UN Secretary-General Declares Addis a “Major Step Forward”

Secretary-General Arrives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.


On the eve of the final day of the Financing for Development conference in Ethiopia, leaders reached an agreement on financing the post-2015 framework. While UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared the conference a “major step forward in building a world of prosperity and dignity for all,” based on statements from stakeholders around the world, some were happier with the conclusions than others. After four days of talks, more than 100 outcomes were agreed including developing a global strategy for youth employment by 2020, establishing a stronger and more comprehensive disaster response method, and investing further in health and education. Also agreed was the creation of a new inter-agency task force of major institutional stakeholders and specialized agencies which will act as a formal mechanism to follow up on discussions and progress of the post-2015 agenda.


Driving the dialogue on sustainable development was the notion of global and cross-sectoral collaboration to create “partnerships” and “investments” — a noticeable language shift from “donor” and “aid.” While multilateral development banks have already agreed to pool at least an initial $400 billion to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over the next three years, some argue that ultimately, the FfD financing outcome was not nearly enough.


Mixed sentiment following the outcome:


Civicus Secretary General Danny Sriskandarajah lamented that new resources were not unlocked. “We are disappointed that the Financing for Development process has neither yielded new resources to fund the investments needed to end poverty nor taken meaningful steps to address problems in the international financial system,” he said in a meeting. However, a project known as the Addis Tax Initiative was launched to help consult developing countries as they strengthen their tax revenue systems and finance the development agenda domestically. Others mourned the failure to secure an intergovernmental tax body to curb the $212 billion annual losses by developing nations due to multinational tax dodging and the reduced accountability for the private sector’s responsibility to governments and citizens.


Highlights on education included a renewed commitment to provide free, quality education to girls and boys from early childhood education through primary and secondary education and a recognition of the need for increased education and skills-training for migrants.



The outcome document reinforced positive roles for the private sector in the post-2015 framework. Leaders confirmed that a dynamic global partnership of stakeholders ranging from the private sector to civil society to the scientific community and volunteers will be put in place. They also acknowledged that the private sector and development banks would have increased responsibility in delivering credit to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises to further job creation globally. The outcomes document encourages collaboration between multinational corporations with the domestic private sector to promote technology development and appropriate skills training.