lost US$ 1 trillion over 50 years to IFFs, more than it has received in development assistance, the Round Up features Member State statements [...]
By Bodo Ellmers
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda has fallen massively behind. Insufficient development finance is a major reason for this, as the slowly subsiding COVID-19 crisis had led to a simultaneous collapse of all sources of finance. This year's UN High Level Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) should have been dedicated to building back better after the crisis. The title did retain the "building back better." De facto, however, the HLPF was overshadowed by a new wave of [...]
By Bodo Ellmers
The G7 summit in Elmau was the highlight of the German G7 presidency in 2022. Contrary to the original intentions of the German government, security policy and geostrategy dominated the process, due to the conflict in Eastern Europe. By contrast, the G7 largely abandoned its claim to coordinate global economic issues. Financial commitments to third countries were made primarily in the areas of food and infrastructure. However, the former do not seem commensurate with the scale of [...]
By Bodo Ellmers
Every spring, the UN publishes the Financing for Sustainable Development Report. It contains the latest data and analyses on various aspects of financing for development. In addition, policy recommendations on a priority topic, to be implemented in the UN's Financing for Development (FfD) process. In 2022, the report should shed light on ways and means to overcome the financial divide between North and South. This is because rich countries had considerable financial leeway to mitigate [...]
An unintentionally honest report on the state of EU development finance
With some delay, the European Commission has published the new "Investing in Sustainable Development Report". A few years ago, the report replaced the older EU Accountability Report or so-called "Monterrey Package" of the EU, which originally reviewed the implementation of the UN agreements on financing for development in the EU and its Member States.
In the meantime, it is based primarily on self-reporting by the EU Member [...]
Open letter to G20 Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and the IMF: Civil Society Organisations call for issuance of more SDRs and fairer distribution ahead
A group of 17 CSOs has issued an open letter to G20 Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and the IMF calling for a new US$2.5 trillion issuance of reserve assets called Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), and reformed criteria for distributing them in a fairer way and according to needs.
Read the open letter here
Financing for Development in the Least Developed Countries - Needs, challenges and the Doha Programme of Action
Once in a decade, the UN convenes a conference on the least developed countries (LDCs) to negotiate a programme of action, consisting of political agreements and international support measures. Financing for development in all its dimensions is an essential component of these programmes. The process that led to the Fifth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries and the Doha Programme of Action took place under the difficult conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the limited financial space that LDCs had [...]
The IMF's Resilience & Sustainability Trust
Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), the special reserve currency of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have the potential to become a key mechanism for financing a just transition to climate-resilient economies and supporting the COVID-19 recovery. Following its historic allocation of $650 billion in SDRs in August 2021, the IMF has proposed a Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) to facilitate the re-channeling of these resources to vulnerable countries.
As a part of the 2022 IMF and World Bank [...]
A primer on the UN’s Financing for Development process
This briefing paper gives an overview of the current challenges in different development finance action areas. In the second part, we give an overview of the UN’s FfD process and of the international agreements on Financing for Development. Based on our analysis, we identify 10 key levers for financing sustainable development. With these, Europe can make a substantial contribution to financing for development and thereby to the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development worldwide.
GPW Briefing #35
By Barbara Adams and Julie Kim
One of the global processes falling prey to the Omicron variant of the Covid virus was the fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed countries, originally scheduled for the end of January in Doha, Qatar. It has been replaced with a meeting in New York on 17 March 2022 for the adoption of the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA); a full meeting will be held in March 2023, where governments will gather with stakeholders [...]
GPW Briefing #34
By Elena Marmo
Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) embarked on an effort to harmonize UN Development System (UNDS) activities with the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs as well as system-wide pressure for greater country ownership of in-country activities. This briefing examines how the UNDS is addressing its current funding challenges with a focus on the UN Fund for Children (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women [...]
Exiting the COVID-19 crisis via a historic cash injection?
On August 23 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) performed the long desired payout of special drawing rights (SDRs) to the tune of 650 billion US dollars. Especially for countries of the Global South, the SDRs are a welcome cash injection. Unlike the EU and the USA with their economic recovery programs worth trillions, developing countries have so far only been able to mobilize few financial resources to cope with the impacts of the crisis, and for this reason too [...]
The G20 Summit in Rome takes place amidst heightened debt crisis risks. According to latest World Bank figures, the debt stock of low income countries (LICs), the world´s poorest countries, surged by a staggering 12% in 2020, reaching a new record high. Poor countries transfer an increasing share of their tax revenues to creditors, to service their debts. The situation will further deteriorate when the G20´s Debt Service Suspension Initiative expires in end of 2021 in addition to the resumption [...]
Open Letter to G20 Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and the IMF: Civil Society Organizations Call for Principles for Fair Channeling of Special Drawing Rights
As the pandemic exacerbates multiple crises in developing countries, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are a crucial option to help finance the COVID response and hasten an equitable and inclusive economic recovery. With the SDR distribution being proportional to IMF countries’ quotas, the new allocation of US$650 billion does not ensure sufficient SDRs go to developing countries.
This is why many have been calling for an allocation in the order of US$3 trillion. Moreover, advanced economies are in less need [...]
This side-event at the UNCTAD XV Civil Society Forum discusses UNCTAD's work on debt crisis prevention and resolution. Participants are invited to identify UNCTAD's strengths and areas where there is room for growth, and express their expectations towards UNCTAD's work on debt on debt issues in the period following UNCTAD XV, an era in which global debt levels have reached record highs due to the Covid-19 crisis.
- Bodo Ellmers, Global Policy Forum (Moderator)
- Attiya Waris, UN Independent Expert [...]
Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2021
Time to overcome contradictions and hypocrisy in the COVID-19 crisis
Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have greatly exacerbated national and global inequalities. Blatant examples are the unfair distribution of care work, relying mainly on women and poorly remunerated if at all, and the global disparity in the distribution of vaccines.
So far more than 60 percent of people in high-income countries have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but less than 2 percent [...]
Policy proposals and political opportunities
Global debt levels have been surging constantly over the past decade, and the need to fight the COVID-19 crisis with running fiscal deficits and borrowing money has been a further shock to global economies. While central bank interventions have been keeping interest rates low in the global north, countries in the global south are particularly vulnerable to crisis because they owe large amounts of external debts. The risk of debt crisis is high and debt service costs are rising rapidly [...]
By Bhumika Mucchala (Senior Policy Researcher, Third World Network), and Christopher Hope (Policy Officer, Bretton Woods Project).
A summary of key issues emerging from recent high-level event on SDR recycling mechanisms, funds, and vehicles.
Read the blog on the eurodad website or the Spanish translation via www.latindadd.org