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UNGA Second Committee Discusses Sustainable Development Financing

24 October 2012: The UN Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met on 22 and 24 October 2012, in New York, US, to discuss financing for development. These meetings discussed international trade and protectionism, as well as mechanisms for sustainable development financing.

The 22 October meeting began with a presentation of the Global Economic Outlook report by Rob Vos, Director, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) Development Policy Analysis Division. The report provides national and international-level policy recommendations to stimulate economic growth and lower unemployment through long-term solutions. Participants then engaged in a panel discussion on current global economic challenges, including economists such as Andrew Burns, World Bank, and Moazam Mahmood, International Labour Organization (ILO). Speakers focused on issues of national debt and unemployment, and the threat of another global recession. Mahmood predicted that the world would lose another 2.5 million jobs in 2013, and cautioned against structural reforms enacted in advanced European economies.

Government representatives then discussed these economic issues in relation to funds and financing for international development. Developing countries, such as Algeria representing the Group of 77 (G-77) and China, spoke of unfulfilled and declining official development assistance (ODA) commitments, and called for countries to increase financing for development within the UN system. Norway and France emphasized innovative sources of finance and the inclusion of new actors in the development sphere.

Sustainable development and the financing for a post-2015 sustainable development agenda were also topics of discussion among countries on both days of the meeting. Countries called for: new global governance processes for the financing of sustainable development; increased support for the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and the mobilization of new financial resources for the post-2015 agenda.

Pakistan reminded the Committee of the decision adopted at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) to establish an intergovernmental process of assessing finance for sustainable development, and discussed the parallel development financing processes of the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration. Peru stressed that these processes must be integrated into one, coherent development agenda that incorporates the economic, social, and environmental pillars of sustainable development to prevent against financial fragmentation.

Canada, speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand (CANZ), stated that financing decisions made at Rio+20, as well as the creation of the post-2015 development agenda, would determine new structures for development finance. He stressed national ownership of development activities, and public and private sector engagement for new funding. [UN Press Release, Day 1] [UN Press Release, Day 2] [DESA Press Release onĀ Global Economic Outlook]