Your Briefing on the Breakthrough at #FFD3

July 23, 2015

Social media illustrate progress on critical fronts at Addis Ababa

By Ryan Erenhouse

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda signed last week at the Third International Conference for Development has been called a “new financial alliance” for sustainable development and a “critical step forward” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. This successful outcome of the financing conference lays the foundations for activating the post-2015 development agenda in September.

Fittingly for an initiative of the scope and comprehensive nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), this breakthrough doesn’t represent progress on just one front, but rather on several: strengthening the traditional government base for development financing, expanding that base with innovative private-sector funding and, through it all, leveraging data to maximize impact.

If that sounds dense, social media provide a guide to progress on all three fronts as it was lived, breathed and tweeted. Here’s our roundup:

Beefing up the base for development, starting with the basics:

Official development assistance (ODA) from governments has a long history as the foundation of funding for development. As part of mobilizing domestic resources, donor countries at Addis reaffirmed their commitment to dedicate 0.7% of their gross national income to ODA for the least-developed countries and help improve South-South cooperation. The European Union pledged to commit to an increase in aid to the least-developed countries equal to 0.2% of its gross national income by 2030.

But committing to targets is one thing, delivering on them, another. Here, details matter. Historically, development funding has been vastly weakened by tax evasion, costing developing countries billions of dollars every year. This is why it’s so important that the Addis Tax Initiative was launched to strengthen developing countries’ domestic resources mobilization.


Erik Solheim (@SolheimDAC), Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and Former Minister of Environment & International Development, Norway

The OECD and UNDP also announced the creation of the Tax Inspectors Without Borders initiative designed to simplify tax audit assistance and compliance in developing countries, while helping them mobilize the necessary revenue to support SDGs.

Beyond the traditional base with blended finance

The importance of global partnerships was underscored with the announcement of three blended financial initiatives aimed at redesigning development finance and mobilizing more than $100 billion in investments from the public and private sectors for projects supporting SDGs: a Sustainable Development Investment Partnerships (SDIP); a virtual platform called Convergence, which blends private, public and philanthropic capital; and the RDFI Toolkit.

Richard Samans, Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda and Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum, said that, “Expanding public-private cooperation in the form of blended finance is one of the most important ways the international community can support developing countries as they seek to generate significant amounts of domestic and foreign investment required to meet their Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”


The significance of blended finance was driven home by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam—who was also President of the Conference. (@mfaethiopiaMinistry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia)

Better data are key at every step of the way

This context only gives further weight to discussions before and during Addis about the role of data in implementing the SDGs. As the challenges with fortifying ODA suggest, data are necessary for transparency in securing funding and ensuring that commitments translate to impact. But that’s only the start of why data matter, as the discussions hosted around the hashtag #DATARevolution during Addis powerfully illustrate:

ethiopia 2

Ethiopian Facts (@101Ethiopia) and the UN Foundation (@unfoundation) made powerful statements on the importance of data using the hashtag #DATARevolution

Fundamentally, data are key to process optimization:

millenium challenge

Millennium Challenge Corporation (@MCCgov) also stressed the importance of getting access to data in real time to get an up-to-date picture of global financial development.

Of course, Addis isn’t the end of the SDGs—it’s always been about setting the agenda and securing the resources to make action possible. As we’ve written, those resources go beyond just dollar donations to include the know-how needed to build capacities, especially in data-driven decision-making. Progress on this front will be key to watch as September nears.


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