Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is honoured to participate in this Forum on Financing for Development, hosted by the Economic and Social Council.
We are doubly honoured that this Forum takes place under the auspices of Her Excellency Inga Rhonda King, 74th President of the ECOSOC, and Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – the smallest nation ever to assume the presidency of this pivotal body.
2019 marks 50 years since the World Bank’s Report of the Commission on International Development, which first mooted the target of developed countries providing 0.7% of their Gross National Product for Official Development Assistance. 2019 marks the 49th anniversary of UN Resolution 2626, titled “International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade,” which agreed that developed countries would achieve the 0.7% target by the year 1975 – a deadline that elapsed 44 years ago.
That target has been endlessly reiterated– from the 2001 Monterrey Consensus, to the 2005 World Summit1, to the 2005 G8 Gleneagles Summit, to the 2009 Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development, to the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and so on. In 2005, the European Union committed to achieving the target by 2015.
However, for the last 49 years, as foreign ministers repeatedly wrote cheques that their finance ministers refused to cash, the 0.7% pledge has entered the realm of farce.
While we recognise with gratitude the five nations that have honoured their pledges, we also note that the remainder of the developed world is less than halfway to its oft-repeated commitment.
What does this mean for financing for development?
It means that even the most conservative estimates, employing the most optimistic projections of growth and private sector involvement, calculate an annual financing gap of over $150 billion that requires stepped-up ODA if Sustainable Development Goals are to be met.
It means that the critical developmental imperative of climate change adaptation demands an additional $100 billion annually. It means that our interconnected development and climate goals are in peril.
ODA is the bedrock of development financing. There is undoubted utility in emerging concepts of blended finance, crowding in, and Aid for Trade. Unfortunately, many of those concepts are unlikely to reach those with the greatest developmental needs.
We must therefore analyse the concessionality of development assistance, access to that assistance by vulnerable states, and whether voluntary, unenforceable, political pledges by rich countries are effective bases for our shared developmental aspirations. The deadline for achievement of the SDGs is a decade away.
The deadline for meeting ODA pledges is four decades past due. For the Goals to be met, the pledges must be honoured. It’s as simple as that.
I thank you.