United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Denmark, Norway and Ireland

9 December 2013
Open Working Group on SDGs
Means of Implementation; Global Partnership for Achieving Sustainable Development
Statement on behalf of Denmark, Ireland and Norway
Mr. Co-chair,
On behalf of Denmark, Ireland and Norway, I have the honour to present a few remarks on the important topic at hand today.
My point of departure is that all states have a primary responsibility for the development within their countries. And we all have a responsibility to adapt the means of implementation to the specific needs and capacities of each one of the countries.
First, let me touch upon finance. Over the last decades, many developing countries have experienced strong economic growth. This has made it possible to strengthen their own economies, and create a stronger basis for national financing of development goals.
National private and public sources of financing will, for most countries, constitute the main source of capital for future investments. Official development assistance is but one out of several important supplementary sources. Its relative importance is declining. But for the poorest countries with scarce resources, it remains indispensable. I would like to state that Denmark, Ireland and Norway stand by our governments’ commitment to contribute 0.7 % of GNI to ODA. This is a testament to our stake in the partnership with developing countries to eradicate poverty, achieve the MDGs and our commitment to aid effectiveness.
That said, it is important that ODA be used more consciously to facilitate the mobilization of domestic resources within developing countries. This includes paying special attention to strengthening the capacities of institutions tasked with sustainable natural resource management, as well as the revenue services. Steps must also be taken to make sure that foreign direct investments continue to play a vital role as a driver for development. It is vital to develop regulatory environments that are conducive to business.
At the same time, ODA should also be used as a catalyst to attract and mobilize more private funds, through the development of business-friendly environments and mechanisms for risk-sharing.
In order to achieve this, strong and innovative partnerships are needed. Multiple stakeholders must be brought to rally around a clear vision and concrete goals, to form partnerships that enjoy leadership and commitment from the highest political level. Good examples already exist, like the Every Woman Every Child initiative, the Scaling Up Nutrition movement and the Energy for All.
Mr. Chair,
It has become increasingly clear that all countries have much to gain by a high degree of financial transparency, and an intensified fight against corruption and tax evasion. According to the Financial Transparancy Coalition, an amount 10 times the value of ODA is siphoned out of developing countries every year through illicit capital flows. Stricter international regulations would make it more difficult for individuals and companies to engage in these practices. Private investors must respect the legitimate right every government has to generate revenues from economic activities within their respective country.
Also, let us not forget debt relief as a crucial part of our efforts to release more funds for sustainable development. Prudent approaches to both borrowing and lending continue to be needed to ensure that debt levels do not become an unsustainable burden on countries. Co-ordinated action is also required to end the non-transparent trading of developing country debt and opportunistic litigation.
Current multilateral processes include the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative. And also the Paris Club has made substantial contributions to address debt issues in a flexible framework that encourages dialogue and facilitates multilateral engagement by debtor countries. We encourage current non-member creditors to join the Club.
Mr. Chair,
I would like to point out that a high level of development financing cannot be achieved or maintained without good governance, combined with respect for human rights and the rule of law. These are prerequisites for achieving a sustainable development. In particular, increased participation by women in the workforce would create a win-win situation.
It is widely recognized that lack of individual and institutional capacity represents a major constraint to development. We need to strengthen technical cooperation programmes within relevant areas, be they North-South, South-South or triangular cooperation ones, including cooperation to overcome domestic barriers to external trade.
Turning to technology, coordinated action by a wide range of actors is essential in order to facilitate the diffusion of badly needed
technological solutions throughout the developing world. Trade and foreign direct investment play an important role in this regard. Much may also be achieved by sharing valuable experience and expertise in relevant areas.
The means of implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals should include measures to facilitate the development and transfer of technology. The involvement of the private sector is crucial in this regard.
Finally, on trade, it should be noted that a global rules-based agreement was reached a few days ago, which should benefit all countries. We know that trade is a strong driver for development and that this should be clearly recognized in the Post-2015 agenda. All economic activity must be based on responsible business practices such as the respect for the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The use of preferential market access for produce and products should continue, and special provisions should apply to least developed countries.
We often see that barriers to trade are greater between developing countries than between developing and developed countries. Efforts should therefore be made to facilitate regional trade, increase international competitiveness and move away from non-diversified trading patterns. In many developing countries there is also a strong need for further assistance in creating competitive productive capacities and improving the business environment. This need should be responded to by bilateral as well as multilateral partners.