Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

Remarks by EU Commissioner Mimica – United Nations Roundtable on Implementation of commitments in the Addis Agenda and other FfD outcomes

New York, 23/05/2017 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 171206_1
Statements on behalf of the EU

Remarks by Commissioner Neven Mimica at the United Nations Ministerial Roundtable on Steps taken towards implementation of commitments contained in the Addis Agenda and other FfD outcomes.

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is almost two years since the international community gathered in Addis Ababa to agree a new approach to financing to underpin the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In that declaration world leaders agreed “to establish a holistic and forward-looking framework and to commit to concrete actions to deliver on the promise of that agenda.” This means fully harnessing public, private, domestic and international support.

Since we last met, the European Commission has taken a number of concrete actions to deliver on our promises.

Last autumn we brought forward proposals – which we expect to see signed at the highest political level in June – for a new European Consensus on Development, setting out a new collective vision for the European Union and all of our Member States.

The purpose of this exercise is princely to align European development policy with the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda – and to make it fit for addressing the complex global challenges of today.

At the heart of this new approach, is a commitment to maximise the European Union’s development impact, by mobilising and making effective use of all means of implementation. This includes greater investment and better use of domestic resources, which we highlighted as key drivers of development.

In my brief intervention today I would like to highlight progress on three important and innovative action areas:

  • increasing domestic resource mobilisation, including through fighting tax evasion, tax avoidance and illicit financial flows,
  •  generating greater investment for development,
  • and improving the efficiency and effectiveness our development cooperation.

In Addis back in 2015 we already outlined our approach to improving domestic resource mobilisation, through our “collect more, spend better” approach. We have also committed to collectively double our assistance in the areas of domestic revenue mobilisation and tax cooperation by 2020, in the context of the Addis Taxi Initiative.

Since then we have been working to deliver at the global, regional and national level.

Globally, we allocated EUR 12 million in 2016, and a further EUR 17 million for 2017, of support for multilateral initiatives managed by the IMF, the OECD, the World Bank and the United Nations. This includes our support to the participation of developing countries in the UN tax sub-committees.

At the regional level, we are engaging intensively with tax networks supporting our partner countries, such as the African Tax Administration Forum and the Inter-American Centre of Tax Administrations.

And we are taking further action nationally to enhance economic governance through policy dialogue and other measures. In 2016, the Commission committed over EUR 3 billion for budget support programmes in 89 countries worldwide.

At the same time we are also exploring ways of stimulating greater public and private sector investment, notably through proposals presented last September for a new European External Investment Plan.

With just over EUR 4 billion from the EU budget we hope to generate at least EUR 44 billion, and perhaps as much as EUR 88 billion, of additional much-needed investment in so-called higher risk sectors or fragile states in Africa and the EU neighbourhood.

This concept of ‘additionality’ is very important to us. In others words, encouraging investment where the market would not normally go.

Alongside financial guarantees to de-risk investments, we will also offer policy and technical support to improve the overall business environment.

We want to generate the investment needed to address the significant economic, social and environmental challenges, and in particular to create opportunities for women and young people.

This new Plan could, for example, help to:

  • get new renewable energy projects off the ground;
  • encourage lending by local banks to SMEs for employment, including of migrant or returning workers; or
  • provide crop and natural disaster insurance to increase sustainable agriculture.

 

The investment plan will be embedded in the EU’s overall foreign policy as part of our dialogue and cooperation with partner countries, thereby promoting synergies and policy coherence for development. The legislative procedures for the plan will conclude in July, with the aim being for the plan to become operational in the autumn.

Of course Official Development Assistance will continue to be important, particularly for the least developed countries.

In 2016 EU development assistance increased for the fourth consecutive year – reaching EUR 75.5 billion – an increase of 11 percent. The new European Consensus will also reaffirm our collective commitment to dedicating 0.7 percent of our Gross National Income as Official Development Assistance, with an even more ambitious target for ODA going to least developed countries.

But our commitment to be the world’s leading donor of development assistance is not just about being the biggest, but also the best.

This is why the new European Consensus and the EU Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy call for a strong focus on development effectiveness and better working together, through more joint programming and joint actions with our Member States.

As of January 2017 joint programming was being discussed in 56 countries globally, with 20 countries already adopting or in the process of adopting joint EU strategies.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This is just a brief overview of some of the new, innovative approaches the European Commission has put forward over the last twelve months to meet the challenges of financing our significant global ambitions.

We are fully aware we cannot do this alone –  but we are determined to fully play our part and support others in their efforts in a spirit of true partnership.

I very much look forward to hearing from the other interventions in the room how we can work better together for the benefit of our people and planet.

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