Bhumika Muchhala is senior policy analyst on development economics, global governance and international political economy issues for the Third World Network (TWN). She follows the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, Financing for Development, Rio+20, the UN conference on the financial crisis and the regular negotiations and conferences in the Second Committee and ECOSOC. She is involved in capacity building, strategy and content input with the developing country governments in the Group of 77 (G77) negotiating block in the UN General Assembly. She also conducts research and advocacy on key global economic governance issues related to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Post 2015 Development Agenda debate on MoI: To annex or not to annex FfD3 outcome, that is the question
Post-2015 development agenda debate on Means of Implementation (Part 1 of 2): To annex or not to annex FfD3 outcome, that is the question
By Bhumika Muchhala | The Post-2015 development agenda debate on means of implementation (MoI) pits the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) against the Financing for Development Addis outcome document at the final scheduled negotiations taking place in New York (20 to 31 July 2015).
MoI for the UN's post-2015 development agenda constitutes the most operational and arguably the most significant component of the post-2015 development agenda. It comprises financial resources, the transfer of technologies, capacity building and an overall enabling international environment for development, which is rooted within the intergovernmental global partnership for development.
The key divide between developing and developed countries is on the question of annexing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda from the third international Financing for Development (FfD) conference held from 13 to 16 July in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Developed countries argue that the Addis Ababa outcome document includes all the MoI in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) text, and even goes further than the SDG language and should therefore be not only annexed but also endorsed and referenced in Chapter 3 of the post-2015 outcome document, which specifically addresses MoI. The United States went a step beyond and called for the Addis Ababa outcome document to replace the entire Chapter 3 on MoI.
Developing countries vociferously countered these positions, arguing that the Addis Ababa outcome cannot be annexed in light of the understanding in paragraph 19 of the Addis outcome. Paragraph 19 states that the post-2015 development agenda, including the SDGs, is to be "supported" by the Addis outcome. The definition of support is markedly distinct from that of integration or substitution. Many developing countries reminded the post-2015 plenary last week that there was broad agreement among all Member States that the Addis outcome was not meant to substitute or replace the SDG Goal 17 on MoI.
Other developing countries stressed that while the Addis outcome may have language on MoI, the targets in the SDG framework are far more specific and actionable. The challenge at hand has largely been on how to conceptualise MoI language that is acceptable to all, without risking renegotiation of either the FfD outcome from Addis Ababa or the SDG text of 2014.
MoI in the most recent draft outcome document (26 July)
As of the most recent draft outcome document (26 July) distributed by the Co-Facilitators at the beginning of this week, MoI is mainstreamed throughout the text. The first chapter includes 11 paragraphs on MoI, which address the importance of public and private finance, the UN system, civil society and private sector, the establishment of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism in the Addis Ababa outcome document, the importance of the multilateral trading system, international financial institutions, global governance reform and policy space, debt sustainability including debt financing, relief, restructuring and management, the engagement of all stakeholders and the boosting of the role of the UN. It also "welcomes" the FfD outcome document from Addis Ababa.
The second chapter includes the text of the SDGs (from the Open Working Group and endorsed by the 2014 General Assembly), which includes MoI targets across each of the 17 goals including Goal 17. This Goal 17 is the comprehensive MoI goal of the SDGs and includes the areas of finance, technology, capacity-building, trade and systemic issues. The last is divided into three areas of policy and institutional coherence, multi-stakeholder partnerships and data, monitoring and accountability.
The third chapter is titled "Means of implementation and the Global Partnership" and includes nine paragraphs, many of which overlap with the 11 paragraphs in the first chapter. However, this third chapter recognizes a "revitalized Global Partnership for sustainable development" and the implementation of other UN agreements such as the Istanbul Programme of Action, the SAMOA Pathway (action programme for small island states) and the Vienna Programme of Action (for landlocked developing countries). There is a final reiteration that the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs are universal, indivisible and interlinked.
Country positions divided along North-South lines
The Group of 77 and China stated their strong opposition to proposals that the FfD outcome document should be fully integrated into and become the MoI pillar of the post-2015 development agenda. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is not a substitute for the post-2015 MoI, as it does not exhaust all of the tools and mechanisms required to implement, monitor and review the global partnership for development.
A renewed and strengthened global partnership for development, which is primarily a partnership between governments, is required for this purpose. In this context, the Group reiterates its view that North-South cooperation remains the core of this global partnership and South-South and triangular cooperation is a useful complement to North-South cooperation.
The G77 clarified that providing for adequate and predictable Means of Implementation must clearly include an increased flow of financial resources, an increased access to, and transfer of, affordable environmentally sound technologies and increased capacity building and development support. The Group emphasized that implementation must also take place on the basis of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities at the national, regional and international levels by Member States, the United Nations system and the international financial institutions.
These efforts may in turn be supported by civil society and the private sector which, for their part, also have responsibilities regarding implementation. The objectives must be the elimination of poverty, the attainment of sustained economic growth, sustainable development and the improvement of living conditions and quality of life for people. The necessary institutional arrangements will require improved functioning and coordination between the different stakeholders, the agencies, funds, programmes and regional commissions of the UN, the international financial institutions (IFIs) and regional institutions, as well as the World Trade Organization.
In particular, the IFIs have a major responsibility in the implementation of international commitments and in the attainment of the objectives of the post-2015 development agenda. In this regard, coherence between financial and trade policies at the global level is imperative for the attainment of sustainable development objectives at the national level.
The G77 explained that with regard to the relationship and/or inter-linkages between the MoI of the post-2015 development agenda and the outcome of the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD), the G77 stressed that MoI cannot be a substitute for, nor be replaced by, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Rather, the FfD outcome from Addis Ababa should be considered as supporting and complementary to the global partnership and MoI of the post-2015 development agenda. The MoI contained in each SDG goal and in Goal 17 are a fundamental component of the post-2015 development agenda in their own right.
Following this vital clarification on the relationship between MoI and FfD, the G77 proposed the deletion of the phrase "and endorse fully" in reference to the Addis Ababa outcome document. It would be sufficient to "welcome" the FfD outcome, and insert the phrase "which is complementary to the Means of Implementation for the post-2015 development agenda." The text would thus read, "We welcome the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Addis Ababa from 13-16 July 2015, which is complementary to the Means of Implementation for the post-2015 development agenda."
The G77 also said it is important to recognize the role that development financing plays and the special challenges facing middle- income countries.
Specifically, the Group stressed the importance of acknowledging the launch of a Technology Facilitation Mechanism.
The African Group also stressed the objectives of eradicating extreme poverty and fulfilling unmet commitments, alongside a reaffirmation of the UN Charter Principles, common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and the right to development. Indeed, CBDR cannot be overlooked as an overarching principle, and that the phrase "shared responsibilities" should be deleted from the declaration of the post-2015 outcome document.
The African Group welcomed the entirety of the SDGs in the post-2015 outcome document, and insisted that the chapeau of the SDG text included in the actual text, not just as an annex. An operational MOI requires all developed countries to fulfill their commitments and to scale up partnerships. The goal-specific inclusion of MOI is also encouraged. The Group called for "welcoming" the FfD outcome document from Addis Ababa, not "endorsing" it. In conclusion, the African Group cautioned that they will only be supportive of the Addis Ababa outcome if it does not replace the MoI for the post-2015 development agenda.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) reiterated that the FfD outcome is complementary to MoI and not a substitute. This means there is no need for the Addis Ababa outcome to be annexed, as it is adopted by the General Assembly in its own right and can be addressed through a reference.
AOSIS said that the current MoI formulation in chapter 3 lacks balance, as it doesn't adequately speak to the broad scope of financial and non financial MoI identified in Goal 17 of the SDGs. Small island states have repeatedly identified the importance of capacity building and data, which are crucial elements for not only the realisation of the post-2015 development agenda, but to actually review and follow-up.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stated that the 3rd chapter on MoI is the nuts and bolts of the agenda, and that given its operational nature it should be different in scope and tenor to what is outlined in the Declaration of the post-2015 development agenda outcome document. This would allay concerns for any duplication between what is set out in the Declaration and what will constitute this chapter.
CARICOM outlined four areas of concern.
First, the MoI chapter should articulate boldly and unequivocally a political commitment to mobilize MoI in line with the SDGs, including all 169 targets of the SDGs.
Second, the adoption of the SAMOA Pathway was reaffirmed by the international community, highlighting how small island developing states remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities, and that they remain constrained in meeting their sustainable development in all its three dimensions. CARICOM requested the re-insertion of the previous paragraph 3 from the zero draft with a further tweak that would have leaders commit to supporting SIDS in implementing the post-2015 agenda including the SAMOA pathway. This includes re-stating verbatim the affirmation "that SIDS are a special case for sustainable development and that they face constraints in meeting their sustainable development in all its three dimensions."
Third, CARICOM highlighted that paragraph 19 of the Addis Ababa outcome document must be reaffirmed, in that the post-2015 development agenda is to be "supported" by the Addis outcome, not defined by it. The follow-up processes for the FFD and the post-2015 development agenda are distinct. Fourth, as set out in paragraph 123 of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the MoI chapter of the post-2015 outcome should provide for the launching of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism.
Finally, CARICOM asserts that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda need not be appended as an Annex to the post 2015 agenda. The rationale follows in two parts. First, the third FfD outcome is a standalone document with its own legal standing distinct from the post-2015 agenda. Second, paragraph 19 of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda clearly infers that there is no agreement that the Addis outcome document is the means of implementation. CARICOM recommended a footnote reference to the General Assembly resolution adopting the Addis outcome, saying this would be sufficient for purposes of the post-2015 development agenda.
The group of land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) emphasized specific parts of MoI, such as trade, capacity building and technology transfer at the core. The Vienna Plan of Action recognizes the primary responsibility of each country for its development as well as the role of partnerships. ODA remains a critical source of support. The LLDCs asked for increased access to trade for their countries and highlighted the role of domestic private sectors, saying that they need targeted support to build productive capacities.
India said the question is whether to annex or not to annex the Addis Ababa outcome document. India supports the call to not annex the FfD outcome to the post-2015 development agenda, as it would detract the standalone significance of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. If the Addis outcome is annexed, that would make a full case for annexing the full report of the SDGs.
India said it is pleased that there is broad agreement among all developing countries that the Addis Ababa outcome does not substitute or replace the SDG Goal 17 MoIs. It is not meant to.
A revitalized global partnership for the post-2015 agenda consists of the MoIs as well as the Addis Ababa FfD outcome taken together. The global partnership is contained first and foremost in the SDGs and this will be supported and complemented by the Addis outcome. The section on follow-up and review of the Addis Ababa outcome also attests to the need for both the FfD and the SDG MoI to be followed-up, not just one of them. The section on MoI must articulate this fully, and it must also get the sequencing right.
India emphasized that a simple and straightforward paragraph "welcoming" the Addis Ababa outcome document should suffice, and that welcoming is tantamount to endorsing. The paragraph on the Technology Facilitation Mechanism should also be fully reproduced in the MoI chapter.
As regards to the placement of the MoI targets, India sees no problem in repeating them in both Chapter 2 (which contains the SDG text) and Chapter 3 (on the MoI). India quoted the delegate of Cameroon, who said that repetition is the mother of education. The SDG targets should therefore be kept in Chapter 2 and reproduced in Chapter 3.
Indonesia concurred with all developing countries in that the Addis Ababa outcome cannot be annexed, as it might confuse the public that it is a substitute for MOIs.Indonesia also articulated that a revitalized global partnership should first and foremost provide adequate and timely MoI, support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and build on SDG Goal 17 of the MOIs. Goal 17 cannot be replaced by the Addis Ababa outcome document and should be repeated in both Chapter 2 containing the SDG text and Chapter 3 containing MoI in order to ensure the indivisibility of the SDGs.
Brazil agreed with all developing countries that there is no need to include the Addis Ababa outcome as an annex. It should instead be welcomed within the text, while the commitment of all UN member states to implement the Addis outcome should be reaffirmed in accordance with respective capabilities.
Brazil stressed that the MoI of the SDG framework was negotiated and adopted by the OWG and the General Assembly, and is an integrated and indivisible framework that must be fully integrated into the post-2015 outcome. SDG Goal 17 and its targets are central to the MoI section, which is to be complemented and supported by the Addis outcome.
The Technology Facilitation Mechanism is one of the novel and important deliverables relevant to the post-2015 agenda, and this should be made in the MoI section of the draft outcome document.
Cuba also echoed the call for the Addis Ababa outcome document to not be annexed, as the FfD process is separate but complementary to that of the post-2015 process. As such it should be welcomed, not endorsed. The technology facilitation mechanism is also vital.
Colombia agreed with all other developing countries on the issue of annexing and suggested that paragraph 19 of the Addis Ababa outcome on the relationship between the SDGs and FfD be included.
Uganda also concurred with developing countries saying that the Addis Ababa outcome document is supplementary to the MoI of the post-2015 development agenda. The roles of multi-stakeholders must be defined, the UN System must be recalibrated and reviewed and the unique situation of LLDCs and LDCs have to be taken into account.
Rwanda said that the Addis Ababa outcome complements the post-2015 development agenda and therefore they do not support annexing it. Rwanda emphasized support for the Rio Principle of CBDR, and emphasized the catalytic role of ODA. Rwanda also emphasized that the private sector should continue to play a private role.
Zimbabwe stated its alignment with the positions of all developing countries that the Addis Ababa outcome document should not substitute the MoI of the post-2015 development agenda. Zimbabwe also emphasized that there should be clear timeframes for ODA delivery, which should be directly allocated to national budgets.
Tanzania said that the MoI content will determine the success or failure of the UN's attempt to deliver a transformative agenda in post-2015. Tanzania also proposed the inclusion of a paragraph that refers to previous commitments in the MDGs and beyond in order to prevent any mistaken notion that the SDGs unravel previous commitments.
Iran concurred with all developing countries on the key points of annexation and SDG Goal 17, and added that challenges facing middle-income countries should be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda text. Iran also said it supports including language on reform of the UN system in the text.
Pakistan also agreed with all other developing countries on the key issues, and added that MoI financial and technological resources are critical and the third chapter on MOI should reflect such a clear commitment.
Thailand emphasized the importance of including the specific challenges faced by middle income countries, particularly in regional infrastructure, and noted that regional commissions have an important role to play. Thailand expressed full support for the establishment of the Technology Mechanism.
The United Kingdom stated that the Addis Ababa outcome document complements the post-2015 development agenda, particularly on its support of ODA to least developed countries. A new social compact to finish the MDGs will remain essential, as are efforts at regional integration, aid for trade and gender empowerment. No member state obtained everything they wanted or needed from the FfD process. It was a careful compromise. An important agreement was reached on the Technology Facilitation Mechanism.
The UK said that a strong mention of Addis Ababa is essential in Chapter 3 of the post-2015 outcome document. Member states must resist any attempts to renegotiate the Addis Ababa outcome document. The challenge at hand is to integrate the Addis outcome into the post-2015 and support a full inclusion of Addis in an annex. The UK expressed its dislike of the repetition of MoI and suggested that MOI Goal 17 in the SDG text is included with an explicit Option reference to Addis.
The United States agreed that the post-2015 development agenda will stand or fall depending on MOI. The Addis Ababa outcome document is strong and ambitious, with a scope of both financial and non-financial MoI. There were many compromises and collaborative efforts, for example on the Technology Facilitation Mechanism.
The US stated that nearly note that nearly every MoI appears in the Addis Ababa outcome document and that there are clear improvements in the Addis text. Therefore, the Addis outcome is a strong substitute for the post-2015 Chapter 3 on MOIs, as it provides both efficiency and thoroughness.
Canada echoed the US in saying that the Addis outcome covers all of the issues needed to be considered for the post-2015 MoI, and therefore the Addis Ababa Action Agenda should be endorsed and referenced in Chapter 3, and linked to the post-2015 outcome document through an annex.
Australia emphasized that the Addis outcome goes beyond the MoI goals and targets of the SDGs and is therefore a more ambitious agenda. The future of financing for development relies on a number of areas, including the private sector and ODA as well as new commitments such as the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the follow-up processes for both FfD and post-2015.
Italy said that MoIs should only be mentioned once in the post-2015 outcome document and that duplication should be avoided; the SDG targets should be placed in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 should expound on a strengthened link between post-2015 and the Addis Ababa outcome document.
The Netherlands pointed out that they have compared the MoI in the SDG text with that in the Addis Ababa outcome document and the latter is more rigorous.
Switzerland said that the Addis outcome is well worth including as an annex in its full form without reservations. The Addis outcome contains important commitments and recognizes a broad finance and implementation framework, principles of transparency in trade flows, recognizes and strengthens the contributions of migrants and restitution of stolen assets while defining a dedicated follow-up process linked to the HLPF.
Sweden also supported an integrated annex inclusion of the Addis Ababa outcome, which is balanced and contains substantial commitments on financial and non-financial MoI. Gender equality is a goal as well as a MoI, and gender-responsive budgeting is key to progress. MoI also needs multi-stakeholder participation and a human rights framework.
Finland concurred with both Switzerland and Sweden and stressed that MoI should be listed as individual goals only once, not twice. The global partnership among all stakeholders involves universality, shared responsibility, multi-stakeholder participation and partnerships, human rights, good governance, inclusiveness, respect for planetary boundaries and women's rights and empowerment.
Denmark specifically mentioned that there is no need to selectively mention only the launching of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism from the Addis outcome. Gender equality as a goal is cross-cutting through the MoI as is the human rights framework and a need to follow-up and review the entire agenda.
*This article first appeared on TWN's website and is reproduced here with permission of the author.