United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement by Md. Mustafizur Rahman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Sixth Session of Open-ended Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals on the Means of Implementation
New York, 10 December 2013
Mr. Chairman,
Yesterday, we have heard five distinguished speakers as well as a number of national presentations and remarks covering the whole range of means for effective implementation of the post 2015 development agenda. My delegation will also speak on various means of implementation with reference to technology, knowledge sharing and capacity building at the later part of this intervention.
The statements made by Fiji –on behalf of G-77 and China - and Benin - on behalf of the LDCs – has already provided our broader perspectives.
As such, we will limit our remarks on certain areas we consider key in this context.
Let me start with the basic premise, i.e. SDGs are supposed to be primarily ‘development’ goals. At the last OWG session, UNCTAD Secretary General emphasized it well enough. This is about making ‘structural changes’ and ‘transformative shifts’; and also about enhancing productive capacities, especially of the economies with lesser endowment and capabilities. So, as we are about to adopt a new set of development goals, the developed world needs to fulfill their commitments undertaken, particularly within the framework of MDGs, under the auspices of Doha Round, UNFCCC, Monterrey, etc. We are encouraged to hear from the OECD representative that ‘there is abundance of funds and the issue is to direct the money to right places’! It is actually the political will that is what is needed the most.
Within the ‘means’, we heard it loud that for countries like LDCs, there would be continuing primacy for ODA given the unique economic vulnerabilities and risks and systemic constraints they confront. A sustainable development financing strategy must re-affirm commitment to 0.7% ODA target, and within that 0.15% - 0.20% for the LDCs. We are pleased to note some countries have met their commitments, we would encourage others to follow suit.
Given the changed context, we are ready to consider options beyond ‘public money’. But, each of the myriad sources of financing - public, private, domestic and international - has distinct nature, role and objective. They are to complement, but not substitute, one another. Private sector financing, for instance in STI is inherently profit-seeking; and can hardly be suitable to meet crucial social sector requirements or provision of global public goods. ‘Innovative financing’ must have meaningful scope; and potential sources must not rely on public budgets, rather look for other possibilities, for instance, financial transaction taxes and issuance of SDRs for development needs. It would be interesting to see how the new architecture of development cooperation evolves within OECD – as Mr. Solheim said yesterday - especially in financing eradication of extreme poverty, of global public goods; and thus to serve as lynchpin for a sustainable development financing strategy.
If we are to widen role of private sector, ensuring accountability of private actors and to safeguard the sovereign policy space of the recipient developing countries is critical. It would be even more necessary within deepening global supply chain. Surely, benchmarks on ‘responsible business conduct’, especially for the MNEs operating in the developing world, could be useful.
Trade can be an important enabler of sustainable development. Rule-based, equitable multilateral trade regime is the demand of the day. We are happy to note the encouraging developments in Bali. This progress needs to be sustained through early implementation of the adopted provisions.
Similarly, given the robust size and potential, we recognize the significant role that the remittance can play in development financing. But, we would need clear MRV for remittance to be least-costly and socially beneficial for the origin countries. At the same time, if FDI is to be included in the tool box of means of implementation, it would require origin countries to leverage certain investments to flow into sectors where long-term capacity gaps – for example, in health, education, agriculture, climate change adaptation – are to be met. And, we already have numerous good examples on all those fronts that can be emulated in a greater scale..
Mr. Co-chair,
Unlike anytime in the past, transfer of technology, development and capacity building have emerged as key elements in the overall development endeavor. In an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, with evolution of ICT, the developing countries have the opportunity to prosper fast. On the other hand, these countries have the risks of getting further marginalized in case they fail to reap such benefits.
Transfer of technologies – particularly in the area of basic livelihood or the ‘life-saving’ circumstances that are critical for the survival of vast majority of poor in low income countries. Transfer of such innovation cannot be left to market forces. In that regard, we note with hope the successes of a few global partnerships, like GAVI, CGIAR, CSISA. It would be worthwhile to try similar innovative partnerships leveraged through public support, in areas like, heath, education and agriculture. This would be particularly helpful to LDCs or low-income countries.
While technology development, in certain areas, could embrace innovative partnerships with committed and demonstrated non-governmental stakeholders, their involvement must not be in lieu of the commitments of the States. Technologies developed through such partnerships, particularly, those are linked with lives support and livelihoods ones, must be made available to the vulnerable countries or countries with special needs preferably through UN or other multilateral institutions, and in affordable terms and prices.
In case of LDCs, the emerging Technology Bank holds promise. Over the next two years, we would look forward to its early operationalization with the support of our partners in terms of the Bank’s scope, modalities and resources availability. If fully resources, the proposed Bank has the potential to be an effective mechanism that can break the log-jam in technology transfer in the LDCs.
Finally, we would need enhanced, robust provisions and commitments on technology – in terms of development and transfer. A strong focus on STI would be crucial. Director of CERN
suggested a few practical options, yesterday. Here, a target, for instance, could make STI available on the basis of ‘open access principles’. We look forward to actively engage, as the opportunities come in designing such a target.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.