Opening remarks by UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Country Director, Bakhodir Burkhanov, at the Consultation for the Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

Nov 1, 2016

(Photo: UNDP/Emily Moli)


Deputy Secretary-General, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Andie Fong-Toy

Government delegates

Civil society and private sector representatives

Development partner colleagues

Ladies and gentlemen:

A warm welcome to delegations from all over the Pacific and thank you for joining us here in Suva to discuss partnerships and financing for the implementation of SDGs in the Pacific.

The SDGs encourage all of us to re-think our assumptions about development. The SDG framework is highly inter-connected as a testament to the fact that development is inherently complex and can no longer be seen in terms of isolated sectors such as health, agriculture or industries. Progress or lack thereof in one area influences others in substantial ways. This inter-connectedness is the key feature – and indeed the challenge – of the post-MDG development era.

Agenda 2030 is designed to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs and to ensure that no one is left behind from development benefits. This is a big challenge in and of itself, but tackling it requires commensurate progress in building inclusive and peaceful societies; addressing climate change; preserving ecosystems and biodiversity for future generations; and transforming the notion of economic growth towards greater equity and sustainability.

In the Pacific, a further challenge is to ensure the alignment of global agenda with the SAMOA Pathway and the Framework for Pacific Regionalism along with national development plans at country level. The cost of doing business and of delivery of basic services in SIDS with remote islands and small populations pose a unique additional challenge for sustainable development and its financing.

In the face of such complexity and inter-connectedness, implementing SDGs requires strong leadership and coordination at all levels, within and among countries. A renewed effective global partnership for development backed by credible data and monitoring is a key opportunity to meet this challenge. To deliver on an agenda that is people-centered and planet-sensitive, countries also need financing that is equally bold and ambitious. Echoing the message of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, we need a global plan to finance sustainable development and to invest ahead for people and planet.

Ladies and gentlemen:

Against this background, I would like to highlight five points that are particularly relevant to the Pacific Island Countries.

·        First, if development is not risk-informed, it is not sustainable. Here in the Pacific we often talk about the concepts of vulnerability and hardship that are linked to our extreme exposure to natural hazards and risks. Shocks from disasters are common and the costs are exponential. We will fail at securing sustainable development unless nations and communities are resilient, able to anticipate, shape and adapt to the many shocks and challenges they face. Investments now in prevention and preparedness for all hazards, natural to man-made, public health or energy, will minimize risk and future costs. Foresight Planning is one of the tools that can help countries plan for the future. UNDP along with PIFS had organised a workshop on this tool last year; we will continue to support countries as they apply and adapt it to their circumstances.

·        Second, governments are and must be in the driving seat of financing their development needs. In addition to principles of national ownership, effective domestic resource mobilization is at the core of financing for sustainable development. Governments have a responsibility to ensure tax regimes are well-designed, fair and efficient. While domestic tax bases are still relatively small in most Pacific SIDS, there is scope and potential to increase finance for development from internal revenue and some countries have made significant progress in domestic resource mobilization.

·        Third, domestic resources should work hand-in-hand with international public finance. As a proportion of Gross National Income, ODA is twice as important to SIDS as it is to other developing countries. In the PICs, ODA represented on average 23.5% of GNI in 2013, which is in itself more than in most other SIDS (for example, in the Caribbean, the same figure is only 3.8%). Beyond traditional sources of ODA, opportunities exist for engaging non-OECD/DAC finance as well as key climate finance. We need to think innovatively on how we can leverage new sources of finance and blend them with the available resources. Climate finance is particularly important in the context of SIDS and climate-vulnerable LDCs. Whilst climate finance should be complementary to other sources of development finance, it must be additional to 0.7% GNI commitment towards ODA from developed countries.

·        Fourth, we must engage private sector in financing for development and in the overall 2030 development architecture. Success of the entire SDG agenda depends on it. It is therefore critical that PICs actively pursue a more conducive business environment and ease of doing business. The economic benefits of doing so will speak for themselves. The World Bank estimates that if a country in the worst-regulated quartile of business environment were to join the best quartile, it would boost its annual growth rate by up to 2 percentage points.

·        Fifth and final point is one that the Pacific has been focusing on for many years: It’s not just about quantity and volumes, it’s also about quality of financing. Efforts to increase the level of development finance must be accompanied by efforts to enhance the effectiveness of development cooperation. This includes strengthening county ownership, use of country systems, and a focus on results and accountability, all of which are essential for the achievement of the sustainable development agenda. All countries can make greater efforts in this regard. We need to increase transparency in ODA flows and learn from – and build on – initiatives such as the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), in which UNDP has been a key partner.

Let me re-emphasize here the need for financing for development as a coherent package. As Pacific SIDS access a greater mix of public and private resources to meet their development needs, we need smarter strategic investments that can make the difference to the people and communities in this region.

In this regard, some PICs such as Papua New Guinea and Fiji are in the process of formulating their Development Finance and Aid Policies (DFAPs). These present an opportunity to consider how best to situate the context of changing flows of development finance, including ODA, in the existing national planning and budgeting frameworks, systems and processes.

UNDP is committed to supporting countries to take a more comprehensive approach to financing for development. One avenue is Development Finance Assessment (DFA) exercises, which help analyse the evolving array of finance options, project potential flows into the future, and provide policy and institutional recommendations for better efficiency and effectiveness of development finance. With these assessments, Finance and Planning Ministries can develop Integrated Development Financing Strategies encompassing public and private finance, domestic and external resources, to match the financing needs of their national development plans. Recognizing the important value addition of DFAs, UNDP in association with PIFS will continue to respond to requests from PICs for support in this area.

Colleagues and friends:

Beyond Financing for Development, we have included in this three-day workshop a segment on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). This is an important initiative that comes with a monitoring framework and indicators, which provide a tool to account on progress in implementing the agreed development cooperation commitments and principles, including at the country level.

Thanks to UNDP-PIFS collaboration, 13 Pacific countries have implemented the GPEDC monitoring process. The benefit of this exercise goes well beyond collecting data. The process provides useful evidence to inform dialogue on what works and what doesn’t.  In many countries where monitoring is grounded in existing systems, the process has led to important improvements in the availability and quality of data on development cooperation efforts. This is why your presence here to share your experiences today is so important.

This workshop is a crucial step in strengthening the GPEDC Monitoring Framework, which will contribute towards generating key messages from the Pacific to inform the next High-Level Meeting in Nairobi later this month.

Once again, I would like to thank you all for making the trip to Fiji for this important discussion and welcome all of you to this workshop. In this spirit, I wish you all a fruitful exchange on innovative ideas that will inform the future effective development cooperation for the region and globally.

Thank you.

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