The UN Post-2015 Development Agenda: Getting poverty to zero
October-December 2015
By: Desra Percaya

Yes, more countries were emerging on the global stage as more economically capable and assumed to be able to share the responsibility, but that is like comparing apples and oranges. The emerging economies may have played a role in helping the global marketplace weather the 2008 storm, but they have hardly reached the economic cruising altitude that developed countries have enjoyed for more than a century.

Despite the strong resistance to discussing the means of implementation at the Post-2015 Development Agenda negotiating table, a compromise was found during the Third Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last July: flesh out the three elements of the means of implementation and report back the outcomes as complementary input to the post-2015 process. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda reaffirmed financing as a pivotal element, recognizing that the Post-2015 Development Agenda will require significantly increased investment, for which domestic and external financial resources are needed to achieve the goals and targets.

It included important policy commitments and key deliverables in critical areas for sustainable development. They include infrastructure, through commitments to fund infrastructure projects for energy, transportation, water and sanitation, as well as increased investment in agriculture and nutrition. A key input related to finance was strengthening domestic public sources through taxation. Although demands by developing countries for upgrading the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters into an intergovernmental tax body were not met, nations agreed to work together to significantly reduce and ultimately eliminate illicit financial flows, as well as strengthen the capacities of developing countries’ tax administrations.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda also underscored finding innovative ways and enabling environments to increase international private flows, including foreign direct investment and trade, and expand the participation of the private sector. Recognition was given to the growing role of emerging economies, highlighting the contribution of South-South cooperation in international cooperation for development. However, the premise remains that South-South cooperation is not a substitute for North-South cooperation.

While all components of the Addis Ababa meeting are vital to the future implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, a UN program, was the high-water mark of the meeting. It will be a collaborative platform between UN member states, civil society, the private sector, the scientific community, the UN itself and other stakeholders. This mechanism is indeed very important to ensure that technology is available and accessible to support the development of developing countries.

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