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WESS 2012 Calls for Innovative Financing for Sustainable Development

5 July 2012: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) launched the World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) 2012 “In Search of New Development Finance." The WESS analyzes long-term economic and social development issues and considers positive and negative impacts of corresponding policies, with this year's report focused on innovative ways to finance sustainable development.

Launched at the UN Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) in New York, US, on 5 July 2012, the report notes that while the need for aid remains high, aid flows declined in real terms in 2011, creating a need for new mechanisms to contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and financing the post-2015 development agenda. Innovative financing sources are technically feasible, the report finds, but will require international agreement and greater political will. The report also stresses that the allocation of financing is as important as how it is raised.

WESS 2012 illustrates financing options to increase the scale of available development financing to US$400 billion, and to provide predictable financing to enhance sustainable development. Its financing suggestions include international taxes on air traffic and carbon emissions, and currency and financial transactions. Rob Vos, Director of DESA's Division for Development Policy and Analysis and lead author of the report, underlined that “Such taxes also make economic sense, as they help stimulate green growth and mitigate financial market instability."

The report spotlights the need for innovative financing options in climate change and health, noting that a proliferation of separate funds rather than a coordinated approach has characterized financing in both areas. It recommends consolidating disbursement mechanisms to avoid fragmented funding, as well as tapping into innovative resources, such as a US$25 per ton tax on developed countries' carbon dioxide emissions. [Publication: World Economic and Social Survey 2012: In Search of New Development Finance] [DESA Press Release] [Press Conference] [UN Press Release]