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Finance & Innovation

This one document can change the fate of our planet


The global goals with the power to stamp out extreme poverty could be screwed. Massively, massively screwed.

I know what you’re thinking... “How is that possible!? Global citizens have  done such a good job campaigning around all these amazing issues!” Haven’t we covered all our bases? Health, check. Food security, check. Girls and women, check check. Yet there’s something super important that’s been left the heck are we actually going to accomplish all of these goals? With everyone focusing on all the noble initiatives out there, it’s easy to assume someone else is going to figure it all out. Well, that’s basically what our world leaders and most influential decision makers are doing right now.

Ok. I’m going to say some words that are going to make you roll your eyes, stop reading, or say something along the lines of “you gotta be kidding me, I thought this article was going to be interesting”. Just stay with me it will be totally worth it. Not only is it interesting, it’s probably one of the most important topics that’s going to be discussed on the website these days (don’t tell any of the other writers I said that, I’m hugely biased, but still..this is a big deal). Plus if you stay until the end, I promise you a hilarious gif.

Will Ferrell.jpgImage: Flickr: travis

Alright, here goes...The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (aka Addis). Whew. Sounds super boring and why should you care, right? Basically, this is the first major summit of the three big ones this year (the other two being the massive UN General Assembly in September where the Sustainable Development Goals will be announced and the Climate Change summit in Paris this December). This conference determines whether the others, and thus the next 15 years, will be successes or not. Because this is the one where world leaders come together and decide on how we’re going to achieve global development and thus where the world’s priorities lie. Money speaks louder than words, after all. 

We want to put every child in school? Ok, great. How are we actually going to do that? We want to make sure every woman has a safe place to give birth and every girl has a bathroom to use? Yeah, not easy. We want to buy every kid a pony on his/her birthday? No, that’s not actually in there, I’m just checking to see if you’re still paying attention. The point is, there’s a long list of goals that global citizens just like you, and development sector nerds just like me, are rallying so hard behind. But if the leaders in charge of deciding where the world’s resources go don’t make real agreements on how to finance these targets, it will all be for nothing.

Which is why global citizens need to take action right now. We need to demand that the Sustainable Development Goals actually get somewhere once they’re announced in September. The document UN representatives are negotiating right now is the document that will contain the solutions for eradicating extreme poverty and restructuring our societies for long-term shared prosperity. We need to demand that they include tangible outcomes that benefit everyone.

Because of this, we are calling on UN negotiators to include in the Financing for Development outcome document solutions that:

1.) Boost developing countries’ public revenues for poverty reduction through improved domestic governance, regulatory bodies, and cost-effective policy changes i.e. eliminating gender-biased discrimination to allow women’s full participation as economic agents.

2.) Tackle corporate tax avoidance and clamp down on corruption and illicit financial flows to increase resources for social services.

3.) Allocate 50% of development assistance to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by 2020, and donor countries must set timetables immediately to meet the target of committing 0.7% of GNI to development assistance by 2020.

4.) Boost productive capacity, particularly on agricultural development, and increase responsible investment in infrastructure and energy.

Together, global citizens can make sure world leaders show up to Addis with an ambitious framework for addressing the challenges of financing sustainable development for the benefit of all people.

Now here’s that totally unrelated, hilarious gif. You deserve it.