Private Sector’s Critical Role Recognized at UN Development Finance Conference

FfDThis is a landmark year that will define the global development agenda for the next 15 years. The financing needed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 will far surpass current official development flows, so the international community will have to leverage complementary forms of financing, including from the private sector.

At the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July 13 to 16, UN member states will establish a new financing framework to support sustainable development for the next 15 years, following upon previous high-level gatherings in Monterrey (2002) and Doha (2008). The outcomes from FfD3 hold special importance this year, as they will set the means of implementation for the SDGs.

Negotiators in Addis Ababa will tackle a cross-cutting global policy agenda – one that touches on multiple areas of interest to USCIB members and the global business community. These include global tax harmonization, trade and investment policies, climate and energy, intellectual property, food and agriculture, and corporate responsibility issues such as transparency and anti-corruption.

USCIB has played a central role in marshaling business input into the FfD process, having worked actively with members and our global network to ensure that the private sector’s voice is heard in Addis. USCIB and its members has engaged on several occasions with the U.S. negotiating team, and USCIB Vice President Ariel Meyerstein has met with the co-facilitators of the FfD3 process as part of a delegation of the Business Steering Committee for Financing for Development, chaired by the International Chamber of Commerce Permanent Representative to the UN, Louise Kantrow.

In addition, USCIB was instrumental in organizing the conference’s Business Forum to be held on July 14, concurrently with the FfD3 Conference. The Business Forum will provide an opportunity for business participants to interact with senior government officials, business leaders and other experts, and let companies and other stakeholders showcase their initiatives related to development finance.

“The forum is a unique platform to demonstrate the value the private sector offers to sustainable development,” Meyerstein said. “A key focus will be on the business enabling environment required to attract investment to least developed countries, the role of public-private partnerships and the need for new innovative approaches to financing, such as blended finance, which uses public funds, including official development assistance (ODA), to catalyze increased private flows, particularly to least developed countries.”

USCIB lined up an impressive array of member speakers for the business forum, including Jay Collins, vice chairman of corporate investment banking at Citi; Peter Sullivan, head of the Africa public sector group at Citi; Walt M. MacNee, executive vice chairman of MasterCard; Elaine Weidman, vice president for sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson; and Jay Ireland, CEO of GE Africa. Speakers will share their insights about investing in emerging markets and developing countries.

The Addis Ababa Accord, which will be adopted by UN member states at FfD3, is positive for business, as the private sector is called upon as a partner in global efforts to finance sustainable development. The policies business supports in the outcome document include an emphasis on governance and domestic resource mobilization, support for blended finance and a move away from an overly-narrow focus on official development assistance and towards an openness to modernize the measurement of ODA, including consideration of the OECD’s proposed “total official support for development” metric. Concerns remain on a proposed technology transfer mechanism and its impact on intellectual property rights protection, but overall the outcome document is positive for the international business community.

Partnerships in Post-2015: Converging Perspectives for Action

Ahead of the Addis Ababa conference, USCIB member Citigroup hosted an event on public-private partnerships on June 17 in New York. This breakfast brought together business representatives and UN delegates from over ten countries for a discussion about how private finance can be used to ensure sustainable development through investment, job creation and inclusive growth.

Speakers at the breakfast included Louise Kantrow, the International Chamber of Commerce’s permanent representative to the UN and chair of the UN FfD Business Sector Steering Committee, Robert Annibale, global director of inclusive finance and community development at Citi, Amina Mohammed, special advisor to the UN secretary general on post-2015 development and Arthur Karlin, chief strategist of the International Finance Corporation.

Participants discussed the role of the private sector in scaling up financial and technical resources for sustainable development, as well as what non-state actors can do to work more effectively together. Conversations focused on the benefits of public-private partnerships and blended finance, as well as the practical steps countries can take to scale up their access to private capital.

The well-attended event emphasized business engagement for and after FfD3. Many speakers referenced the need for rule of law, sound investment climate and investment in infrastructure, all of which are touchstones of USCIB’s advocacy on the post-2015 development agenda.

“Most interesting was the emerging recognition that there needs to be an interface for business with the UN, that was in line with transparency, accountability, conflict of interest and governance,” said Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president strategic international engagement, energy and the environment, who attended the event.

USCIB has also created an online platform that showcases the private sector’s continuing contributions to sustainable development, and demonstrates the need for a role for business in the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda. Visit businessforpost-2015.org to learn more.

 

Staff Contact:   Gabriella Rigg Herzog

VP, Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs
Tel: 212.703.5056

Gabriella Rigg Herzog leads USCIB policy and programs on corporate responsibility, international labor standards and corporate governance. She manages USCIB engagement with its affiliated organizations, U.S. government agencies, and United Nations agencies on international corporate responsibility principles, codes of conduct and multi-stakeholder initiatives, as well as international and transnational regulatory activities on labor and employment policies, sustainable development and corporate governance.
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