Another Reflection for Today the Last Day of Financing for Development

It has been a privilege to be here for the week – to be part of this process – my first outside of New York. —- and a challenge in that I was not heavily invested in financing for development and was away from New York for the month of June.

But there is no doubt in my mind that these are the real systemic issues that need to be addressed. The Addis Ababa Coordinating Group of which the NGO Financing for Development is a member have done great work and I think that ‘Good Shepherd’ can be proud that we too are at this level.

This morning we had the Sunday homilist for Mass – another word of great encouragement for me – the psalm was the Magnificat —–

Homilist: Mary was a social, economic and political revolutionary…

Mercy extends from generation to generation – all generation will call me blessed –  social revolutionary – inclusion
Fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty – economic revolutionary – task of this week
Cast the mighty from their thrones and lifts up the lowly  –  Political – the task of this week – and we have experienced how difficult it is.  We are all engaged in living out the Magnificat in our daily lives at the grassroots in service, advocacy and at the United Nations

Do read the CSO Response to the Outcome Document and the Declaration  I on behalf of us all concur.

Aslo see this blog posting click here!   Blog posting

Last Day of the Financing for Development Conference

News this morning, Thursday, is that the outcome document has been agreed.  CSO are deeply disappointed with the document but are determined that the tax body will not go away.  The mood can be summed up in this comment ‘The Developed countries managed to force the UN tax body out of the Addis outcome document and keep OECD as the only place for intergovernmental tax negotiations… for a little while longer!   Eurodad, European Network on Debt and DevelopmentWe note that they managed to generate more than 130 news paper articles, op-eds, etc. supporting their cause.  They had VIPs like Mbeki and Stiglitz speaking out in strong defense for the tax body.  The Avaaz petition reached 140.000 signatures already yesterday.   CSO’s all join with Eurodad in this action.

CSO’s are working on their response and it will be available soon.

The Trade Union Response to the outcome document can be accessed here and is reflective of my views too!

From the Financing for Development Conference Addis Ababa July 13 – 16, 2015

Just about now the official opening of the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development will take place at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) amid high security.  I will not attend the opening as passes for Civil Society are very limited for the opening session.  However 500 passes will be available from 1.00 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis.  I think this is adequate for the numbers attending.  Last evening completed the two day civil society forum which was held at the Dessalign Hotel and it was preceded on Friday by a Women’s Forum at the Dreamliner Hotel.  I attended the afternoon session and then went to the Dessalign Hotel for the official opening of the Civil Society Forum.  There are eight to 900 participants.  Many are from Africa as the Conference is in Africa.  Yesterday afternoon Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon addressed civil society.  He recognized that CSO’s speak on behalf of millions of people for a better world and his hope was that world leaders listen to our voice.  He said that expectations are high but negotiations are difficult and the robust engagement and advocacy of CSO’s was required.  He noted that the financial world is very complex but that this is the time for Global Action for people and planet ending abject poverty and caring for the planet. The Secretary General sees success in a tripartite relationship between Government, the Private Sector and Civil Society. If any of the three are missing then success is hampered.  He reiterated ‘You are the voice of the people, make this world and its people sustainable.’

On a personal note, when I attended Eucharist yesterday (Sunday) the homily was very affirming of I being in Addis for this conference on behalf of Good Shepherd throughout the world.  In Ethiopia, the liturgical year is a few  weeks behind the Roman calendar so the readings and Gospel were the same as celebrated in Angers on the last Sunday of the Chapter (June 28th). The homilist spoke about social sin – exclusion, discrimination, accumulation, lack of reconciliation and forgiveness.  He said we are all entangled in social sin and have responsibility for it. For me, making the links I felt that this was truly my mission here in Addis, on behalf of you all,  during this week to confront this social sin of greed, growing inequality, continual gender inequality, exclusion, discrimination, lack of human rights, and lack of accountability.  It was in the words of the direction statement ‘a movement of the Spirit impelling us (me) to respond with even greater urgency to the cry of our wounded world.’ Attending the Conference is one way ‘ to address global issues’ as enunciated in our chapter statement poverty, human trafficking, forced migration, refugees, gender inequality, violence towards women and children, and religious intolerance.’

As negotiations of the outcome document for Financing for Development is negotiated between now and Thursday evening we are hopeful that there will be consensus and agreement.  We hope that the negotiations will truly tackle the structural injustices in the current global economic system.  The document as it currently stands does not yet ‘rise to the challenges that that the world is currently facing.  Some of the giant issues that need to be addressed are Debt, International Trade, Systemic Issues, private finance and domestic resource mobilization.  Each of these is a big topic in itself.  The CSO leadership are very expert in all areas and it is indeed heartening to witness their dedication in long hours of meetings, and writings and presentations.  Equally, the Women’s Working Group for Financing for Development (WWG on FfD)  is very active calling unequivocally for the human rights of women and girls in their own right as persons and not in the cause of ‘smart economics’ and profit. Unpaid care work is not addressed currently in the proposed outcome documents.  There is mention of the issue of migration and human trafficking.  Human Trafficking is addressed under illicit flows …. so money is the issue and not the people trafficked. But this is a systemic cause of human trafficking.

Much discussion is about the application of a human rights framework.  Addressing the balance of power between the systematically significant countries and those that are not is what is making discussion so difficult.  Another systemic issue is  how to balance ‘the role of the state as duty bearer against the privilege of private capital, the benevolence of philanthropy and the ambiguity of multistakeholder partnership.’  (Realizing Women’s Human Rights in Development – Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development- June 2015  Friedrich Ebert Stiftung)

Ferew Lemma, our mission partner in Ethiopia is also attending the conference with me.  It is a challenging time with no internet connection or Wifi.  I am writing this from his office while the opening ceremony is taking place.  It is a smaller version of the annual Commission on the Status of Women in New York each year.  There are multiple side event in hotels adjacent to UNECA.  Within ECA there is the plenary sessions, roundtable tables – morning and evening,- and of course the negotiations.  We plan to attend a few side events in the afternoon –  Social and Solidarity Economy, Financing for Development Justice, Girls in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (Name of the official document) and Mission Impossible: Development without Public Service.

Ferew has just brought in a TV to the office – the official opening is televised on local TV.  I have some pictures on my phone but unable to transfer to this laptop.

Invest Ahead for People and Planet! Financing For Development 3

FfD pictureFollow the Financing for Conference;   Press Conference today with Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Economic and Social Affairs on the International Conference on Financing for Development.

The moderator of the event: Ms. Margaret Noviki of the Department of Public Information.

See for more details

#FFD3  #Action2015

 

Read Prepared Remarks by Naomi Klein at the Vatican

Naomi Klein was attending the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican.  Click here   “We can save ourselves, but only of we let go of the myth of dominance and mastery and learn to work with nature – respecting and harnessing its intrinsic capacity for renewal and regeneration.”

“The truth is that we have arrived at this dangerous place partly because many of those economic experts have failed us badly, wielding their powerful technocratic skills without wisdom.  They produced models that placed scandalously little value on human life, particularly on the lives of the poor, and placed outsized value on protecting corporate profits and economic growth.”   ….   “And because our current system is also fueling ever widening inequality, we have a chance, in rising to climate challenge, to solve multiple, overlapping crises at once.  In short, we can shift to a more stable climate and fairer economy at the same time.”  … “In our conviction that you cannot call yourself a democracy if you are beholden to multinational polluters.”

kleinvatican650

Conference Secretary General for Financing for Development Wu Hongbo attempting the final push for milestone event

“I urge you to keep in mind that Addis presents a historic opportunity – on that we cannot afford to miss … there are a number of proposals and ideas on the table that are truly transformative.  They should meet the high hopes and expectations that we all have …  We need to ensure an ambitious and meaningful Conference outcome for the future of the peoples and planet” Secretary General Wu Hongbo stressed.  Read more here

The real issues is not lack of resources.  The knowledge and the money to finance sustainable development do exist.  The challenge is to channel these resources to areas and sectors of greatest need.  Naoimi Klein in her book

this Changes Everything‘This Changes Everything’ shows very adeptly that indiscrimate economic growth is the reason why agreements cannot be reached.   The problem is structural. Poverty in the midst of plenty is unconscionable. The effects of climate change are largely ignored.  Greed and the limitless pursuit of profit for the few underlie the current situation with little or no interest in global wealth redistribution or the preservation of the planet.  The conflict exists due to prioritizing values and goals such as achievement, money, power, status and image, and implementation of austerity measures to the neglect of the dignity of each person, human rights, solidarity and the promotion of the ‘local’ and the ‘grassroots’.

Can the new opportunity provided by the Financing for Development Conference be truly transformative  ushering in a new era of equality, ‘leaving no one behind’?  Will this conference challenge the growth of the corporate sector, and the privatization of public sphere by heralding a new era of human rights based sustainable development for people and the planet?