An Action Plan Without Much Action

Global Policy Watch Briefing #7

By Barbara Adams and Gretchen Luchsinger

With pens still hovering over the Addis Ababa Action Plan, the outcome agreement for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), there is already a sense that for all the recent talk at the UN about ambition and transformation, it is falling short. For a financing document, the Action Plan includes an impressive number of references to issues at the core of sustainable and inclusive development, like social protection, essential services, decent work for all and sustainable industrialization. There are multiple references to consumption and production, a rebalancing of which, among the rich and the poor, will determine the future of our world.

But how do we get there? The Action Plan has very little in the way of concrete steps and deliverables. It spends a lot of time encouraging and incentivizing, and circling around inherent contradictions. Rather than aiming high, it sets a low bar, perhaps in anticipation of leaving room to maneuver towards the Paris climate change summit at the end of the year.