CSOs issue communique on 3rd UN conference on financing for development

Over 38 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and some members of the media fraternity in Ghana met at a day’s workshop in Accra to discuss how post-2015 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda will be financed.

The consultation was aimed at seeking views and insights of the public, CSOs and media on development financing and to use the outcome to influence government’s decisions and strategies.

Read below the communique issued the civil society groups at the end of the workshop.

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS (CSOs) CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOP HELD IN ACCRA ON 9TH JUNE 2015 AT ANGE HILL HOTEL TO DISCUSS THE PROCESSES AND ISSUES ARISING IN THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE THIRD UN CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT (FFD3)

We, representative of 38 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and media drawn from the Greater Accra region at a CSOs- Media consultative workshop convened on 9th June in Accra by SEND-GHANA with support from IBIS Ghana and Christian Aid to discuss the processes and issues arising in the preparations for the Third UN Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) hereby present this communiqué in recognizance of the fact that, the Addis Ababa Outcome, along with the Post-2015 and SDGs agenda to be adopted in September this year as well as the December 2015 UNFCCC COP meeting in Paris, are extremely important moments that will greatly influence the direction and objectives of Policy in the International Development Cooperation arena.

Appreciate the efforts of Africa continental bodies such as the AU Commission and the UN Economic Commission for Africa to propose alternatives to orient Africa’s positions, through the Joint African Elements Paper on FFD3, issued at the Africa Regional Consultation on FFD in March this year, and trust Ghana government to continue our work towards the common aspiration of the Equitable and Sustainable Economic, Environmental, Social and Democratic Transformation of Africa.

Recognizing that the most comprehensive assessments of the previous or existing FFD outcomes, Monterrey (2002) and Doha (2008), and their impact on Africa shows that any progress that was made was only in 2 areas – international resources and debt. But they are proving short-lived and insecure; the gains remain imbalanced, easily reversible and can themselves become new threats.

Aware that FFD3 is being negotiated in a context where the downturn in the commodity boom and in global economic growth will greatly exacerbate the vulnerabilities confronting Africa, thus making Ghana suffer from decline in export earnings, increase in borrowing and a decline in job growth.

Wish to state that, the input of Ghana’s CSOs working with development issues at this stage of the FfD3 process aims to improve the process of participation and to promote the harmonization of diverse concerns and in the process of doing so expect that consultative processes in Ghana would be deepened and improved right up until the Addis Conference

Given that deliberations the Third and Final Drafting Sessions for the Addis Ababa outcome are being negotiated at the UN in New York. Even at this time, it has become imperative that CSOs in Ghana and elsewhere weigh in with their interventions and inputs to improve the chances of promoting Ghana and Africa’s Development prospects as well as the content and processes that define Development Policy here in Ghana.

Acknowledging the short time left in the FfD3 process and in accordance with Ghana’s own priority defined issues in the FfD3 process, recommendations herein are made for:

Process and Participation
•A pre and post Addis briefing of CSOs about Ghana’s positions, state of affairs in FfD3, implications for Addis Ababa outcomes and for the post-2015 process after the third and final draft of the Addis Ababa draft accord has been released.

•An inclusion of CSO representation in the national delegation to Addis and optimal facilitation of participation of CSOs in Addis.

•Outline of Programme of Participatory Consultation of CSOs for SDGs/Post-2015

•Outline of inclusive mechanisms for Follow Up and M & E for FFD and Post2015 implementation and review

Prioritise Domestic Resource Mobilisation by doing the following:

•Build strong institutions, develop systems and structures and a comprehensive policy framework to address tax evasion/avoidance/dodging

•Support and promote the upgrade of the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax matters, including double taxation treaties, transfer pricing, exchange of information, the taxation of extractive industries and capacity building to an intergovernmental committee. And also consider shifting this issue to the section on Systematic Issues of the draft Outcome Document.

• Facilitate and prioritize domestic production capacities and domestic businesses; comprehensively review past failures of Development banks for the re-design and prioritise development of national, regional, district, as well as sectoral development banks as the centre of domestic financial deepening and intermediation.

•Prioritise enhancement of SMSE’s and appropriate financial system and investment regime to champion job creation. Policy development should be facilitated to direct financial services and investments through appropriate intermediation and deepening within an integrated national finance system to key sectors for real economies like agriculture to promote income.

For Domestic and International Business and Finance;

•Review capital controls to stem outflows and direct inflows

•Review tax discrimination against domestic business and policy and regulations for foreign private finance.

•Positive discrimination and ring fence local finance

•Regulate the private sector in line with Sustainable Development Goals, human and labour rights and ensure gender equity. Most importantly, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) should only be chosen if other less expensive and less risky financing options are demonstrably unavailable.

Under International Public Finance, Government should;

•Tie Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to national ownership in production and trade and construct required M&E for it

•Promote transparency and win-win terms of ODA

•Ensure that foreign content does not exceed 30% for human resource and 50% for technology inputs/outputs in all ODA –related programmes and projects

Conclusion
We commend government for all the policy initiatives that have been introduced towards promoting the growth of the economy but along with the rest of Africa, Ghana must ensure the meaningful application of the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR). We, the CSOs pledge to continue our work towards the common aspiration of the equitable and sustainable transformation of Africa.


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