Financing for development in the era of Covid-19 and beyond

The following statement was delivered by IPMSDL Global Coordinator and CPDE Co-Chair Beverly Longid at the closing segment of the “Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and beyond,” a meeting of civil society representatives and the United Nations. In it, she called on UN Member States to put at the core of conversations human rights and people’s development, as well as an emphasis on the Effectiveness principles and states’ fulfillment of historical commitmentsRead the CSO demands “Global Economic Solutions Now!” here.

On behalf of the CSO Financing for Development Group, and the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), we thank the UN Secretary-General for convening this significant conversation.

As the earlier speakers said, we are facing many crises in the economy, health, climate, and debt, as well as in development with worsening poverty and inequality, heavier burdens for women, and more barriers to people’s rights. In effectively addressing these, we have to admit that the old systems have contributed to these crises, if not caused it. The freedom of capital has long driven the global economic and financial architecture. But it did little or nothing at all to promote socio-economic rights and development for the people.

We also see the backsliding of civil-political rights. From the closing of civic spaces, we increasingly witness some states criminalise, tag as “terrorists,” and launch reprisals against criticism and dissent. I have seen state killings against fellow activists and threats against myself as we defend people rights under the Philippines’ Duterte government. We cannot fully work for the development of the people and planet if governments vilify, kill, and threaten us for voicing our concerns.

The challenge before us now is how do we reverse these trends? We cannot talk about a “recovery” or a “new normal” that fundamentally returns to the old system. We have to be ambitious in the systemic changes that we make. We have to be daring, to address structural inequalities.

To lay down solutions to the current broken economic and financial architecture, Yes!, the UN can convene an International Summit on Economic Reconstruction and Systemic Reform. In support, the FfD informal groups on the thematic priorities can convert into concrete workstreams that will inform intergovernmental negotiations and advance the systemic reform agenda. The Member states may lead these processes, but with the full, meaningful and effective participation of all stakeholders and constituencies.

In all, the CPDE emphasises the Effectiveness principles and fulfillment of historical commitments.

One, we need to go beyond debt suspensions and push for more extensive debt cancellations for developing countries. We call for an inclusive sovereign debt workout mechanism, outside the platforms of the traditional creditors.

Two, instead of a reliance on debt, we need more unconditional grants. We remind the states of their commitment to fulfill and even surpass their 0.7% GNI target for ODA. Let us uphold the integrity of ODA as a public resource. Review approaches that drive more Public-Private Partnerships, which focus on “private finance” despite its unclear development results.

Three, reassess through an interstate process the tax incentives for multinational corporations and work towards their progressive taxation. Instead of “financial integration,” capital controls must be an option for Southern economies exposed to the caprices of investors.

Last, the blanket promotion of trade and investment liberalisation, which skewed benefits for big businesses must stop. We call to halt the negotiations of unequal trade and investment agreements, and for a moratorium on Investor-State Dispute Settlement cases. Countries should have space to enhance their trade and investment policies.

The international community and the UN should act now.

Let us draw solutions that put at the core human rights and people’s development, promote equality, and address structures that put economic and social burdens on all especially women. Let us shift away from rampant resource extraction that harms people and the planet, and shift towards vibrant national economies for people’s needs and workers’ rights. Let us build structures that democratises global governance and for greater inclusion of the global South and those left behind – the workers, peasants, women, migrants, health-workers, and Indigenous Peoples. Together, let’s unfold a better tomorrow. Thank you!#

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