The last couple of years, we have adopted important and ambitious milestones for global development, with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Accord at the center. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda set the course for how to finance our ambitious goals and move from “billions to trillions”. It made it clear that we need a more comprehensive approach to development financing.
Let me underscore three points of particular importance to ensure an effective and vigorous follow-up:
First, ODA will continue to be important. Norway remains committed to allocate a full one percent of our GDP to development assistance, the greater part of which will continue to be spent in least developed countries.
However, ODA cannot alone transform societies. We must therefore use ODA in smart and catalytic ways in order to leverage additional sources of financing. The Multilateral Development Banks have lately introduced several new and innovative measures to this effect.
Secondly, domestic resource mobilization spurred by private sector led economic growth is decisive. This entails more effective tax collection, making tax systems work and broadening the tax base. Low-income countries should be protected from the harmful effects of tax base erosion and profit-shifting.
Thirdly, curbing massive illicit financial flows is key. The current traction on combating illicit flows is very encouraging. In just a decade, this issue has risen from relative obscurity to become a core development issue. We must not lose this momentum.
Let me briefly address some of the sub-items on the agenda, keeping in mind the need for an integrated approach:
Trade is crucial for development and growth. The fight against poverty cannot be won without trade, increased production and job creation. Protectionism and isolationism will reverse our common development. It is imperative that we demonstrate our shared commitment to a rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. We need to make greater use of trade as a development policy instrument to help integrate the poorest countries into the global economy.
We need continued emphasis on responsible borrowing and lending. Borrowing is an important tool in order to finance investments critical to achieving sustainable development. There are however signs of new debt distress in some countries. We must not repeat expensive lessons from recent history.
Multistakeholder partnerships are needed at the national, regional and global level. Global initiatives such as GAVI – The Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and Sustainable Energy for All, have all achieved good results. The Inter-Agency report on the follow up of the Addis Agenda demonstrates the importance of new partnerships for financing development – they are a prerequisite if we are to achieve the transformative and lasting change called for by the 2030 agenda.
Last, but not least. Few things make better economic sense than gender equality and women’s empowerment. The need for inclusive growth has become self-evident.
Providing opportunities for everyone is in fact the most important prerequisite for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.