(Brussels, Addis Ababa, 08/07/2015) – As negotiations ahead of the third Financing for Development Conference continue to stall, many including in particular civil society in the EU and globally are looking to the EU to live up to its commitments and show willing to agree an ambitious outcome. True, transformational change in tackling poverty, reforming the global financial system and architecture will only be possible if real ambition is backed up by real action.

European civil society together with the global CSO community expects the EU to assume its responsibility and turn intent into action. We remind Europe of its legally binding obligation to Policy Coherence for Development. The EU must support an agreement in Addis Ababa that will advance structural transformation in the global financial system.

“The sense of urgency is greater than ever. In the increasingly complex and challenging world we live in it becomes ever more urgent to step up to the plate and say, enough is enough. Political commitments enshrined in written documents must become actionable. The EU, as one of the major players, must take leadership in supporting an equal, just, dignified live for all people, wherever they are. A good first step would be to look into the mirror and act upon anything you would not like see happening to you and your own people,” said Izabella Toth (Cordaid), CONCORD Europe’s Board member.

Key messages

• The historic 0.7% ODA/GNI target is one of the most important barometers of EU’s commitment to sustainable development and a signal of the EU’s credibility as a negotiating partner. Slow progress in achieving the EU’s aid commitments has eroded trust in the EU as a major global development actor. It is therefore vital that Addis Ababa conference is used as an opportunity for the EU to change this narrative and renew its political emphasis on delivering on aid promises. CONCORD calls for a (re-)commitment to strong, binding ODA targets that are backed up by concrete, verifiable timetables at the national level that outline clearly how and where the EU and its member states are going to scale up their aid budgets to meet 0.7% by 2020 and with no excuses to justify potential failure. This also needs to include a commitment to providing 50% of ODA to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), in order to reverse the current trend which has seen aid to the countries most in need decline.
• In terms of aid quality and priorities, EU MSs are right to call for efforts to deepen the catalytic impact of aid. However, the current EU/donor approach to such a concept needs refocusing on aid as a catalyst for domestic resources, the realization of people’s rights, empowerment and gender equality rather than viewing aid as means to leverage private finance with no sustainable development criteria. Bold steps to improve the additionality, transparency and accountability of blending modalities and PPPs have to be taken to ensure that EU aid truly catalyses sustainable development outcomes.
• While we welcome the EU’s priority focus to support countries efforts to raise resources to support sustainable development, it must announce how it will tackle its policies- or lack of policy action to end capital flight and illicit financial flows out of developing countries and to tax havens in the EU. Tax cooperation in an inclusive forum where rules and standards that serve the needs of all countries are adopted, is equally essential. The Addis Ababa outcome document should reflect an international agreement on an intergovernmental tax body under the auspices of the UN.
• The EU’s commitment to improving development and aid effectiveness must equally be backed up by concrete timetables to fully implement Paris, Accra and Busan commitments including fully untying aid, aligning international public finance with country budget systems and enhancing inclusive, broad-based models of local and national ownership.
• The EU must support the strengthening of the Financing for Follow-up process which remains an essential space for UN member states to work together in an inclusive way to tackle obstacles that prevent the global financial system from supporting sustainable development.

ENDS

Notes to editors
1. Next steps: UN General Assembly meeting to agree the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework in September and the Paris UN Climate Conference in December
2. The CSO Forum will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 11-12, 2015, and will be se-organized by the CSO FfD Group (more information)
3. CONCORD is the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs. It represents NGOs from all 28 EU member states, as well as 20 international networks and 3 associate members.
4. CONCORD Europe’s delegation to the Third Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa consists of Jean Saldanha (chair of CONCORD Europe’s FFD Task Force), Izabella Toth (CONCORD Europe’s Board member), Sabine Terlecki (Head of Policy and Advocacy), and Dorota Sienkiewicz (Policy and Advocacy Coordinator)
5. CONCORD Europe delegation’s spokespersons present in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (11-16 July): Jean Saldanha (Saldanha@cidse.org) and Izabella Toth (Izabella.Toth@cordaid.nl)
6. CONCORD Europe communication and logistics team working from Brussels, Belgium: Maria Galeone (Maria.Galeone@concordeurope.org), Soledad Briones (Soledad.Briones@concordeurope.org) (communications) and Leonardo Rossi (Leonardo.Rossi@concordeurope.org) (logistics)