People and the planet need strong action from UN financing conference
The Third International Conference on Financing for Development is one in a series of pivotal UN meetings in 2015 that will address challenges associated with sustainable development and climate change. To be successful, the conference needs to shift from business-as-usual to a sustainable development approach that supports human well-being and a healthy environment for all.
“Resilient economies can only be created by supporting people and ecosystems through a change in mindset,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. “New finance for development and climate must be delivered transparently. Funding mechanisms need to prioritize low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sound development solutions that respect human rights.”
A recent report from the world's development banks estimates that financing a new set of Sustainable Development Goals will require a move from the billions of dollars committed as official development assistance, to the mobilization of trillions of dollars annually. Governments need to lead by providing additional public funds, but multilateral development banks, national banks and the private sector must all contribute. All investments and financial flows, including development finance, need to be transparent and promote sustainability.
“Sustainable development means creating better lives for all within the boundaries that allow nature to provide the services and regenerate the resources we need to survive. This means developing socially and economically while preserving the integrity and diversity of the natural environment. There can be no prosperous future on a planet that is ransacked,” said Lambertini. “In order to support the Sustainable Development Goals and a new climate deal to be agreed in Paris later this year, countries need to meet existing commitments, including to mobilize US$100 billion in annual climate finance by 2020, without diverting existing aid. This is a bargain when compared to the cost of inaction.”
Governments also need to end fossil fuel subsidies and other environmentally harmful subsidies to free resources to help make the transition toward investments in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and sustainable fisheries. This should be done with mechanisms to minimize adverse effects on poor and disadvantaged communities.
Both climate finance and official development assistance unrelated to climate need to be tracked transparently to prevent double counting and ensure that both streams are increasing in real terms.
“It shouldn't be lost that this conference is taking place in Africa – a continent that suffers disproportionately from the impacts of globalisation and climate change,” said Fred Kumah, Director of WWF's Regional Office for Africa. “Human well-being depends on clean water, arable land, food security and access to energy. Countries must commit to providing these basic needs while putting all people on the path toward better lives that are no longer threatened by climate change and environmental degradation.”
After agreeing to move forward on critical issues in international and domestic public finance, the role of trade, and private investment in Addis Ababa, governments will meet again in September to agree on a sustainable development plan. That plan should embed environmental protection within economic, social and political decision-making through the Sustainable Development Goals.The 17 goals and accompanying set of associated targets are essential, achievable, and irreplaceable if the world is to achieve true sustainable development.