Laura Kerr, Policy Advocacy Coordinator, blogs about the importance of the Financing for Development Conference next month. 2015 is a pivotal year for development. In September, global leaders will agree on a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the development agenda for the next 15 years. The proposed SDGs are ambitious. The UN and member states are still working how the goals will be implemented but it is very clear that if we are going to achieve the goals, we’re going to have to find more money, and not just aid, for development. Next month, the UN is convening the third ever Financing for Development Conference (FFD3) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Heads of State and Government, Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, will all be attending to decide how we can raise finance for development to achieve the SDGs. FFD3Financing for development is complex, even for the ‘experts’. So we’ve broken down the top five reasons why we need to make sure the conference is a success:

  1. There are still 1 billion people living in absolute poverty. 6 million children still die before their fifth birthday, the majority from preventable and treatable conditions. 1 in 8 people still go to bed hungry every night. We’ve got to ensure no-one is left behind in the development agenda.
  2. It is has been estimated that we need a further $1.5 trillion per year to fund the SDGs. That’s a pretty big amount of money we need to find to ensure the SDGs make massive strides to end poverty.
  3. Over 40 years ago, countries committed to spending 0.7% GNI on overseas development aid. Currently, only five countries in the world have reached this. It’s time for government commitments to be met.
  4. Domestic resource mobilisation, tax, and illicit financial flows (IFFs) are all on the agenda at FFD3. Every year Africa is estimated to lose $50 billion through IFFs! Research carried out by RESULTS and partners in Kenya found that $4.9 billion was lost in one year alone from capital flight.  The report – Who Pays for Progress? – will be launched in Addis on July 13th and we hope this will contribute to a debate about the necessary balance between Official Development Assistance (ODA) and domestic resource mobilisation (DRM)
  5. Lack of ambition at FFD3, with no substantial or new agreements on financing, would be a disaster for the SDG’s. This is the year to be bold, strong-willed, and fight for a world free from poverty which can simply not be achieved if we maintain ‘business as usual’ approach to financing.
  6. The success of this year’s third major development conference, the UN Climate Change negotiations in December (COP21), also hinges on a progressive outcome next month. FFD3 has to set the bar high, with aspiring and determined decisions, that inspire commitments on climate change which has been sorely lacking from previous climate negotiations.

FFD3 is a once in a generation conference. The success of the SDGs and development for the next 15 years hinges on whether world leaders will step up their commitments to finance a world free from poverty. We really can’t afford to waste this opportunity.