TUDCN Addis Ababa FFD3 update #3 (15 July 2015)

FFD3 roundtable 2: Ensuring policy coherence and an enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development

The TUDCN delegation attended the FFD3 roundtable 2, around the issue of policy coherence and enabling environment in relation to the private sector. ITUC Deputy General Secretary Wellington Chibebe was a discussant in this high level discussion with, among others, Mr Per Bolund, Minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs, Sweden, and Nobel laureate Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, and Mr Thabo Mbeki, Former President of South Africa and Chair of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows, and Guy Ryder, Director-General, ILO.

Mr Thabo Mbeki said illicit financial outflows have direct implications on devevelopment. Africa needs that lost money to progress. Action needs international cooperation, with origin and destination countries working together. He opined that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda addresses the issue and the UN is the best place to deal with it.

Guy Ryder said that a functioning financial system is a prerequisite for development, especially for poor and vulnerable countries. Social protection floors are ne3eded, as well as access to credit and financing for SMEs. Full employment and decent work is key to unlock domestic productivity and increase resources.

Mr Ryder added that investing in decent jobs is a means and end for sustainable development. Connecting the world of financing with the world of labour can work, through partnerships and shared responsibilities.

Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women, said there has been some progress in terms of women’s participation, though initiatives are more often underfunded. Participation of women in economy is still very modest. 75% of Women working outiside their homws work in the informal sector. 83% of domestic work is done by women, she added.

Mlambo-Ngcuka added that in 8-10 years the obstacles for women could be overcome but with extraordinary efforts, otherwise the gender equality gap will take 50 years to be solved.

Prof. Joseph Stiglitz said finance is key to development. There is no shortage of funding, it just has to be used the right way. Current incoherence between short and long term financing objectives means the World faces a major problem. This is related to the way international financed is governed, including coherence, he added. Mr Stiglitz said "finance is just a means to an end in itself, and without coherence the finance will be disconnected from the objective".

Prof. Stiglitz said that development and finance are too important to be handled by finance ministers alone. On tax, he said that "taxation and domestic resource mobilisation is a key issue" and "the current global system makes tax evasion very easy". He added that "the system can be fixed, with an authoritative tax regime, and the UN is where this discussions on tax should begin".

Prof. Stiglitz added that international debt restructuring mechanisms are needed, coordinated at UN level. He also expressed that "IMF accounting rules are an impediment to development".

ITUC’s DSG Wellington Chibebe started is response to the round table’s speaker by quoting the results of the ITUC Global Rights Index 2015. 82% of wages have been stagnated in the past 3 years and 53% of the workforce cannot save after payday, what he described as "bleeding approach" that should be stopped.

He appreciated the fact that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda mentions decent work, but showed scepticism about its implementation. Chibebe said that efforts for more inclusion should also include more accountability of the private sector. "Those who have the means need to be hold accountable", he added.

Chibebe said that governments from developing countries need to be given the necessary policy space, to avoid situations where leaders from those countries are pushed to take decisions which are detrimental for their peoples.

Marita González from CGT Argentina intervened on behalf of CSOs. She said CSOs agree on the idea that the State should be at the centre of development policies, and voiced out concerns that States’ are submitted to markets and austerity policies.

González said that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda gives too much emphasis to the role of the private sector, but fails to mention the need for accountability. When it comes to private sector accountability in development, CSOs want mandatory to replace voluntary, she added. González said that the effectiveness and impact of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) is doubtful, and they should to accountable in any case. She concluded reaffirming that States should be main actor of development and the private sector should follow their rules.

You can find a list of Member States and UN bodies’ statements at the FFD3 Plenary here.

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