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Archive for the tag “Sustainable Development Goals”

UN, World Bank, insurance sector tackle climate vulnerability (06.10.2016)

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NEW YORK, 6 October 2016 – A new public-private partnership between the leaders of the United Nations, the World Bank and the insurance sector has adopted a risk management strategy that seeks to harness insurance to promote economic recovery and resilience to climate hazards and disasters.

The Insurance Development Forum (IDF) said that it has decided to contribute to achieving the G7 “InsuResilience” target of providing 400 million of the most vulnerable people in developing countries with increased access to direct or indirect insurance coverage against the impacts of climate change and related natural catastrophes by 2020.

“For many developing countries with scarce resources, rebuilding is often beyond their means. Typically, a disaster is followed by appeals to bilateral, regional, and international partners for aid relief and financial support,” said Ms. Helen Clark, IDF Co-Chair and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

“This support, however, often falls well short of what is required. Systemic lack of funds and recurrent inefficiency of recovery initiatives on the ground impede progress. Insurance can be an efficient, fast-disbursing mechanism to build back better in vulnerable countries and communities hit by disasters, but also to reduce risks and the costs of risks in the long term.”

The IDF was first announced at the COP21 UN climate summit in Paris in December 2015 and officially launched in April 2016.

It is led by a Steering Committee, chaired by Mr. Stephen Catlin, Deputy Executive Chair of XL Group Ltd., with Co-Chairs Ms. Clark and Mr. Joaquim Levy, World Bank Group Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer. Other Steering Committee members include Mr. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board, and Mr. Robert Glasser, the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, as well as 13 insurance industry CEOs. Additional governmental and public sector organizations are expected to engage in the coming year.

The IDF adopted its insurance-based strategy when it met on the sidelines of the recent UN General Assembly session. It approved a proposal to create a Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), which will assemble public and private insurance industry resources and tools necessary to support governments in building public-private partnerships that will better manage the financial consequences of climate events and natural disasters while increasing the use of insurance in emerging markets and developing countries. Work has begun to secure funds for the programme.

The IDF’s work is linked with a string of UN agreements adopted in 2015 to set the global development agenda for years to come. They include the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“With growing natural disaster losses it is essential that governments learn how to incorporate risk management fundamentals into their planning, budgeting and governing processes so that their citizens can be better protected,” said Mr. Catlin.

Joaquim Levy, IDF Co-Chair and World Bank Group Chief Financial Officer stated that “many emerging market and developing countries lack sufficiently developed insurance markets, which does stifle growth and has a negative impact not only on business but on general welfare, notably among the poorest. The lack of insurance instruments or broader risk-pooling or risk-mitigation mechanisms is also evident in the public sector, affecting government’s ability to respond to natural disasters and other large-scale events”.

Mr. Rowan Douglas, chair of the IDF Implementation Committee and head of the Capital Science and Policy Practice at Willis Towers Watson, said, “We all recognize a unique moment and opportunity to make a huge step forward in the protection of lives, livelihoods and communities – realizing the benefits of insurance across public, private and mutual and cooperative sectors.”

The IDF focuses on members of the “Vulnerable Twenty Group”, which was set up in 2015 and groups the finance ministers of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet in dialogue and action to tackle global climate change.

UN: Debt in Eastern Africa is rising Rapidly, but Remains Manageable (05.08.2016)

East-Africa

The UNCTAD report was presented as a starting point for a discussion organized in Kigali by the Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). 

DAKAR, Senegal, August 5, 2016 – In Eastern Africa, debt stocks have risen rapidly over the past five years, but debt ratios appear to remain manageable, according to the UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa 2016 Report on  “Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa” which was released in July in Nairobi during UNCTAD 14.

The UNCTAD report was presented as a starting point for a discussion organized in Kigali by the Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), with Leonard Rugwabiza, the Chief Economist at the Rwanda Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, acting as the discussant.

Andrew Mold, a senior economist from ECA, recalled that it is estimated that an additional 600 billion USD is needed in Africa every year until 2030 in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Progress towards achieving such ambitious levels of additional finance can only be achieved by relying more on domestic resource mobilization, he argued, particularly since the prospects for ODA are not especially encouraging.

To underpin this point, preliminary econometric research conducted by ECA and presented by Andrew Mold suggests that growth performance in Eastern Africa over the last three decades has been stronger when supported by higher domestic savings, rather than being financed from external sources (such as FDI, debt, or ODA).

Between 2011 and 2014, the annual growth rate of external debt in Eastern Africa has been higher (13.3%) than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa (9%), However, as a percentage of GNI, debt levels are still sustainable, with only two countries in the region (Burundi and Djibouti) currently being deemed at high risk of debt default, according to a recent evaluation of the joint World Bank–International Monetary Fund Debt Sustainability Framework.

In order to increase domestic resource mobilisation, Eastern African countries will also want to stem more effectively illicit financial flows, which currently account for a loss of around -6% of GDP in Africa, according to UNCTAD estimates.

Similarly, remittances and diaspora savings could be leveraged more to provide financial resources in the region, especially in Kenya and Uganda.

UNCTAD Warns on Debt, Says Africa Should Find New Ways to Finance Development

Ghana Currency

This year’s UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2016 finds that Africa’s external debt ratios appear manageable, but African governments must take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s. 

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 21, 2016 – African governments should add new revenue sources to finance their development, such as remittances, public-private partnerships, and a clampdown on illicit financial flows, an UNCTAD report said on Thursday, warning that debt looks unsustainable in some countries.

This year’s UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2016 finds that Africa’s external debt ratios appear manageable, but African governments must take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s.

“Borrowing can be an important part of improving the lives of African citizens,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. “But we must find a balance between the present and the future, because debt is dangerous when unsustainable.”

At least $600 billion will be needed each year to meet the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, according to the report which is subtitled Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa. This amount equates to roughly a third of countries’ gross national income. Official development aid and external debt are unlikely to cover these needs, the report finds.

A decade or so of strong growth has provided many countries with the opportunity to access international financial markets. Between 2006 and 2009, the average African country saw its external debt stock grow 7.8 percent per year, a figure that accelerates to 10 percent per year in the years 2011–2013 to reach $443 billion or 22 per cent of gross national income by 2013.

Several African countries have also borrowed heavily on domestic markets, the report finds. It provides specific examples and analyses of domestic debt in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia. In some countries, domestic debt rose from an average 11 percent of GDP in 1995 to around 19 percent at the end of 2013, almost doubling in two decades.

“Many African countries have begun the move away from a dependence on official development aid, looking to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with new and innovative sources of finance,” Dr. Kituyi said.

The report argues that African countries should look for complementary sources of revenue, including remittances, which have been growing rapidly, reaching $63.8 billion to Africa in 2014. The report discusses how remittances and diaspora savings can contribute to public and development finance.

Together with the global community, Africa must also tackle illicit financial flows; which can be as high as $50 billion per year. Between 1970 and 2008, Africa lost an estimated $854 billion in illicit financial flows, roughly equal to all official development assistance received by the continent in that time.

And while governments should be vigilant of the borrowing risks, public-private partnerships have also started to play a more prominent role in financing development. In Africa, public-private partnerships are being used especially to finance infrastructure. Of the 52 countries considered during the period 1990-2014, Nigeria tops the list with $37.9 billion of investment, followed by Morocco and South Africa.

Statement concerning UNDP, Business Call to Action and Bidco Africa Ltd. (25.02.2016)

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has received a petition from the Bugala Farmers Association in Uganda. 

NEW YORK, United States of America, February 25, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has received a petition from the Bugala Farmers Association in Uganda related to UNDP’s association with Bidco Africa Ltd., as a result of the company’s membership with the Business Call to Action (BCtA). The BCtA is an alliance of several donor and other institutions that challenges companies to use their core business to engage poor populations across their value chains, while contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Bidco Africa Ltd. became a member of the BCtA in September 2015. UNDP hosts the secretariat and is a member of the Donor Steering Committee of the BCtA.

In addition to the petition, a complaint was submitted to UNDP’s Stakeholder Response Mechanism (SRM) and Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU) (UNDP.org/secu-srm).  This request is currently being reviewed for eligibility for either or both channels. The outcome of these reviews will be posted on the SRM Case Registry (APO.af/ztoHfg) and  SECU Case Registry (APO.af/a3HHBf).

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Press Statement: AfDB marks World Statistics Day – “Better Data. Better Lives” (26.10.2015)

AfDB STATS

The African Development Bank (AfDB), one of the leading institutions driving statistical development progress in Africa, joined the world in celebrating World Statistics Day on Wednesday, October 20, 2015. The theme for this year’s event was “Better Data. Better Lives”.

Each year since 2010, World Statistics Day provides a platform for the global statistical community – producers, suppliers, users and all relevant stakeholders – to showcase their achievements and ongoing statistical work. This year’s celebrations follow a significant decision by world leaders to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “The SDG agenda provides the political impetus and will help to shape the course of statistical capacity development in the years to come,” said Oliver Chinganya, Manager of AfDB’s Statistical Capacity Building Division.

As part of the celebrations, the AfDB Statistics Department held a series of seminars from October 19-23, 2015 with the aim of showcasing statistical activities already underway within Bank’s Statistical Capacity Building (SCB) program. Also highlighted were future programs planned in response to the current demands of the Data Revolution and the post-2015 development agenda.

The Bank’s SCB program is expected to gather momentum in response to the UN’s clarion call to harness the Data Revolution in order to enhance sustainable development. This will entail more data communities coming together and collaborating in a sustainable manner in the context of a data ecosystem.

Reliable and timely statistics are crucial for formulating policies that can positively impact the lives of millions of people. Without the numbers, development impacts cannot be measured. “Improved data sources, sound statistical methods, new technologies, and strengthened statistical systems continue to be actively promoted and financially supported through the AfDB’s Statistical Capacity Building Program,” observed Chinganya.

He underlined the importance of accurate and timely statistics being freely available to all stakeholders when they are most needed.

Through its ground-breaking Africa Information Highway (AIH) initiative, the AfDB provides free and open access to all stakeholders including the public, the Bank’s regional member countries, civil society organizations, academic and research institutions, UN agencies, and the media.

The inaugural World Statistics Day was declared by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2010 to recognize the importance of statistics in improving lives.

Statement By H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of Uganda as the Co-Chair of the Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the U.N. (25.09.2015)

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At UN Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

New York 25 September, 2015

Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark and co-chair of the Summit,
Mr. Secretary-General,
President of the General Assembly,
Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to co-chair this important Summit as we gather as a community of nations to adopt a new development agenda that will guide our development efforts for the next 15 years.

This historic Summit is the culmination of months of tireless efforts and unprecedented commitment by Member States and stakeholders to formulate a universal, inclusive and transformative development agenda.

I would like to pay tribute to H.E. Sam Kutesa for his leadership and accomplishments as President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly and thank all of you for supporting Uganda in that responsibility.
I also congratulate and convey appreciation to the President of the 70th Session, H.E. Mogens Lykketoft and the Secretary-General, H.E. Ban Ki-moon for their leadership.
Today heralds the dawn of a new era in our collective efforts towards eradicating poverty, improving livelihoods of people everywhere, transforming economies and protecting our planet.

Together, we are sending a powerful message to people in every village, every city and every nation worldwide ─ that we are committed to taking bold steps to change their lives, for the better.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which we will adopt today, is ambitious in its scope and breadth. In the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development are addressed in an integrated way. The agenda also carries forward the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Over the last fifteen years, we have attained significant achievements through implementing the MDGs. Globally, more than one billion people have been lifted from extreme poverty and improvements have been made in access to education, health, water and sanitation, advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

In Uganda, we have been able to reduce the percentage of people living in extreme poverty from 56% in 2000 to 19% currently. We have also attained universal primary education, promoted gender equality and empowerment of women and continue to reduce child and maternal mortality. From our experience, it has been clear that to sustainably achieve the MDGs we must have socio-economic transformation.

It is, therefore, refreshing that in the successor framework, the SDGs, key drivers of economic growth, have been duly prioritized. These include infrastructure development especially energy, transport and ICT; industrialization and value-addition; human resource development; improving market access and greater participation of the private sector.

While the SDGs will be universally applicable, we also recognize national circumstances, different levels of development and the needs of countries in special situations, particularly the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and African countries.

Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its severe impacts is also prioritised in the new agenda. We should redouble efforts towards reaching an ambitious legally-binding agreement on climate change in Paris in December that promotes the achievement of sustainable development, while protecting the planet.

The new agenda also rightly underscores the important linkages between development, peace and security and human rights. We have to intensify efforts to combat transnational crime, terrorism and the rise of radicalization and violent extremism around the world.

We should reject pseudo ─ ideologies that manipulate identity (by promoting sectarianism of religion and communities) and eclipse the legitimate interests of peoples through investment and trade. Where identity issues are legitimate, they should be expeditiously handled.

Museveni UN 25092015 P2

Excellencies,

We should all be proud of what has been accomplished so far as we usher in this new development agenda. However, the critical next step will be to ensure its successful implementation on the ground.

In this context, integrating the SDGs into our respective national and regional development plans, mobilizing adequate financial resources, technology development and transfer as well as capacity building will be critical.

We have to ensure full implementation of the comprehensive framework for financing sustainable development, which we adopted in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to support achievement of the goals and targets of Agenda 2030.
One of the major challenges many developing countries continue to face is accessing affordable long-term financing for critical infrastructure projects.

In this regard, it will be vital to promptly establish and operationalize the proposed new forum to bridge the infrastructure gap and complement existing initiatives and multilateral mechanisms to facilitate access to long-term financing at concessional and affordable rates.

The efforts of developing countries to improve domestic resource mobilization, boost economic growth and address major challenges such as unemployment should be supported by development partners as well as international financial institutions and regional development banks. We also need to do more to promote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), support entrepreneurship especially for women and youth and enhance the contribution of the private sector and other stakeholders to sustainable development. Through prioritization, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) themselves can also contribute to their own infrastructure development.

In order to build effective, inclusive and accountable institutions at all levels, we have to ensure that the voices of developing countries and regions are heard and that they are treated as equal partners in multilateral decision-making. At the international level, we need urgent reform of the United Nations ─ particularly the Security Council ─ and other multilateral institutions to reflect the current geo-political realities.

We need a renewed global partnership for development in which all the commitments made, including on Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), trade and investment are fulfilled.

While the Agenda represents the collective aspirations of all peoples, its success will hinge on its ability to reduce inequalities and improve the lives of the most vulnerable among us, including women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

After months of intense negotiations and steadfast commitment, we have before us an Agenda that represents our best opportunity to transform our world.

We have heard the voices of people spanning the globe; from eager children asking for access to a quality education to young women seeking better maternal health; from rural villagers whose farmlands have been ravaged by droughts to the coastal fishermen on Small Island States who fear their entire existence will soon be swallowed up by rising sea levels.

We continue to witness the influx of refugees and migrants into Europe from Africa and the Middle East, which is partly caused by conflict and lack of economic opportunities.

These voices may speak many language and dialects, but in the end their message is the same ─ please help us to live happier, more prosperous lives, while also protecting the planet for our children and grandchildren.

After adoption of this Agenda, it is incumbent upon us all to take the development aspirations laid out in this document and turn them into reality on the ground; for our people, our communities and our nations. This agenda will create global prosperity different from the past arrangements of prosperity for some through parasitism and misery and under-development for others.

I thank you for your attention.

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