Statement by Claudio Fernandes (GESTOS) in Round Table B on behalf of the CSO FfD Group and WWG on FfD

Statement on public domestic resource mobilization and international development cooperation

Thank you Madam chair. Distinguished delegates, I speak on behalf of the Global civil society coalition for FfD, through my organization, Gestos, from Brazil.

I will try and respond the four questions posed to this discussion while making a risk assessment of what I heard from the panel.

First of all, we couldn’t agree more on the need for countries to fulfill their ODA commitments. Both the 0.7 percent of GNI target of overall ODA and the 0.2 percent of GNI target allocated for LDCs. Now, the resources should be directed toward the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental. But just a few weeks ago we were surprised with the new Development Action Committee (DAC) rules that directs resources for military aid and internal affairs related to the migrant events. I’d like to point out that we should not let crises hijack the finance for sustainable development. (The military forces are a non-sustainable economic, social and environmental model. It contradicts the purpose of ODA resources, in principle, and perpetuates, worsening, systemic issues.)

 

Furthermore, we need more monitoring in the use of ODA so it won’t just become collateral for further indebtedness of already highly indebted countries, or end up sitting on a safe haven somewhere else instead of being used properly. (This would increase the Return On Investment (ROI) on pivotal vulnerable areas.)

 

On south-south cooperation, we do welcome the creation of the technology facilitation mechanism. It will stimulate the exchange of experiences and knowledge . We just need to make sure there is a balance among countries, to try and develop a culture of science and technology cooperation.

 

Regarding Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), make no mistake, a bank is a bank. It drives on return on investment. Therefore we need to make sure MDBs are not only about large infrastructure projects to help corporations, whether transnational or national, drive the natural resources out of the country and into the global value chain of international markets, at the expense of local communities and populations, particularly the most vulnerable. We must assure that MDBs have credible and transparent accountability instruments to decide where and when to invest.

 

For instance, will MDBs tackle the simple problems that exist today, like, let’s say, basic sanitation? My country is a large middle income country that suffers from this problem, that generates other problems (like spread of dengue fever), hence “basic sanitation”. Sixty percent of the urban areas are not sanitized. Health gets compromised. Do we expect banks to invest is such issues, or in health, or education? No, they don’t see short term ROI in these.

 

But there are other ways to mobilize resources, such as progressive taxation, such as financial transactions taxes. Get out of economic theory orthodoxy. Capital by itself does not, and will not, bring development. It needs a process.

 

Thank you Ms. Chair.

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