ECOSOC SPRING MEETING WITH BWIS, WTO, AND UNCTAD
Roundtable Discussion on New Initiatives on Financing for Development
NEW YORK, 14 APRIL 2008
Funding is an absolute necessity to accomplish development. Because traditional sources of funding – trade, ODA and FDI – have proven insufficient for this purpose, there is the compelling need to consider innovative alternative sources. But even as we move towards new sources of development funding, commitments already made should be fully honored. In particular, firm timelines should be established by donors to fulfill the ODA commitment of 0.7% of their GNP.
There should be two broad criteria to determine the usefulness of new financing mechanisms. They should be politically acceptable and economically feasible. National parliaments should be courted in this regard. ‘Donor’ parliaments will facilitate increased funding; ‘recipient’ parliaments will align funding with national goals. And the UN should interact more closely with other multilateral and regional organizations such as the G-77, ASEAN and regional development banks, to bring new initiatives to full fruition.
More time and effort should be spent on new ideas with strong potential for implementation. Proposals pertaining to corruption, fraud and tax evasion, for instance, have long been the subjects of international discussions and cooperation. They are likely to benefit more from follow-up action. In addition, those innovations already being implemented, such as the levy on airplane tickets or the International Finance Facility for Immunization (IFFIm), should be monitored closely and promoted widely, but not discussed unendingly.
On the other hand, while it is true that some major powers do not enthusiastically support forms of international taxation, there appears to be no opposition to taxes on carbon emissions, given the serious global threat of climate change. Within the context of the environment, an international model should be formulated to facilitate more financial support from the private sector. This sector should be a source of substantial voluntary, philanthropic contributions.
Still in the area of taxes, there seems to be growing support for the Currency Transaction Tax (also known as the Tobin Tax). Opponents argue that international taxation could distort investment and trade flows and undermine national sovereignty. Supporters say it will be easy to implement the CTT.
Serious consideration should be given to assisting developing countries to establish sound financial markets, especially bond markets. These should be established with effective security measures to counteract speculation and ensure their stability.
Finally, there should be more discussions about ways of making better use of migrant remittances for development. These discussions would need to focus on reducing transfer costs, reasonable policies of residence and the availability of work permits as well as protection of the human rights of migrants.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333, Fax: 1.212.972.9780 - www.indonesiamission-ny.org