We, members of more than 600 civil society organizations and networks from around the world that have been engaged in the process leading up to and including the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa, July 13-16 2015), convened a CSO Forum in advance of the conference. We have the following reflections and recommendations to convey to the Member States of the United Nations and the international community. We want to express appreciation for the participation and access civil society was accorded in the preparatory process so far.

As the first in three important UN Summits on sustainable development this year, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (“Addis Agenda”) has the opportunity to set the tone for an ambitious and transformative agenda that will tackle the structural injustices in the current global economic system, as well as ensuring that all development finance is people-centred and protects the environment.The world faces challenges in the form of historic levels of inequality within and among countries, the confluence of financial, food and environmental crises, the underprovision of essential services and pronounced employment deficits. However, the draft outcome document does not yet rise to the challenges that the world currently faces, nor does it contain the leadership, ambition and practical actions that are necessary.

In what follows, we highlight our overarching concerns about the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (“Addis Agenda”), followed by our reflections and suggestions on its different aspects.

The Addis Agenda as it stands undermines agreements in the Monterrey Consensus of 2002 and the Doha Declaration of 2008. It is also hardly suited to function as the operational Means of Implementation (MoI) for the, post-2015 development agenda, which is one of the goals of this conference, and to inspire the hope of reaching a successful agreement towards COP 21 in Paris.

The Third Financing for Development (FFD) conference must unequivocally assert that development processes should be led by countries under the ultimate responsibility of the States through participatory processes to include all right-holders. The principles of democratic ownership and leadership have been affirmed in many global forums since Monterrey and it is now time to place it at the heart of the whole financing framework as a fundamental qualification of countries’ policy space, which the draft Addis Agenda itself recalls. An enabling environment for civil society agency is essential.