Report on the Forum on Financing for Development to Fund the Sustainable Development Goals
By: Sr. Marianne Sennick
In 2000, the UN adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eliminate the pervasive issues of poverty, illiteracy, illness, and lack of a decent standard of living. The MDGs were supposed to be a means of tackling these intractable problems. So, to continue the process of eradicating these endemic situations, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a measure to achieve them by 2030.
To accomplish the SDGs two other challenges also need to be addressed. How can the global community finance the SDGs? How can the global community mitigate the rising earth temperature causing climate change? So the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda that involves achieving sustainable development goals, financing to achieve the goals, and the Paris Accord on Climate Change.
The 2030 Agenda, adopted in 2015 by the UN, includes the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); the Paris Accord on Climate Change which went into force November 4, 2016, and Financing for Development, the last world conference on this held in Addis Ababa in 2015 with its focus on funding the SDGs.
The fourth UN ECOSOC Forum for Financing for Development was held in New York from 15 to 18 April 2019, to review the Action Agenda adopted by countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2015) to fund the SDGs. Although UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that we have the tools for SDG finance, climate change, and the 2030 Agenda, speakers from the IMF, World Bank, and UN intergovernmental agencies raised the issues that are preventing the implementation of the SDGs.
Countries lack revenue to implement the goals because of tax evasion and money laundering. Discussion of solutions are both country specific and international. Illicit financial flows and corruption deny countries the domestic funds needed to achieve the SDGs. There must be a multilateral trading system that is fair and transparent and provides for the just earning of revenue for all parties. There should be a minimum corporation tax in each country.
Within the United Nations, there have been discussions of the concept of social protection as a means to achieve the SDGs. It is sometimes named as social security and coverage for all. The United Nations General Assembly in September will present a Conference on the concept of universal social protection.
Climate change is an integral part of the achievement of the SDGS. Without international action to reduce the rise of temperatures, none of the 16 SDGs will be accomplished. For example, in low lying island nations, populations are being forced to move to higher ground as their land and homes disappear under rising waters. Farmlands are drying up; others are being flooded. Migration in search of fertile land is occurring. Adapting to climate change is an international challenge and green solutions need to be addressed to reduce the emissions from fossil fuels.
[Sr. Marianne Sennick is the main representative for the CSJ UN-NGO and a Sister of St. Joseph of Brentwood]