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The Addis Ababa Action Agenda: Countries Reach Historic Agreement to Generate Financing for New Sustainable Development Agenda

Friday, 31 July 2015
The third International Conference on Financing for Development took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13-16 July 2015. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) was adopted on the final day of the Conference, following a compromise on the issue relating to international tax matters. The AAAA includes three main sections on: a global framework for financing development post-2015; action areas; and data, monitoring and follow-up. The second section, on action areas, includes seven sub-sections: domestic public resources; domestic and international private business and finance; international development cooperation; international trade as an engine for development; debt and debt sustainability; addressing systemic issues; and science, technology, innovation and capacity building.

Countries agreed on a series of measures to overhaul global finance practices and generate investments for tackling a range of economic, social and environmental. The groundbreaking agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA)*, provides a foundation for implementing the global sustainable development agenda that world leaders are expected to adopt this September. The agreement was reached by the 193 UN Member States attending the Conference. The agreement, adopted after months of negotiations between countries, marks a milestone in forging an enhanced global partnership that aims to foster universal, inclusive economic prosperity and improve people’s well-being while protecting the environment.

The Conference is the first of three crucial events this year that can set the world on an unprecedented path to a prosperous and sustainable future. Its outcome provides a strong foundation for countries to finance and adopt the proposed sustainable development agenda in New York in September, and to reach a binding agreement at the UN climate negotiations in Paris in December that will reduce global carbon emissions. Financing is considered the linchpin for the success of the new sustainable development agenda, which will be driven by the implementation of 17 sustainable development goals.

Close to 150 world leaders will adopt the new goals at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York this September. The goals address global priorities including ending poverty and hunger, reducing social inequality, tackling climate change, and preserving the planet’s natural resources. In support of implementation of the sustainable development goals, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda contains more than 100 concrete measures. It addresses all sources of finance, and covers cooperation on a range of issues including technology, science, innovation, trade and capacity building. The Action Agenda builds on the outcomes of two previous Financing for Development Conferences, in Monterrey, Mexico**, and in Doha, Qatar***.

Domestic resource mobilization is central to the agenda. In the outcome document, countries agreed to an array of measures aimed at widening the revenue base, improving tax collection, and combating tax evasion and illicit financial flows. Countries also reaffirmed their commitment to official development assistance, particularly for the least developed countries, and pledged to increase cooperation between the developing states. The outcome document also underscores the importance of aligning private investment with sustainable development, along with public policies and regulatory frameworks to set the right incentives. A new mechanism that will facilitate financing for new technologies for developing countries was also agreed upon.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda includes important policy commitments and key deliverables in critical areas for sustainable development, including infrastructure, social protection and technology. There were agreements for international cooperation for financing of specific areas where significant investments are needed, such as in infrastructure for energy, transport, water and sanitation, and other areas to help realize the proposed sustainable development goals.

Countries also stressed the importance of nationally owned sustainable development strategies, supported by integrated national financing frameworks.

*To access the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA)*,
** The International Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey, Mexico, 18-22 March 2002) signaled a turning point in the approach to development cooperation by the international community. It was the first United Nations-sponsored summit-level meeting to address key financial and related issues pertaining to global development. The Conference succeeded in placing financing for development firmly on the global agenda. The outcome of the Conference reflected a landmark global agreement between developed and developing countries, in which both recognized their responsibilities in key areas such as trade, aid, debt relief and institution building. The “Monterrey Consensus” adopted by the Conference embodied the principle of a holistic and integrated approach to the multidimensional nature of the global development challenge. The Consensus launched the Financing for Development follow-up process that continues to date.
***The Doha Declaration on Financing for Development was the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus (Doha, Qatar, 2008). The declaration reaffirmed the Monterrey Consensus and called for a United Nations Conference at the highest level to examine the impact of the world financial and economic crisis on development.

Source: IISD Reporting Services, UN DESA
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