1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Blogs and Think Pieces by Keyword - Financing for development

  • Development Financing On The Ropes? How the Current Pace of Financing is Putting the SDGs at Risk (21 Jun 2017) | Bodo Ellmers
    The United Nations’ Financing for Development Forum held at the end of May in New York was notable for the first major admission in a formal outcome document that at the current pace, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be reached. The Forum—which deals with all aspects of finance and the financial architecture that regulates finance—intended to work towards reforms that would make finance work for development. This blog post looks at what progress was made, and where political blockages are still holding things up.
  • Transformation and the Tax Collector. How to Make Tax Reform Work for Sustainable Development (20 Oct 2016) | Katja Hujo
    Mobilizing sufficient financial resources to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is one of the key challenges countries and the international community face in the run-up to 2030. But the challenge is not only to increase the quantity of revenues. The quality of financing policies also needs improvement. This blog discusses how mobilizing domestic resources can impact positively on production and employment, redistribution, social inclusion and gender equality, as well as sustainable use of natural resources.
  • The Paris Agreement (Part II): The First Step on the Long Road Ahead (18 Dec 2015) | Dunja Krause
    Last weekend, the world witnessed a historic success in international diplomacy. Years of international negotiations on a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol culminated in the adoption of a universal climate agreement at COP21 in Paris. Tireless efforts of a diverse range of stakeholders, including member states, the UNFCCC Secretariat, civil society and scientists seem to have finally exorcized the ghost of Copenhagen. This is the second of two think pieces on COP 21 by Dunja Krause.
  • Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? Taking Stock of Progress on Gender Equality since the Beijing Platform for Action (26 Nov 2015) | Andrea Kaufmann, Valeria Esquivel
    The 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action marked an important moment for gender equality. However, in the decades since then the achievements are under threat or may even be rolled back. The concluding piece in the UNRISD Think Piece Series “Let’s Talk about Women’s Rights: 20 Years after the Beijing Platform for Action” brings together some of the main strands of argument covered by 16 feminist thinkers reflecting on the advancements and challenges in gender equality since 1995. Although there have been some successes—the creation and improvement of legal frameworks for the defence of women’s rights, and progress in efforts to combat violence against women—there are still impediments: rigid gender stereotypes in society and institutions, a lack of funding for activism, and conservative forces coupled with a lack of political will to work for further progress. The need to realize women’s rights is now more urgent than ever.
  • Delivering Social Protection Systems for All: Why Taxes Matter (5 Oct 2015) | Francesca Bastagli
    Social protection and taxation feature prominently as key policy instruments available to governments in the pursuit of development goals in both the Financing for Development (FFD) Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This renewed interest in social protection and tax presents a precious opportunity to promote the closer consideration of the links between the two and the ways in which they operate jointly to shape development outcomes.
  • The Invisible Player: Social and Solidarity Finance for Financing for Development (29 Sep 2015) | Marie-Adélaïde Matheï
    The debates at the 2015 International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Addis Ababa focused on macro gaps in development funding, and on the private sector as a provider of solutions. But this approach overlooked two fundamental players: social and solidarity economy (SSE) and social and solidarity finance (SSF). This think piece suggests that involving users in the management of financial resources and targeting funds towards sustainable activities leads the way to more sustainable finance conducive to socially sustainable development.
  • Destination: Socially Sustainable Development. Will Addis Lead the Way? (25 Sep 2015) | Katja Hujo
    In this concluding think piece of the Road to Addis and Beyond Series, UNRISD Research Coordinator Katja Hujo brings together some of the main strands of argument covered by contributors and situates them in relation to UNRISD research, highlighting the importance of the politics of tax reform over and above the technicalities of reform blueprints. The piece concludes by outlining promising routes to more and better finance at the national level as well as blind spots to be aware of, and provides a concise, compelling view of what direction the road beyond Addis should take if we are to arrive at the destination set out in the sustainable development agenda for people, planet and prosperity.
  • Why the Addis Debt Chapter Falls Short (15 Sep 2015) | Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky
    This think piece discusses the shortcomings of the debt chapter of the outcome document negotiated at the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in July 2015. While recognizing that a commitment to uphold human rights was made, the author argues that human rights should be at the core of development financing, guiding both its means and goals, so that funds are spent without unfairly sacrificing anybody´s rights, particularly those of the most vulnerable groups. The author suggests that it is only by adopting a human-rights oriented framework to development financing, including among others, efforts aimed at combating illicit financial flows and those aimed at regaining debt sustainability for countries required to undertake economic adjustment programmes, that the sustainable development goals can be achieved by 2030.
  • Revenue Mobilization for Gender Equity (11 Sep 2015) | Caren Grown and Sudarshan Gooptu
    One factor contributing to slow progress in closing gender gaps is insufficient resources to implement promising policy initiatives. Governments mobilize resources for gender equality from multiple sources, including taxes, overseas development assistance (ODA) and through public-private partnerships. This think piece reviews progress in mobilizing revenue for gender equality from these various sources and provides some overarching suggestions for mobilizing more resources and making existing ones more gender equitable.
  • Shifting Responsibilities without Changing the Balance of Power: What Chance of Equality with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda? (11 Sep 2015) | Nicole Bidegain Ponte, Marina Durano and Corina Rodríguez Enríquez
    The global development financing framework has shifted in emphasis since the 2002 Monterrey Consensus in three ways. First, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) of the Third Conference on Financing for Development moves away from a more balanced sharing of responsibilities between developed and developing countries in the international financial architecture. Second, the document reflects a clear endorsement of the private sector as a privileged development actor. Third, the AAAA takes an instrumentalist view of women’s human rights. As a result, the Conference failed to remove global obstacles to development and to provide the structural conditions and means to move toward sustainable and equitable development patterns and the full realization of human rights, particularly women’s rights. However, the AAAA offers possibilities for continued engagement through the establishment of an FfD follow-up mechanism as a space to redefine the balance of power and negotiate proposals to overcome the regressive trends and reshape the agenda.
  • Beyond Addis: How Can We Finance the SDGs? (8 Sep 2015) | Matthew Martin
    This contribution examines what the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which took place in Addis Ababa in July 2015, means for financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and what we need to do next to ensure they are fully financed. It emphasizes the need to double tax revenues, double aid, provide US$500 billion a year of innovative finance, and establish strong debt crisis prevention and resolution mechanisms. It then discusses how each of these could be achieved. Finally it quantifies the public spending needs for the SDGs, emphasizing the need for country leadership, anti-inequality focus, and transparency and accountability, for strong monitoring of post-2015 means of implementation in terms of inputs (spending, aid, tax), and for all sides to redouble their efforts to mobilize the money.
  • Fair Compensation and other Prerequisites to Mining for Development (31 Aug 2015) | Cielo Magno
    This piece challenges conventional approaches to a country’s economic development by suggesting a departure from the mainstream “mining for development” approach. It suggests that mining ventures should follow a set of preconditions that take into account other significant factors such as fair taxing schemes that benefit the state, clear transparency and accountability mechanisms, and an expanded monitoring scheme that covers environmental and social impacts of extractive activities.
  • Addis Ababa Financing for Development Conference: A Missed Opportunity to Discuss the Role of International Public Finance Post-2015 (24 Aug 2015) | Gail Hurley
    The Addis Ababa Financing for Development conference has concluded with an agreement that has both its supporters and its critics. In the run-up to Addis, discussions around international tax cooperation and how to leverage more private finance for development took centre stage. Less in evidence, however, was a frank discussion around how we need to use international public finance in the future; the international community still tends to think of this finance as ‘aid’ when in reality it will have a far larger and more complex role in supporting the realization of the new sustainable development agenda.
  • Financing Development: Tangible Tools to give Meaning to Fine Words (19 Aug 2015) | Eddie Rich
    How can we move from fine words spoken at global conferences to actual results? For resource-rich countries, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process can provide a tangible set of policy actions that countries can take to help maximise the value of their extractive resources. These actions can contribute to strengthening government tax collection systems, making countries more attractive investment prospects, and generating informed public debate. Experiences in EITI countries show that these are the kinds of good practices that forthcoming global conferences should catalyse to help countries use their resources to finance development.
  • An Orphaned Tax Agenda? Sacrificing Good Governance and Tax Justice in the Addis Ababa Outcome (18 Aug 2015) | Manuel Montes
    At the Financing for Development Conference in Addis in July 2015, developed countries blocked a proposal to establish an intergovernmental body within the United Nations on international cooperation in tax matters. There is a fundamental difference between North (where international companies are mostly headquartered) and South (whose interest lies in obtaining a fair share of the tax revenues arising from the operations of international companies in its territory). This divide can be better bridged in work by an intergovernmental body in the UN. The Addis Ababa outcome however sacrifices good governance and tax justice.
  • Investing in the SDGs: Whose Business? (18 Aug 2015) | Aldo Caliari
    The role of foreign investment in financing development has been a matter of considerable debate in the negotiations leading up to all Financing for Development (FFD) conferences. But deliberations towards the one which took place in Addis Ababa in July 2015 have seen a definite tendency to propose a greater reliance on foreign investment in financing development. It will be important to watch how the Addis Ababa conference frames the regulatory role of the state, and the practices of using aid as an incentive to attract private sector funding, and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and institutional investors’ role in closing the infrastructure finance gap. With the transnational corporate sector more involved than ever in defining policies around sustainable development, winning the struggle for the narrative around the contribution of private capital flows to development is a crucial prize at stake in the Financing for Development negotiations in Addis Ababa and beyond.
  • Promoting Tax Bargains in Uganda and Beyond: The Importance of Civil Society and Parliamentarians (20 Jul 2015) | Jalia Kangave
    While developing countries have acknowledged the importance of domestic resource mobilization in development, in practice, not enough attention is being paid to the importance of tax bargains. Attempting to increase tax-to-GDP ratios without promoting negotiations between the taxing authorities and those being taxed is bound to undermine sustainable tax collection and promote poor governance. Successful domestic resource mobilization requires that (1) tax bargains are made more open; (2) civil society organizations (CSOs) and parliamentarians are given more political space in the bargaining processes; (3) systems are put in place to ensure the accountability of CSOs and parliamentarians; (4) governments introduce or reintroduce personal taxes at the local government level (such as the graduated tax – a direct tax that mostly affected poor and vulnerable households – which Uganda abolished in 2005) and (5) indirect taxes are made more visible.
  • Revenue Bargains Key to Financing Africa’s Development (16 Jul 2015) | Yusuf Bangura
    Africa has enjoyed a growth momentum since 2000 after the wasted years of the 1980s and much of the 1990s. However, eradicating poverty will require huge resources, which existing funding strategies will be unable to generate. Global commodity prices have fallen sharply; capacity to mobilize domestic revenues is waning; and aid has been insufficient in plugging funding gaps. Revenue bargains in which states extract revenues from citizens in exchange for investments that impact positively on well-being may be key to financing Africa’s development. They can substantially increase revenues, nurture effective state-citizen relations, force companies to pay correct taxes, push fragmented systems of service provision in the direction of universalism, improve policy space and make aid more effective.
  • International Corporate Tax Reform is Critical to Financing Sustainable Development (6 Jul 2015) | Erika Dayle Siu
    The Third International Conference on Financing for Development presents an historic opportunity to make the commitments necessary to eradicate extreme poverty and reset the development trajectory on a sustainable path. While financing for the post-2015 development agenda must come from many sources, increasing tax revenue will be critical. Although capacity building efforts in developing country tax administrations have been partially successful in the past decade, much more can be done to reform the outdated international tax rules. This think piece argues tax reform is essential to mobilizing the resources required to achieve the SDGs, and surveys current reform efforts.
  • Fair Pensions in an Ageing World (3 Jul 2015) | Manfred Nitsch
    Longevity without misery has always been mankind`s dream. Modern technology and political will can make that dream come true. Fair pensions for everybody are possible and affordable, when compulsory contributions from wages and salaries are topped-up or complemented with tax financing. No formal earmarking is recommended, but an explicit political consensus on linking pension and tax reforms can help for acceptance on both fronts. Pension systems follow a special financial and administrative logic. They are inherently different from the financial sector, because they rely on compulsory contributions and they cover most, if not the whole of a country`s population; they are different from non-financial business, because it is national legislation which governs their structure and their benefits rather than the fate of the businesses or their pension funds, as is the case with most company pensions; finally, they are markedly different from finance ministries which take tax money without any specific counter-claim. Pension insurance also differs from social assistance schemes, which are means-tested and care for the needy. Distinct from finance ministries and the financial sector, their governance structure often includes national employers, pensioners’ associations and trade unions. Increased labour migration flows make the international mutual recognition and portability of pension rights an urgent issue for global UN conventions, ILO standard setting, and bi- or multilateral treaties.
  • A Global Fund for Social Protection Floors: Eight Good Reasons Why It can Easily be Done (2 Jul 2015) | Michael Cichon
    We know that social protection is the most direct tool we have to combat poverty and inequality and that implementation can begin when countries are at a relatively early stage of development. However, there are today a few countries which need the solidarity of others to close the social protection gap. This think piece puts forward 8 good reasons why a global fund for social protection is needed and can easily be initiated.
  • Bridging the Gap: Sovereign Wealth Funds and Financing for Development (16 Jun 2015) | Sven Behrendt
    Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), government-owned investment vehicles, have become substantial players in the global financial architecture. As such, they are considered a potential source of financing for sustainable development. For the time being, however, sustainable development is not a theme that is represented prominently, if at all, in SWFs’ investment policies. That can only change if the sustainable development agenda’s cause is framed in the policy context in which SWFs operate. Three possible options come to mind: The asset owners of SWFs, that is governments, benefit from including sustainable development as an investment theme in SWFs’ investment mandates. Sustainable development could be positioned as an instrument to reduce risks to investments in less-developed jurisdictions. Sustainable development-informed investments could be tailored to meet SWFs’ financial performance objectives.
  • Let’s Walk Our Talk: Making Concrete Commitments on Financing the Sustainable Development Agenda (16 Jun 2015) | Inge Kaul, Donald Blondin
    Judging by the current draft outcome document, the Third Financing for Development (FfD) Conference is likely to achieve just one thing: a long list of declarations of intent, statements on what one might wish to consider or what should ideally be done—but few concrete commitments on who will deliver what means of implementation (MOI) and by when. If the FfD Conference is to produce more than just a non-committal piece of paper, it must meet a twofold challenge. It must (1) close the ‘specificity gap’ by moving from declarations of intent to concrete, actionable MOI commitments; and (2) close the ‘ambition gap’ by identifying the MOI issues that are of strategic relevance to the successful implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda.
  • 20 Years of Shamefully Scarce Funding for Feminists and Women’s Rights Movements (13 May 2015) | Lydia Alpízar Durán
    For decades, the women’s rights movement and women’s rights organizations have been severely underfunded. AWID research in 2010 revealed that the median budget for 740 women’s organizations all over the globe was a miserly US$20,000. In the same year, as a point of reference, the income for Save the Children International and World Vision International was US$1.442 billion and US$2.611 billion respectively. This is in spite of recent research which proves what feminists and activists have known for a long time—that women’s movements have been the key drivers defending women’s human rights and gender justice worldwide. As the world commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Conference this year, creates the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and holds the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, it is critical to remember that real systemic impact for women’s rights needs significant resources.
  • Public Support for Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) in Spain. Some Lessons for More Productive Support. (31 Dec 2013) | Blanca Miedes Ugarte Manuela A. Fernández Borrero
    Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) aim to integrate people at risk of permanent exclusion from the labour market into work and society through a productive activity. In Spain, despite the fact that national law establishes a common regulatory framework, recognition and support of WISEs is the responsibility of each Autonomous Regional Government. As a consequence, today there are twelve systems of public support for WISEs in the country. This striking diversity allows us to compare the outcomes of the different models and to study their efficiency. The analysis of the most recent data (2011) shows that there is a clear correlation between the amount of aid received by WISEs and the quantity of integration jobs they generate. However, the return on public investment varies greatly from one region to another, even when the regions are socio-economically similar. This points to the importance of specific institutional factors in each territory as well as the type of public aid.
  • Community Development Banks: Enabling Access to Finance for Poor Communities (17 Sep 2013) | Camille Meyer, Leonardo Leal
    Community Development Banks (CDBs) are a growing and dynamic manifestation of the solidarity economy in Brazil. This unique system of solidarity finance is currently in place in more than 100 Brazilian municipalities. Created by local associations to (re)organize local economies, they develop financial tools (microcredit, social currency, correspondent banking) governed and organized by the users themselves. In this article, we outline a general overview of these initiatives. First, we explain some characteristics of CDBs. Second, we present the experience of two CDBs, Banco Palmas and Banco Bem, which have excelled in promoting access to the means of production, consumption, education and training for large sections of the population of the neighbourhoods in which they work. Finally, we study the relations between these CDBs and public banks.
  • Kenyan Businesswomen Transforming Slum Economies through Complementary Currencies (24 Jul 2013) | Morgan Richards, William Ruddick
    Are complementary currencies the next step in building the Social and Solidarity Economy and could Kenyan women be demonstrating a new development model for a failing global monetary system? This think-piece examines the case of the Bangladesh community, an informal settlement in Kenya, using a complementary currency system which enables female business owners to build resilience, avoid economic downturns and juggle family care and business profits. After promising initial outcomes, the Central Bank of Kenya initiated charges for forgery in May 2013.
  • The EU Commission Proposal for a Financial Transaction Tax: Problems and Prospects (23 Feb 2012) | Heikki Patomäki
    In the midst of the ongoing Eurocrisis, the European Commission is arguing that a fairly comprehensive FTT is both feasible and desirable. This represents a welcome departure from neoliberal orthodoxy, and some recognition of the need for measures to address market failures and systemic risks in the financial sector. But it is also a disappointment for the global justice movement and alter-globalizers: far from providing resources for development and poverty eradication, the Commission is looking for an alternative to national contributions for financing the EU budget. As such, the campaign for a global currency transaction tax is as necessary as ever.