Trade Unions at the second ECOSOC follow-up forum on Financing for Development, 22-25 May 2017

A small delegation of ITUC, TUAC and TUCA representatives participated in the second ECOSOC follow-up Forum on Financing for Development at UN Headquarters in New York on 22-25 May 2017. The follow up forum was considered one of the hallmark achievements of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, though last year’s inaugural edition fell below expectations, in particular the outcome document.

Due to the relative disappointment of the first forum and outcome, expectations were tempered going into this year’s meeting. From the outset things appeared to have improved if only because a more substantive outcome document was agreed prior to the start of the forum. Civil Society reaction to the outcome document can be found at the CSOs for FfD website. The Inter Agency Task Force report also featured more prominently in this year’s forum, in both the programme and outcome document. This year’s forum also featured an interactive dialogue between member states and Civil Society and the Business Sector.

Despite these efforts the Forum struggled to be truly interactive and it was hard to see how the format of the meeting would advance the FfD agenda in any significant way. The most interesting discussions took place on the fringes of the official meeting, in side events, where commitments taken in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda were discussed and interrogated in more concrete and comprehensive debates. The Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (TUDCN) co-organised a side event with Eurodad and the UK Aid Network entitled Pushing the boundaries of official development assistance: challenges and opportunities which notably featured an interesting overview of how to ensure that blended finance respects the same principles as Official Developme Assistance (ODA). A report of the side-event is available here.

The TUDCN co-hosted a side-event on Pushing the boundaries of official development assistance: challenges and opportunities where different constituents discussed the trend toward channelling ODA through Private Sector Instruments, like “blended” finance and public private partnerships.

Civil Society was able to intervene throughout the official programme of the forum, including representatives from the trade union delegation. Statements can also be found at the CSOs for FfD website. Trade unions contributed to the following civil society statements:

While this year’s forum was an improvement over the inaugural forum, there is still ground to be made. The classic UN format is not conducive to interactive and constructive dialogue, where constituencies can advance the Addis Agenda. Making the FfD Forum a more useful annual meeting will require greater continuity of efforts between sessions, through a multi-year planning. The CSO FfD Group provided inputs along these lines in advance of the forum, which can be found here.

Intervention by Pierre Habbard, on behalf of TUAC and the ITUC, begins at 1:01:05.

Intervention by Georgios Altintzis, on behalf of trade unions, begins at 2:45:15.

Intervention by Pierre Habbard, begins at 2:23:00.

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