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OECD Secretary-General

Third International Conference on Financing for Development: Side event on strengthening international cooperation to mobilise and measure public finance for sustainable development

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

13 July 2015 

 

 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I am delighted to be with you today in Addis Ababa, at the outset of this year’s Financing for Development conference. This is an exciting year. We have the potential to put in place a global framework to both tackle the unfinished business of the MDGs, and go further, building a sustainable, inclusive and better future for all. And while success won’t depend only on our ability to find the money, it is clear that adequate resources will be a crucial ingredient if we are to realise our aspirations.

 

The development landscape has shifted, and our tools need to evolve too

 

We have seen truly dramatic shifts in international development finance since the Millennium Declaration was endorsed almost exactly 15 years ago. Now, there are many new providers of development co-operation; an ever-expanding range of innovative financing tools and partnerships; and vast pools of capital to be tapped. (Later today, the OECD will be showcasing some of these new partnerships: our work with foundations and philanthropies, for example, and our new partnership to help step up domestic resource mobilization through Tax Inspectors Without Borders.)

 

Looking ahead, it is clear that we need to get better at mobilising, at combining, and at channeling public and private resources for development. Developing countries need to be in a position to capitalise fully on the many opportunities that now exist. These new realities and challenges require new approaches and tools.

 

What we measure shapes incentives – we need to get it right!

 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

 

Experience has shown that goals and targets matter. What we measure shapes incentives. And incentives in turn drive our actions.

 

This is why we have proposed that we modernize the way we measure development finance to respond to the new development finance landscape, while keeping the measurement of aid (or ODA) very much at its core.

 

One way of achieving this is through the proposed “Total Official Support for Sustainable Development” – or TOSSD – measurement framework. (I should mention that its name was devised by our statisticians and not our marketing experts. Perhaps some of you could help us come up with a catchier name!)

 

The aim of this exercise is to capture all the resources that have been made available for development finance, including those from new developments and innovations. For example, by investing EUR 2 billion in grants blended with loans and equity, last year the European Union unlocked close to EUR 40 billion in investments for economic and social infrastructure. Efforts in the area of aid for trade are also important.

 

A new measurement framework should help incentivise the use of these mechanisms by donors. It would also help beneficiaries to see the full range of funding options available to them, and to assess their respective comparative advantages and risks.

 

Such a new, comprehensive framework needs to be part of the global commons. It needs to be designed and used by all countries, by all development actors, and by all those who have a stake in financing development.

 

I am pleased to announce that consultation on this new framework is already well underway with providers of development co-operation, partner countries, CSOs, think thanks, UN agencies and others. They are all actively shaping the framework, and will continue to do so over the coming year. This is a good thing. New frontiers are best navigated by pooling the perspectives, the initiative, the vision and the energy of all stakeholders.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, Excellencies Lubna Al Qasimi of the United Arab Emirates, and Kristian Jensen of Denmark, whose governments have recently taken part in successful TOSSD pilots. These learning exercises will open the door to new avenues for scaling up development co-operation.

 

Aid remains crucial, and donor efforts must be sustained

 

Before concluding, I would like to say a word or two about the importance of trust in all of these efforts. I have over the last few months been struck by the high level of consensus in the international discussions on the SDGs. We need to build on this trust when it comes to addressing their means of implementation, and particularly finance. Let’s be clear: a modern measurement framework does not mean backing away from previous commitments on aid.

 

Existing aid commitments must be reaffirmed, and efforts to meet these commitments must be sustained. In some settings aid can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.

 

At over USD 135 billion a year, it is in fact impressive that ODA volumes have been maintained at a historically high level in the aftermath of the greatest crisis of our time. We cannot dilute existing targets, and we must recognize efforts where they are made.

 

The OECD will continue in its efforts to bring transparency to the international aid effort – including by measuring our own members’ progress in delivering ODA to those who need it most. TOSSD can be a useful tool to monitor how the impact of ODA can be magnified with the use of other financing instruments.

 

Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,

 

The contours of new framework for measuring international development finance are now emerging. I hope that this new toolbox can be put to use very soon: we’ll need to monitor what is agreed here in Addis Ababa, and at the SDGs Summit in September. Let’s work together to devise a system that works for everyone.

 

Together, we can make this proposal a reality. More resources. More data. And, ultimately, better lives.

 

Thank you.