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Economic and Social Council President Says Countries Feeling Sting of Pandemic, Climate Crisis

The Economic and Social Council concluded its annual financing for development forum today with the adoption of an outcome document highlighting the critical need for resources to deliver on the central promise of the United Nations framework for achieving a better, more sustainable future for all by 2030.

Adoption of the text — titled “Follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document E/FFDF/2022/L.1) — capped a day in which delegates also approved two decisions:  one on the theme of the Council’s upcoming humanitarian affairs segment and another on the transition from relief to development.

“The success of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement [on climate change] will depend on our ability to mobilize resources”, Heads of State and Government stated through the outcome document.  “We must meet the moment and deliver on our commitments.”

Acknowledging the highly fragile global economic outlook amid the COVID-19 pandemic, world leaders expressed grave concern that the mobilization of sufficient financing remains a major challenge, and that progress has not been shared evenly within and among countries, leading to further deepening of existing inequalities.

Against that backdrop, they reaffirmed their resolve, through the text, to scale up efforts towards the full and timely implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, as well as the 2030 Agenda.

They also reiterated their commitment to various areas of financing:  cross-cutting issues; domestic public resources; domestic and international private business and finance; international development cooperation; international trade, debt and debt sustainability; systemic issues; science, technology, innovation and capacity-building; and data, monitoring and follow-up.

After the adoption, several delegates took to the floor to voice concerns over certain areas of the outcome document, with the representative of the Philippines expressing regret that the section on trade logistics disruptions did not reference the challenges faced by middle-income countries.  Pakistan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the bloc’s proposal to include language on differentiated responsibilities related to climate change was not taken on board.  Iran’s representative, meanwhile, criticized the lack of reference to the deleterious impact of unilateral coercive measures on development.

In closing remarks, Economic and Social Council President Collen Vixen Kelapile (Botswana) said the world had changed “significantly” since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  The most vulnerable countries are feeling the sting of the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, he stressed.  He underscored the need to promote vaccine equity and provide support to States bearing the brunt of climate change.  “Make no mistake,” he said.  “The situation is dire.  Although we have reached the end of the forum, our work has just begun”.

In other business, the Council adopted a decision (document E/2022/L.6), outlining that the theme of the humanitarian affairs segment of its 2022 session will be: “Strengthening humanitarian assistance: good practices and mobilizing action in the application of international humanitarian law, the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and in response to the climate crisis”.

Further to the text, the Council took note of the proposed topics for the three panel discussions under the segment:  “Humanitarian assistance and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic:  working together to ensure that children and women are not left behind”; (ii) “Reaching people in need, supporting humanitarian assistance for all in times of conflict and promoting good practices in the application of international humanitarian law”; and (iii) “Humanitarian impacts of the climate crisis:  escalating risks, challenges and actions.

In its second decision (document E/2022/L.7), the Council decided that its “meeting on the transition from relief to development” will be held in New York on 20 June 2022, under the theme:  “Recurrent crises and sustainable solutions: building resilience and addressing rising food insecurity and displacement”.

Also speaking in the forum today were representatives of Finland, Ghana, Madagascar, Lebanon, Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Cabo Verde, Jamaica (for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Cambodia, Netherlands, Iran, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, South Africa, Nicaragua, Brazil, Ethiopia, Republic of Korea, Iraq, Liechtenstein, Nigeria, Poland, Belgium, Morocco, India, Chile, Turkey, Algeria; Granada, Antigua and Barbuda (for Alliance of Small Island States), El Salvador, Colombia (for the group of like-minded countries supportive of middle-income countries), Canada (also for Australia and New Zealand), China, Russian Federation, Hungary, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States.

Representatives of the European Union and Holy See spoke in their capacities as observers, while representatives from the International Anti-Corruption Academy, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Society for International Development also made interventions.

Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs also spoke.

The forum on financing for development also held two panel discussions — one on a “sustainable and just transition”, and another addressed digital transitions, opportunities and risks – and adopted the report on its 2022 session (document E/FFDF/2022/L.2).

Panel I

In the morning, the forum on financing for development follow-up held its first panel on the theme of “Sustainable and just transition”.  Opening with keynote addresses by Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, and Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice-President of Malawi, it was moderated by Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The featured panellists were Saulos Klaus Chilima, Vice-President of Malawi; Mohamed Maait, Minister for Finance of Egypt; Roberto Suárez Santos, Secretary-General of the International Organization of Employers; Frank Elderson, Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank and former Chair of the Network for Greening the Financial System; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation; with lead discussant Emilia Reyes, of the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development.

Mr. ALVARADO QUESDADA said that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been uneven, with the largest number of virus deaths in Latin America.  The energy transition is good for economies, and action and commitment are needed to make it happen.  Currently, there is a supply crisis, as can be seen in the logistic chains.  One response is the increase in interest rates, in particular by the United States Federal Reserve.  That results in the price of how countries finance themselves in the market going up.  As many States tackled the situation by increasing interest rates, “this means that finance for transition and for a just and sustainable transition is getting more expensive in an already indebted developing world”, he stressed.  What is required is access to finance in better terms, not only for a just and sustainable transition, but also to have stability across the globe.  Without this — alongside political, economic and social stability — tackling climate change and loss of biodiversity and social cohesion is going to be difficult.  Costa Rica has shown that the transition is possible, he said, noting its development of a public policy for the production of green hydrogen.  This policy includes the tariffs in which national and foreign countries can come to Costa Rica and “plug in its green electric matrix”, he said.

Mr. CHILIMA said least developed countries lack capacity to mobilize large amounts of financing to invest in major power generation projects, with only 53 per cent of their population having access to energy.  Those countries are committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  However, this will require a substantial increase in their share of renewable energy and clean energy technologies in the end-use categories of electricity, transport and heating and cooling.  Further there has been a premature phaseout of current financial support measures and continuing debt service obligations.  International public financial flows for clean energy have decreased for the second year in a row, amounting to $10.9 billion in 2019.  Rapidly falling costs of renewable energy technology have opened previously unimaginable opportunities across the globe, with the private sector providing 86 per cent of investment in projects, between 2013 and 2018.  Yet only 6 per cent was invested in least developed countries.  Transfer of technology is critical to scale up energy transition.  A key milestone from the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Energy in 2021 was to raise energy investment to $40 billion, of which 50 per cent should be directed to least developed countries.  Reaching people in remote areas and off-grid zones is a major challenge; in least developed countries, half a billion people have no power.  Clean energy access will therefore advance progress of the Sustainable Development Goals at a transformative scale.  The Doha Plan of Action has set mileposts of doubling generation of electricity per capita by 2030, doubling financing from all sources, and directing 50 per cent of financial flows to clean cooking in least developed countries. =eob=

Mr. RYDER said that, according to ILO estimates, the green transition to a low-carbon and circular economy could generate 100 million new jobs by 2030.  However, at the same time, 80 million jobs could be lost in that process.  In that regard, the scale of the transition and its challenges should not be underestimated, particularly with respect to developing and least developed countries who are facing many other socioeconomic challenges in addition to the climate crisis.  The “ILO Guidelines for a just transition toward environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all” provide a framework that could help that transition.  Financing is a critical ingredient, he said, stressing that it is not just another enabler but a sine qua non for the international community’s shared objectives.  The reskilling and redeployment of workers across economic sectors; development of new and green enterprises; social protection and income support; and the transformation of communities and regions to achieve economic diversification require unprecedented levels of financing and with greater urgency.  It is also important to achieve the right balance for financing climate mitigation and adaptation.  The twenty-seventh conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh will be an important milestone to advance that work significantly, he said, calling on the international community to seek momentum.

Mr. SUÁREZ SANTOS said that his organization represents more than 150 strong business players at the national level.  These kinds of organizations can help shape policies at the national level to anticipate climate change.  What is needed is a just energy transition, he stressed, noting this will require strong ambition among the business community.  More and more businesses are concerned and impacted by climate change, but there is a lack of clear information and recommendations on this issue.  They are also suffering from a lack of best practices that illustrate real business cases.  There is also a lack of policies with detailed analysis on particular business sectors.  More capacity-building for technical support is also needed, especially for companies in developing economies and small and medium-sized companies, as well as in both the formal and informal sectors.  Knowledge and technology transfer from the developed to the developing world is essential.  Good partnership and collaboration are needed.  Financial flows need to be optimized and made much more accessible.  Developing countries need more support to reach their goals and access to finance and affordability of finance are crucial.

Mr. ELDERSON said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change consistently reports that time is running out and that the international community must address the climate and environmental crises.  The Network for Greening the Financial System has expanded from eight founding members to 114 central banks and supervisors.  Members are from emerging and developed economies from five continents, covering almost 90 per cent of the global economy and 85 per cent of global emissions.  Since its launch in 2017, the Network has developed and shared tools designed to help public and private actors engage in forward-looking analysis and policymaking to address climate risks under a common and consistent global framework.  The Network is also a founding partner of the Climate Training Alliance, building capacity for integrating climate considerations in all tasks of central banks and supervisors.  The Network is not just a coalition of the willing but of the committed, he said.  Still, it is a means to an end and only as strong as the community supporting its work and committed to action.  However, central banks and supervisors are not the primary actors in addressing the crises.  Those who are responsible are Governments who set climate policy objectives.  Nonetheless, central banks have leverage over the financial sector, which has tremendous leverage over its clients, big and small, who form the real economy.  This is a double leverage which, aligned with Government policies, is a powerful force for good, he said.

Ms. BURROW said there is no better place to look for where the international community needs to act than in the world of work.  Putting people and the planet at the centre of the response to the climate crisis means all jobs must be climate-friendly jobs.  In that regard, investments in decent climate-friendly jobs in all sectors must be prioritized, she said, stressing that all sectors of the economy must transition to a net-zero future.  Increasing threats from weather events to lives and livelihoods require investments in resilience.  Recalling the impact of underinvestment during the pandemic, she said investments in care, climate adaptation, sustainable infrastructure and social protection are needed and could help reach full employment in the formal economy by 2030.  On financing, she said “it is a scandal that wealthy countries have failed to reach $100 billion committed back in Copenhagen for poorer countries, adaptation and mitigation”.  In that regard, debt relief and debt elimination measures, among others, must be improved.  No doubt the finance is there, she said, stressing that every unit of currency must have a climate and just transition lens.  “There are no jobs on a dead planet,” she said, calling for robust commitments from the international community to help secure a sustainable future.

Ms. REYES said that “we only have three years to save the planet”.  Those seeking real solutions face discrimination in the global South but those at the United Nations feel safe with old mantras.  Ecosystem solutions should be at the core of efforts while centring the needs of indigenous peoples.  Countries in the global North need to reduce their resource use to fair and sustainable levels.  While the outcome of the current forum still talks about economic growth, she pointed out that “we need to stop talking about economic growth when we run out of planetary boundaries”.  She also underlined that “extraction and accumulation have a higher value within these walls”, once again stressing that that “we only have three years”.  She asked where at the United Nations could topics such as debt cancelation and national care solutions — as well as the waiving of intellectual property rights to fight the pandemic — be discussed.  “We only have three years”, she reiterated adding that a dying planet deserves bold resolutions.

The representative of Spain said the transition towards sustainability requires a systemic change in the function of economic and financial systems.  Some countries have high levels of debt and must deal with more difficult social situations through creation of climate friendly jobs.  She called for the private sector to mobilize more financing for adaptation, adding that it is important to avoid unnecessary subsidies and greenwashing.

The representative of Philippines said despite a drop of 0.3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, the country remains in a difficult position in striking a balance between its transition to a low-carbon economy and the post-pandemic recovery.  The Government aims for a just transition from coal-fired power to renewable resources.

The representative of the Russian Federation said energy transition must be balanced and fair with an economically sound approach to decarbonization, accounting for the burden on small and medium-sized businesses.  For the purposes of transition, she noted that nuclear and hydro-power plant generation are considered green energy.  Citing the difficulty of the unbalanced carbon pricing issue, she called for open multilateral discussions on harmonizing pricing approaches and a reduction of barriers for transparent results conversion.

The representative of Indonesia said that under the Group of 20 presidency, his country is prioritizing the green economy and blue economy through low carbon development and aims to develop a Group of 20 road map for stronger recovery and resilience in developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing States to foster economic growth and create green and blue jobs.  Among other initiatives, it has also adopted a low-carbon and climate-resilient development to help transition to net-zero emissions.

The representative of Azerbaijan said that by providing an enabling and predictable environment her country has managed to attract $280 billion in private sector investments in the energy sector alone.  Its energy policy has been transparent and open, allowing it to establish long-term cooperation with consumer countries and energy companies.  By being a supporter and enabler of projects, Azerbaijan has contributed to the diversification of gas sources and supply routes to the European Union.  While being a hydro-carbon exporting country, it is gradually mainstreaming sustainable energy in its development agenda to make the transition to a green and circular economy.

Panel II

The forum then held a panel on “Digital transition:  opportunities and risks”.  Opening with a keynote address by Kalina Konstantinova, Deputy Prime Minister for Good Governance of Bulgaria, it was moderated by Cathy Mulligan, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Lisbon and member of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel for Digital Cooperation.  The featured panellists were Jonathan Titus-Williams, Deputy Minister for Planning and Economic Development of Sierra Leone; Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore; Costas Stephanou, Head of Financial Stability Analysis at the Financial Stability Board; and David Roos, Deputy Head of the Sector Programme Digital Development of GIZ (virtual), with lead discussant Anita Gurumurthy, Founding Member and Executive Director of IT for Change.

Ms. KONSTANTINOVA said that the pandemic has set digitalization as a horizonal priority both in the public sector and for the business environment.  It boosted the development of new e-services and digitalization measures in a number of key sectors in support of the efforts to preserve citizens health and social inclusion and to help endangered businesses.  “Investing in digitalization is now considered as the next sustainable investment opportunity,” she said.  Bulgaria’s reform efforts are aimed at developing a full-fledged research and innovation ecosystem and moving the country into the category of moderate innovators.  Investments are aimed at transforming the economy and addressing the challenges of the digital and green tradition.  While the digital transition offers numerous opportunities, it also carries serious risks related to cybersecurity, data leaks, data privacy, misinformation and disinformation.  It is essential that adequate measures are adopted to mitigate the negative effects.  Investing in digital skills programmes is crucial, as well as strengthening data privacy and protection.  No country can do this alone, and close cooperation among States and stakeholders is essential, she said.

Mr. TITUS-WILLIAMS noted the digital divide remains:  of a global population of 7.8 billion, only 4.9 billion people are connected to Internet, and of the 2.9 billion people offline, 96 per cent live in least developed countries — mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.  The lack of highspeed connections persists in the developing world, with achieving access to broadband being a capital challenge, with nearly $450 billion needed to connect the global offline population and $100 billion required by sub-Saharan Africa alone for its 1.1 billion people offline.  That infrastructure gap is estimated to reach $1 trillion by 2040, he said.

When commercial credit is readily available, he noted it is expensive, and access to hardware remains a challenge in many markets.  While Internet service providers increasingly look to rural areas for growth, those regions are usually of low business density and therefore less profitable than cities.  In Sierra Leone, he noted the potential penetration of the system by money-laundering and terrorist financing actors, given the weak capability to track them online.  The digital sphere therefore becomes a safe haven for rogue actors, requiring additional investment.  He cited the solution of demanding by law that financial institutions and regulatory financial service providers do due diligence to identify their customers.  He also cited the barrier of limited liquidity in e-mobile systems.

Mr. MOHANTY said that for a country to be successful in the digital economy, it must have four foundational digital infrastructure elements.  A responsible and inclusive digital identity platform is the starting point for any digital economy to succeed.  It establishes confidence and trust at both ends of the interaction, enabling public and private services across different sectors, and promotes inclusion.  The platform could be centralized or decentralized and could be provided by the public or private sector, depending on the country’s construct, as well as its institutional and legal framework, digital literacy, culture and attitude towards issues such as privacy and security.  Also needed is a strong and credible authorization of consent service because it fosters strong public confidence in digital transactions.  The service must be secure and fair to facilitate people’s consent to use of their digital data on the network.  The way in which money will be moved in the network must also be addressed, including payments across different accounts, businesses, and countries and jurisdictions.  Also critical is a trusted data exchange as individuals and businesses must be able to digitally access relevant data and make it available to third party service providers who can serve them in a holistic manner.  All these elements must come together to ensure an inclusive, affordable digital economy based on innovation and fairness.

Mr. STEPHANOU said work on crypto assets has moved up as a priority for his organization, as such assets are fast evolving and could present a threat to global financial stability.  Crypto asset use is prevalent in some emerging markets and could help with financial inclusion.  It is not clear whether the current uses of crypto assets are including those that were previously financially excluded, he said, noting that users are generally young and wealthy.  Crypto assets do not possess the safeguards or basic investor protections that are present in other institutions.  Wide use of such assets may present risks in emerging markets.  It is important that the crypto sector is properly regulated.  On opportunities to improve the payment system, he said that his organization has published a road map that has been endorsed by the G20 to make cross-border payments faster and more inclusive, including wholesale and retail as well as remittances.  The road map also contains a wide range of measures to improve current methods.

Mr. ROOS cited the vision of an inclusive and human digital infrastructure — a third way in contrast with the market-centred or State-centred approaches in the geopolitical context.  Digital public infrastructure systems, he noted are the backbone of public service deliverability and often rely on open-source digital public goods.  Without additional financial and technical support, lower- or middle-income countries may implement low-quality or poorly governed infrastructure that entail significant risks including cyberattacks, leaks of personal information and human rights abuses.  He noted that there are 1 billion people worldwide with no personal identity documents, almost half of them in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He said donors have a unique opportunity to ensure that digital public infrastructure is inclusive, secure and protects privacy and human rights.  However, despite the number of donor-funded projects, there remains a gap in funding to implement digital public infrastructure at scale.  It is crucial to mobilize resources and break silos, he said, as it is estimated that $400 million is required annually to build digital public infrastructure in the poorest countries.  Not only is new funding needed, but it must be restructured, with a new model based on digital public goods.  Good infrastructure, he stressed, requires different capabilities from other systems and infrastructure, offering a great opportunity for Governments.

Ms. GURUMURTHY said the role of public finance in the struggle for global digital justice is non-negotiable and calls for an urgent increase to ODA even if private sector contributions may be pooled into public funds where necessary.  The Secretary-General’s proposal for a digital development tax would be vital in that regard.  Also needed urgently is a bold data governance framework for the digital commons as the absence of a global data governance framework is poised to lead to a catastrophic situation where the dominant countries and their corporations impose digital data standards on the rest of the world.  The twenty-first century injustice is about tax sovereignty for some and a destiny of dependence for the rest of the world.  The resource allocation debate in the digital arena is not only about demands in mechanisms but also sovereign parity in data rules.

Ms. WIDYASANTI said that the pandemic has forced more adoptive practices.  There are inequalities in access to network infrastructure and information, and these are factors that pose a challenge.  Ensuring equal access to a digital transition should be seen as a way to eliminate inequality.  In terms of providing better access, work must continue on the creation of better connectivity across Indonesia, she said, noting that all stakeholders should be encouraged to play a more active role in this regard.  Building infrastructure means increasing demand for components.  Indonesia has put digital transformation as a priority in its national agenda, she said.

The representative of the Sisters of Charity Federation, speaking on behalf of the Non-Governmental Organization Committee on Financing for Development, said the digital divide in the developing world remains high due to cultural, financial and skill-related barriers.  It is crucial to invest in digital infrastructure to ensure universal access, in human capital, and enforce policies and cybersecurity to end online harassment, especially of women and girls.

Mr. TITUS-WILLIAMS said his country’s central bank is closely following developments in crypto assets around the world, noting that those assets are not yet officially introduced in its financial system.

Mr. MOHANTY said that migrant workers are sending remittances more frequently, going up from every month to every week.  Central banks need to come together and solve the complexity of moving money from one jurisdiction to other jurisdictions.  This issue needs to be looked at to improve financial inclusion and change the cost of such transfers to less than a dollar.

Mr. ROOS said barriers for financial solutions and creating investment include the standard model of digital infrastructure investment, which involves proprietary technology and can be expensive and lock countries into service with one or a few vendors.  He called for drawing on infrastructure that is locally adaptable, open-sourced and scalable within and across borders.

General Debate

The representative of Finland said that, to support the climate efforts of developing States, her country’s international climate finance will increase nearly two-fold during the current term compared to the prior term.  It is also actively engaging with the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action.  Noting that blended finance is one promising vehicle to increase financing for sustainable development, she said Finland is exploring how it can best mobilize private sector financing and boost business activities, particularly in poorer countries and countries most affected by climate change.  As well, taxation can serve as an effective tool for environmental and climate policy, with well-designed taxation reducing inequalities and enhancing opportunities for women.  Capacity‑sharing to build reliable, fair and effective tax systems is essential in that regard.  Finland is committed to the Addis Tax Initiative targets, as indicated in its Taxation for Development Action Programme, she said.

The representative of Ghana said that the world is at a critical point in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The global health crisis has led to a planet in peril.  The multilateral framework needs to be overhauled if the world is to make up lost ground.  The pandemic triggered an intensified risk of debt distress.  The ability of countries to finance debt response has been impacted.  The global financial system must be reformed.  There is the need to promote trade as a pathway to recovery from the pandemic.  Global efforts to reach the Sustainable Development Goals are off‑target and the 2030 Agenda needs to be rescued, he said.

ANDRY VELOMIADANA BEARISON RAMANAMPANOHARANA, Secretary General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Madagascar, associating himself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said all resources of financing for development must be aligned with national priorities.  Calling for access to concessional finance for disaster risk reduction and climate action, he further noted that developing countries carry unsustainable external debt burdens, urging creditors to provide adequate solutions.  Mobilizing domestic resources and fighting illicit financial flows remain essentials, within a framework of international tax cooperation, he said, further citing the importance of the principle of special treatment for developing countries on trade.

The representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, said the climate crisis furthers adds to inequalities across countries and societies.  As such, resources are needed for a green, inclusive and just recovery, as well as a digital transformation that leaves no one behind.  “Team Europe” has shown strong leadership in promoting a global green, inclusive and resilient recovery.  Through its global gateway strategy, the bloc is committed to stepping up efforts in development strategy projects with transformational impact in infrastructure, promoting a values-based and human-centric development model.  As Team Europe works to put in place bold risk-sharing instruments to mobilize private investments for sustainable development, further steps are needed to match the supply of vaccines and essential medical products with the demand of developing countries.  European Union member States were collectively the world’s leading donor of official development assistance (ODA) in 2021, providing 43 per cent of global ODA, and have also supported debt relief for the poorest and most vulnerable countries, he said.

The representative of Lebanon said the world is still facing challenges related to vaccine access, education and climate change.  Noting the slow and uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic around the globe, she said the international community must act with determination and address the matter with a variety of actions.  For example, Governments need to protect the right to food and keep markets open.  She welcomed the Secretary-General’s initiative to establish a crisis response group, as well as the call for action on global food security by the World Health Organization (WHO) and others.  There is a pressing need to address the current financial global architecture and place vulnerable people at its core, she added.

The representative of Bolivia, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said it is crucial to structurally confront the debt crisis of developing countries, and address the unfulfilled financing commitments of developed nations.  Debt relief can only be achieved by reforming the global financial architecture, with States working together to strengthen tax‑collection systems and eliminate international tax‑evasion mechanisms and tax havens, which facilitate the concentration of wealth and deepen global inequalities.  He reaffirmed that the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, noting that both should be applied to climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as to financing commitments — which must be honoured in proportion to the historic responsibilities of each country.  Bolivia has made progress over 14 years on all levels, but with eight years left to make the 2030 Agenda a reality, the international community must step up efforts on all fronts, he said.

The representative of Kazakhstan, associating himself with the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said deteriorating financial conditions, debt vulnerability, climate change and the escalation of geopolitical tensions could disrupt many countries’ development prospects, resulting in further insolvency, decreased infrastructure investments, economic contraction and rising unemployment.  Noting the increasing financing gap with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals, he called for the restructuring of the global financial system and its associated institutions to make them more responsive to the interests of developing States.  Also needed is domestic reform for improved predictability and stability of funding besides ODA.  He also underlined the importance of mobilizing the private sector, foundations and non-profits for new opportunities and innovative solutions, adding that funding must be complemented by good policies and credible institutions with clear, transparent and accountable approaches.

JULIO MORAIS (Cabo Verde), associating with the “Group of 77” and China, African Group and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that the urgency in accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals remains critical.  The world has witnessed the aggravation of the global economic outlook.  The COVID-19 pandemic crisis — alongside the energy and environmental crises — has exacerbated the structural constraints and vulnerabilities of developing countries.  In addition, The unfolding war in Ukraine has triggered inflationary waves on global energy and grain markets and invalidated progress made to stay on track with the Sustainable Development Goals.  The war also risks generating a refocus of development resources allocated worldwide.  He expressed his hope that there is not a worldwide geopolitical-induced escalation in defence budgets, taking needed development resources away from those in dire need.

The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the small size of Caribbean countries, their vulnerability to external shocks and their high levels of import dependence mean pandemic recovery will require multilateral support.  Development finance is an indispensable linchpin for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, he said, noting that most small island developing States lack the monetary, fiscal and administrative capacities to respond on their own.  Developed countries responded to the pandemic by borrowing huge sums at ultra-low interest rates, while developing countries were forced to spend billions servicing debt — with some of them spending close to 4 per cent of GDP in pandemic response.  In that context, he looked forward to progress on the debt-for-climate adaptation swap initiative proposed by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).  He also cited the pernicious impact of graduation status on small island developing States and middle-income countries in general, which forces them to access more volatile non-concessional markets.

SOVANN KE (Cambodia) said his country is beginning to reopen its economy as the country has achieved almost full vaccination against COVID-19.  According to the Asian Development Bank forecast, Cambodia’s economy is expected to grow 5.3 per cent in 2022 and 6.5 per cent in 2023.  Although that is encouraging, many efforts and resources are still required to get the economy back to the pre-pandemic levels and stimulate development.  In terms of fiscal policy, Cambodia prioritizes strengthening budget efficiency, improving tax administration and tax policy revision, and strengthening the fundamental diversification of revenue collection to ensure public financial sustainability.  It is also prioritizing efforts to boost green financing initiatives, which will improve its adaptation capacity and resilience to climate change impacts.  Meanwhile, secured and adequate financing for implementation of the 2030 Agenda is needed to achieve the set targets and ensure that no one is left behind.

The representative of the Netherlands, associating herself with the European Union, said that the problem of unsustainable debt has further worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequence economic crisis, as well as the invasion of Ukraine and the resulting rise in food prices.  To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the world needs to combat the rising debt crisis.  Taxation is the most important source of finance for all countries, she said, stressing that working together with partners to increase domestic resources is essential for the long-term financing of public goods, such as health care and education.  Overseas development aid remains important for achieving the Goals, especially for the most vulnerable countries.  Noting that the limited budget for addressing the world’s challenges is now spread thinly, she called urgently for reduced fragmentation and better alignment.

The representative of Iran, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said it is undeniable that COVID-19 and unilateralism have substantially added to the financial difficulties and burdens of developing countries, which must now devote their scarce development resources to addressing the repercussions of the pandemic.  Meanwhile, some countries — including Iran — are also dealing with the grave consequence of illegal unilateral sanctions imposed by countries who claim to be the champions of human rights.  The embargo policies by some major players have cast doubt on the effectiveness of multilateral financing and trading systems, he said, urging the international community to ensure that the those systems, as well as financing for development, do not become hostages to illegal unilateral agendas.  Noting the right of every sovereign State to be part of an inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, he pointed out that Iran has long been denied membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), which itself is now a target of harsh unilateral behaviour.

The representative of Burkina Faso, associating himself with the African Group, Group of Least Developed Countries, Group of 77 and China and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that, over the last two decades his country has established several national development benchmarks focused on combating poverty and grounded in the international development agenda.  Its ambition for the coming years is to restore peace and security, strengthen resilience and structurally transform the economy to ensure strong, inclusive and lasting growth.  The security crisis in Burkina Faso has spread, causing significant loss of human life, as well as material damage.  That led to an increase in the number of internally displaced persons, which now constitute 8.2 per cent of the national population.  Meanwhile, the rising number of internally displaced persons has led to growing needs in food, shelter and survival equipment, education, health, nutrition, drinking water, hygiene, sanitation and protection.  Noting that the current international atmosphere is hindering his Government’s development initiatives, he called upon partners to support the fight against terrorism and help the country restore its territorial integrity.

The representative of Bangladesh said that recovery from the pandemic seems distant and poverty and hunger are on the rise, while the impacts of climate change continue to ravage communities.  Bangladesh tackled the pandemic by strengthening social protections and giving cash assistance to more than 40 million people, and a stimulus package was rolled out.  Yet, the challenges remain daunting.  The world will never win the fight against the pandemic unless universal vaccination can be achieved.  It is imperative to close the vaccine gap by providing adequate financing and resources.  The pandemic has put many countries in debt distress and only short-term respite has been given.  A comprehensive measure is needed to address this issue and private creditors should also be part of the solution, she said.

The representative of Viet Nam, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said it is high time for the international community to promote financing for development.  It is essential to implement policies that enhance infrastructure, as well as socioeconomic and cultural development, while fostering State administrative capacity and developing high-quality human resources and responses to climate change.  He added that it is critical to seize the potential of new technologies and innovation in digitalization, and to apply the results of the fourth industrial revolution to create new tools, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data and virtual augmented reality.  He also joined other speakers in calling on developed countries to fulfil their ODA commitments, as well as their $100 billion commitment for climate finding.

The representative of South Africa, associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said recovery from the COVID-19 crisis has so far been uneven; advanced economies have rebounded while many of the poorest countries are left behind.  Calling for a more inclusive model, she also said it is critical to acknowledge the existence of broader systemic problems in financing climate change and Sustainable Development Goals.  “Nothing short of an overhaul of the entire international financial architecture will suffice,” she stressed.  Meanwhile, the cost of finance for developing countries remains a major challenge, with developing countries paying approximately five times more annually in principal repayments and almost double in interest on an overall external debt.  Welcoming efforts by the Group of 20 and others in that regard, she urged even bolder efforts, including debt treatments on favourable terms and access to scaled-up levels of new, additional and predictable grants and concessional financing.  In addition, she called for measures to tackle illicit financial flows, which are hindering a resilient recovery.

The representative of Nicaragua said that financing for development has a fundamental role to play in achieving equality within and between nations, as well as in terms of access to clean water, food and housing.  Financing for development will make it possible to use resources to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and to make a lasting impact on education and health care.  In addition to ODA, developing nations also require emergency financing that is easily released in an emergency situation.  He urged countries applying unilateral coercive measures to cease and desist, adding that debt measures for developing countries also should be forgiven, at least for the last four years, as this will avoid a protracted “domino effect” of sovereign debt default.

The representative of Brazil, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, agreed with the assessment by some speakers that a “perfect storm” is taking shape for the global economy.  Fuel and food prices have particularly strong societal impacts and may increase social unrest and political instability, and the conflict in Ukraine, as well as associated sanctions, have put further pressure on the prices of energy, grains and fertilizer.  “In this context, it is more important than ever that we seek coordinated action in order to avoid a deepening of the crisis,” he said, adding that the current shortages in goods and services may provide an opportunity for the diversification of the world’s productive base and the inclusion of more developing countries in the world’s global supply chains.  There is also a need to further expand the developing world’s productive capacity to make vaccines, medical supplies, agricultural products and industrial goods, he said, noting that Brazil is working to ramp up its own agricultural production while also combating climate change.

YOSEPH KASSAYE (Ethiopia) said the financial gap caused by the pandemic has brought enormous challenges, particularly to the world’s collective commitment to “leave no one behind” in implementing the 2030 Agenda.  “The global South is further poised to reel from geopolitical tensions, the effect of which has led to sky‑rocketing commodity prices and financial market volatility,” he said.  In the face of many challenges, Ethiopia is implementing a broad economic reform agenda with the aim of addressing macroeconomic challenges, sustaining development gains and achieving national growth and development objectives.  Outlining some of those, he cited its Ten-Year National Development Plan, efforts in tax reform and a new public-private partnership business model, which aims to tap into the potential of the private sector to invest in the energy and telecom sectors, among others.  However, debt sustainability requires a holistic approach if countries are to bounce back from the pandemic and achieve macroeconomic stability, he said.

The representative of the Republic of Korea, also associating herself with Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia, said the digital divide within and among countries is a cause for concern, as it will surely become exponential.  The priorities should be providing the elderly and vulnerable with retraining for and access to the benefits of digitalization.  Given the Republic of Korea witnessed first-hand the boost provided by rapid digitalization, it will spare no effort to narrowing the divide.  She noted that workers in emerging sectors — so-called platform economy workers — are often not adequately supported by traditional social protection approaches, calling for more innovative tailored models.  She called on the international community to strive to make developmental cooperation more effective, efficient and impactful.

The representative of Iraq, associating with the “Group of 77” and China, said the Government is activating foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to invest in infrastructure, guaranteeing technology transfer and social protection, and rendering institutions more transparent.  Challenges for developing countries include economic recovery from the pandemic and problems linked to climate change.  A fair global economy and an equitable global trading system are needed.  As the pandemic has pushed many developing countries off track from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, he called for the creation of an enabling financial environment that would allow these countries to come back on track.

The representative of Liechtenstein said environmental, social and corporate governance criteria have the potential to reverse destructive trends such as climate change and social injustice by upholding corporate responsibility and creating new pathways for investment.  Recent activities by private sector actors directed at the Russian Federation as a result of its aggression against Ukraine represent a welcome step in that direction.  Yet, those initiatives must be applied more systematically and consistently globally, including with regards to human rights violations.  He cited the obvious example of human trafficking and modern slavery — one of the biggest human rights scandals of our times.  They are both cause and consequence of economic inequality, he noted, generating $2 billion in revenue annually worldwide.  He cited Liechtenstein’s Finance against Slavery and Trafficking initiative, which places financial institutions at the heart of the fight against that scourge.

The representative of Nigeria, associating with the “Group of 77” and China and the African Group, said that the pandemic has exposed further deficiencies in development models.  Prior to the pandemic, the global economy was already impacted by a number of factors, including debt.  The pandemic has further compelled Governments in developing countries to make hard choices.  Concrete policies must be implemented, as outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  Illicit financial flows must be combated, as they strain the ability of developing countries to sustain development.  Promoting investment in quality infrastructure is essential for an effective recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

JOANNA SKOCZEK (Poland) said the forum is taking place as COVID-19 continues to cause disruptions, climate change is driving human suffering and the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine risks having serious consequences for global food and energy security.  Promoting long-term and innovative financing is crucial for sustainable development and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as is scaled-up sustainable financing for developing countries.  Poland supports the European Union’s Global Gateway, which aims to connect the bloc with partner countries through sustainable investment infrastructure projects.  As well, as stated in the 2022 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, policymakers should respond to infrastructure needs with a systemic approach, not on a project-by-project basis.  Citing the central European “Three Seas Initiative” in that regard, she added that, to meet the environmental goals of the Paris Agreement or the 2030 Agenda, Europe will need additional investment of €350 billion annually, which will also require the engagement of the private sector.

The representative of Belgium, associating himself with the European Union, said the pandemic and the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine have plunged countries into insecurity, with the political, economic and social outlook for 2022 being unstable.  Calling for safe and quality vaccines, he noted Belgium contributes to that cause bilaterally and through the COVAX Facility.  Strong social protection systems have proven to be the best insurance policy against the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, he said, and social protections are a socioeconomic stabilizer, representing an investment in a better future.  Developed countries have a duty to mobilize international financial support to developing countries in light of multiple crises, to help them improve their fiscal space and to consider reform of the international architecture for sovereign debt resolution.

The representative of Morocco, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said achieving vaccine equity is vital for resilience and an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Describing the current crisis as an opportunity to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, he said it is time to trust the ability of innovative finance strategies to pay for development projects.  Morocco has leveraged environmentally friendly investments and international partnerships in different sectors such as infrastructure, transport, health and agriculture.  He also stressed that it is high time to think and act beyond gross domestic product (GDP) criteria, in order to better finance development.  In that vein, he called for more efforts to scale up approaches to help developing countries access sources of financing.

The representative of India said global inflationary pressure is rising due to global commodity costs and limited fiscal space, as well as low consumer confidence and investor appetite.  It is crucial to balance near-term recovery and long-term growth, and strengthen technology transfer, he said, with sustainable financing — not innovative accounting.  He noted many low- and middle-income countries are being pushed into debt traps, and therefore deliberations in the forum must remain focused.  Investment must follow the principles of viability to avoid creating projects that further push debt burdens on developing countries.  Transparency and respect for sovereignty are crucial, as is meeting the commitment of $100 billion on climate financing, which has still not happened in 2022.

The representative of Chile, associating herself with the Group of 77 and China and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said the crisis caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for the economies of developing countries.  Stressing that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda — and must remain the road map for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals — she also called for strengthened capacities in order to prepare for future global health crises.  It is highly likely that the goal to vaccinate 70 per cent of the world’s population by the middle of 2022 will not be met, she said, pointing out that both restrictions on movement and disruptions in trade logistics have led to a spike in costs.  Against that backdrop, a new consensus for development cooperation needs to be found in line with the paradigm of the 2030 Agenda and the need to not leave anyone behind, she said.

MUHAMMED ENES USLU (Turkey) said COVID-19 has already pushed many developing countries backwards in their efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  At this critical juncture, collective efforts are needed, as are stronger global institutions and new, large-scale financial resources.  In 2021, Turkey exceeded the United Nations desired ODA commitment levels, devoting 0.95 per cent of its gross national income to development assistance.  Underlining the importance of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the agreed Common Framework as top priorities, he said taxation remains an important source of financing for sustainable development.  “A fair international tax structure is needed for all countries,” he said, advocating for the Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalization of the Economy in that regard.  He also called for continued efforts to keep global warming well below 2° Celsius, noting that such a goal will not be within reach unless net-zero transitions are at the heart of the global climate action.

The representative of Algeria, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said illicit financial flows hinder economic development in developing countries and mobilize their resources, calling on the international community to help combat but also facilitate asset return.  Countries are showing signs of debt distress, he said, noting initiatives under the auspices the United Nations, as well as by the IMF and G20, calling for advanced discussion on transparency and responsible lending.  Citing the importance of digital technology transfer for developing countries, he also called for the international community to recognize the importance of concessional financing, urging developed countries to meet their ODA commitments as bolder steps are required to meet the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The observer for the Holy See said today’s discussions speak to the severe setbacks inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2030 Agenda, particularly for developing countries.  Debt reduction and forgiveness should be considered anew by lending States on a greater scale than before, as debt impacts the ability of developing countries to respond to emergencies.  Stressing that the concrete and specific needs of developing countries should be the primary guidance for financing for development plans, he said preventing and combating illicit financial flows must remain among the priorities of the international community.

The observer for the International Anti-Corruption Academy said the pandemic once again revealed that “corruption thrives in a crisis”, with the equivalent of $3 million paid every minute as a bribe worldwide.  The absence of effective mechanisms to secure the return of stolen assets has led to the parking of $7 trillion in safe havens, illustrating the appalling magnitude of stolen funds, and massive drain on resources which greatly undermine development progress.  He noted the special session of the United Nations General Assembly against Corruption adopted the Political Declaration as a blueprint to help countries tackle corruption — in particular, highlighting the importance of anti-corruption education and training as a key driver of change to build a culture of integrity and provide the basis for a corruption-free society.  The Academy, he said, has a dual role as an international organization and an institute of higher learning, and has been fighting corruption for over a decade.

The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said that agriculture is one of the most powerful tools to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  A high performing agricultural system is a solution to tackle world hunger.  However, the system today is not currently inclusive or sustainable.  Transforming food systems require the reorientation of Government expenditure on food systems towards public goods to provide access to healthy lives for all.  Green, inclusive finance has a fundamental role to play to support small-scale actors living in situations of vulnerability.  FAO is ready to work together with other stakeholders to finance an agricultural transformation, he said.

The representative of the NGO Society for International Development, speaking on behalf of the Civil Society for Financing for Development Group and the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development, said it was unconscionable that despite the manifold crises at hand, documents remain filled with rhetoric and no action.  The world cannot afford to stick to business as usual and the lowest common denominator of past agreed language.  Despite calls for a United Nations multilateral framework that would address unsustainable and illegitimate debt, a universal United Nations tax convention, and other debt and credit reforms, those mandates do not exist.  She called for a new ministerial financing for development conference, allowing civil society organizations to demand all Governments to agree on much greater action.  Every country has the right to sit at the decision-making table, she stressed — not only those with concentrated power and resources.

LIU ZHENMIN, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that the discussions have been insightful and illuminating and he is encouraged by the sense of collective responsibly to finance the 2030 Agenda.  At the start of 2022, there had been significant progress on vaccination and the pandemic on the back foot.  It was thought that the worst was over and it was projected that the world economy would grow by 4 per cent in 2022 and 3.5 per cent in 2023.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank forecasted similar growth.  Unfortunately, much has changed since February 2022.  In the near term, global growth prospects remain fragile.  The pandemic — along with the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine — threaten to undermine hard-won gains.  Food and fuel prices are on the rise.  Geopolitical tensions have further exacerbated the crisis.  To recover, efforts must be redoubled through targeted and coordinated policies and united efforts.  Financing will need to be scaled up to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

He noted with encouragement the outcome document about to be adopted, stressing that the international community must build greater resilience in the global health architecture.  It needs to mobilize and scale up financial resources to help countries build economies that are sustainable, inclusive and resilient.  Taxation is a crucial tool to help achieve this.  Against this backdrop, mechanisms to bolster tax systems must be prioritized.  The global financial system must include actions to improve the global debt architecture, he said.

Action

The representative of Grenada introduced the draft outcome document “Follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document E/FFDF/2022/L.1), saying the co-facilitators endeavoured to listen to all and deliver a balanced and forward-looking outcome.  The document reflects diverse perspectives that together advance the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, with the backdrop of tightening financial conditions and inflation reducing already constrained fiscal space.  “The economic outlook is, regrettably, darkening,” she stressed.  However, she noted the needle had been moved, with recommendations on social protection, the multidimensional vulnerability index on small island developing States, and debt treatments — all of which break new ground on the most salient development issues.  It is now imperative that the outcome document drive political momentum for action, she said.

The representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that the bloc joined consensus; however, its position on paragraph 7 requires clarification in that any extension of social protection should take into account national circumstances.  During negotiations, the Group consistently proposed language on differentiated responsibilities in paragraph 9, which is part of the United Nations framework on climate change; however, it was not included.  He similarly expressed regret that the Group’s inputs on paragraphs 10 and 44 were not incorporated.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating himself with the Group of 77, expressed concern over weakened language on climate change in paragraph 9, calling it a missed opportunity.  He also expressed disappointment that a reference to “result-based payments” was omitted from paragraph 10.  In paragraph 35, while noting the inclusion of a reference to the multidimensional vulnerability index, he said the language should have been better targeted towards international financial institutions.  He further noted that the important work of Inter-Agency Task Force was not accurately captured in paragraph 55.  The last-minute compromise text was a departure from ambition, he said.

The representative of El Salvador, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said that his delegation firmly expressed its position on language in the outcome document.  It should take into account different opinions on digital assets.  He recognizes the importance of greater research, capacity-building and knowledge exchange on technological development, which has become ever more present in the global financial system.  The digitization of the economy has fostered greater economic development and inclusion.  Digitization has also been vital in the promotion of investment in the tourist sector and other key sectors.  He expressed his regret that paragraph 60 does not reflect the proposal made by the Group of 77 based on language agreed upon in the outcome document of 2021.

The Council then adopted the document “Draft intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations submitted by the President of the Economic and Social Council, Collen Vixen Kelapile (Botswana), on the basis of informal consultations” (document E/FFDF/2022/L.1) without a vote.

The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, speaking after the adoption, said the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine grossly violates the Charter of the United Nations, further deteriorating the global situation and harming the most vulnerable.  “There can be no development without peace and the rule of law,” he said.  He expressed support for the reference to the multidimensional vulnerability index, citing the link to access to concessional financing, and the importance of debt transparency.  He thanked the Inter-Agency Task Force for its report and recognition of the importance of blockchains and the opportunities and challenges represented by digitalization, also noting strong texts on gender equality, human rights and elderly and vulnerable people.

The representative Colombia, speaking on behalf of the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries and in explanation of position, recognized the balanced approach taken by the co-facilitators.  Although progress was made on relevant topics, further work is needed to ensure access to sustainable finance for all developing countries.  On paragraph 34, he expressed regret that Member States were unable to recognize the need to develop system-wide indicators of progress that go beyond GDP.  On paragraph 35, he expressed concern that the text does not recognize the importance of the outcome of the High-Level Panel of Experts.

The representative of Canada, also speaking for Australia and New Zealand, welcomed the adoption of the outcome document as a demonstration of shared commitment to scaling up efforts towards the full and timely implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The challenging global economic environment will be disproportionately felt by women and girls, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and refugees.  She recognized the importance of addressing the diverse needs and challenges faced by countries in special situations, which experience a vicious cycle of high vulnerability, particularly to climate shocks and other disasters.  She welcomed the work of the High-Level Panel of Experts to finalize a multidimensional vulnerability index for small island developing States.

The representative of China said developed countries should deliver on their ODA commitments.  Within the framework of South-South cooperation, China is providing assistance to developing countries to fight the pandemic and foster recovery.  It has provided debt-relief support on a case-by-case basis.  China is ready to work with all parties to implement the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, in line with the principle of equitable burden sharing.  President Xi Jinping proposed a global initiative during the General Assembly in 2021 with financing for development as one of its key areas, he said.

The representative of the Russian Federation said the outcome document was balanced.  However, he expressed regret that Member States had not recognized the progressive nature of the outcome document of the fifteenth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as his delegation’s proposals were not taken on.  He further did not support the inclusion of non-agreed language on cybersecurity in paragraph 63.  The Russian Federation is a responsible participant in global food and energy markets, he noted, and is concerned over the possibility of a deepening structural crisis threatening food security.  Abolishing unilateral measures would reduce tensions around transport and logistical issues, he said.

The representative of Iran, associating himself with the Group of 77, said that his delegation has joined consensus on the outcome document, but in any document on sustainable development, there should be a reference from the 2030 Agenda in which all States are urged from promulgating any unilateral measures that are not in line with the Charter of the United Nations and that impede development, particularly in developing countries.

The representative of Hungary, associating herself with the European Union, said her delegation affirms that the causes of migration must be tackled at the root to help people remain in their homes.  Noting that paragraph 7 could have made more general reference to marginalized groups, as some groups may have been omitted, her delegation disassociated from it.

The representative of the Philippines, speaking in explanation of vote, said that in general, her delegation is pleased with the text of the outcome document.  She welcomed the recognition in the text of the specific challenges of middle-income countries.  The ongoing logistics disruptions brought about by the pandemic continue to delay the flow of consumer goods.  The financing for sustainable development report illustrates that the cost of international trade remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.  Underscoring that paragraph 44 notes the ongoing disruption in trade logistics, it is regrettable that the paragraph excludes recognition of the challenges faced by middle-income countries in this regard.  The Philippines disassociates from paragraph 44 as it does not reflect agreed language.

The representative of Japan said his delegation welcomed reference to the new indicator 17.3.1 under Sustainable Development Goal 17 in paragraph 37, but expressed regret that the reference to “total offshore support for sustainable development” as it has not been substantially upgraded relative to last year’s outcome document and does not reflect progress made since then.

The representative of the United Kingdom said that the international community recognizes the essential role that financing for development can play in the realization of the 2030 Agenda.  Recovery from the pandemic must not load the balance sheets of Member States with unmanageable levels of debt.  In terms of pandemic recovery, vaccination is key and her Government is committed to working with the COVAX Facility in this regard, to ensure that vaccines reach fragile and conflict-affected situations so that no one is left behind.  The consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine have hit vulnerable partners, as well as supply chains.  Immunization is key, and her Government is committed to working with COVAX to see that vaccines reach vulnerable and conflict-affected situations so that no one is left behind.

The representative of the United States said his delegation joined consensus, noting that the world’s financial infrastructure has responded to the pandemic:  total multinational development bank lending rose by 34 per cent in 2020, the Debt Service Suspension Initiative has provided fiscal space and ODA has reached new levels for two years in a row.  The Russian Federation’s unjustified and unprovoked war on Ukraine in violation of international law has compounded inflationary pressures and disrupted food and fertilize markets, he said.

The Council then took up its “Draft report” (document E/FFDF/2022/L.2), which was adopted without a vote.

In his closing remarks, Mr. KELAPILE said that the forum had “highlighted beyond any doubt the urgent hardships we face in financing the Sustainable Development Goals”.  The world has changed significantly since the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and 2030 Agenda were adopted in 2015, while the substantial Sustainable Development Goals financing gap that existed before the pandemic is now wider than ever.  The spillover effects from the war in Ukraine, compounded by climate change and the lingering effects of the pandemic, are being felt by the most vulnerable countries and segments of society just as fiscal space has been depleted.

The numerous and growing obstacles to financing sustainable development in the global environment should strengthen the international community’s resolve, he said.  Global financial resources are sufficient.  In the current environment of extremely limited fiscal space, grants and highly concessional finance will need to play a stronger role.  In the midst of the pandemic, calls for international cooperation to promote vaccine equity are another key pillar of global solidarity.  In small island developing States, climate-related shocks are compounding debt challenges.  They require additional support by ensuring they are eligible for concessional finance, climate finance and debt relief initiatives.  Furthermore, the deployment of digital technologies can positively contribute to development if universal and affordable Internet access is ensured by enhancing investment in digital infrastructure, digital skills training and digital literacy.  “Make no mistake.  The situation is dire.  Although we have reached the end of the forum, our work has just begun”, he said.

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