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No clarity on how governments will finance poverty reduction goals

The Financing for Development Summit in Addis Ababa has ended disappointingly, with wealthy countries refusing to sign-up to the reforms and spending commitments necessary to tackle extreme poverty. 

This summit was a vital moment for the global community to come together and agree on how to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are due to come into effect in January. The SDGs are ambitious in their desire to end extreme poverty, yet the failure to agree on how to finance them does not bode well. 

Developed countries have failed to agree to essential global tax reforms or to commit additional public. Both of these are essential to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Without them, there is no clarity on how government’s plan to finance the ambitious SDG targets.

Lorna Gold, Trócaire’s Head of Policy, was in Addis.

“Unfortunately, it is largely a missed opportunity,” she said. “The outcome document – the Addis Action Agenda – is very short on concrete action points which governments will deliver on. 

“All the civil society groups present have expressed serious disappointment at the refusal of rich countries to grasp this historic moment to put in place a global tax body which will address serious issues around corporate tax avoidance and evasion. Without tackling tax issues, it is impossible to see how poorer countries can develop.”

One positive of the Addis talks has been the commitment of Ireland to reach the target of delivering 0.7% of Gross National Income on overseas development.  

“Against a backdrop of stagnating development aid and a worrying shift to debt-based financing, Ireland’s continued high quality, grant-based aid programme now sets a gold standard,” said Lorna. “We strongly welcome Ireland’s renewed commitment to the aid programme, and recent signals that every effort will be made to get on track towards 0.7% in the next seven years.”

You can read more reflections from Addis on Lorna Gold’s personal blog

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