Pri­vate sec­tor ‘key’ to achieve new UN goals

Lesotho Times - - International - Boy be­trays mafia fa­ther

UNITED NA­TION — As world lead­ers bran­dish a hard-fought new set of global goals de­signed to im­prove lives in all coun­tries, the ques­tion of who foots the tril­lion-dol­lar bill re­mained open on Satur­day as fi­nan­cial pledges started rolling in.

The United Na­tion’s 193 mem­ber coun­tries on Fri­day adopted 17 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGS) as a roadmap to end poverty and hunger, fight in­equal­ity and con­quer cli­mate change over the next 15 years, or 800 weeks.

The goals tack­ling is­sues in both rich and poor coun­tries re­place an ear­lier UN ac­tion plan, the Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals, which fo­cused mainly on poverty in de­vel­op­ing na­tions.

While aid funds and debt re­lief were key for the mil­len­nium goals, there is wide recog­ni­tion of the need for other sources for the es­ti­mated $3 tril­lion a year needed to en­act the SDGS.

The World Bank, with other de­vel­op­ment banks, coined the phrase “Bil­lions to Tril­lions” to il­lus­trate the chal­lenge.

Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) Sec­re­tary-gen­eral An­gel Gur­ria said pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion was crit­i­cal while gov­ern­ments need to strengthen tax and reg­u­la­tory sys­tems to en­cour­age in­vest­ment.

“With­out the pri­vate sec­tor, it is not go­ing to hap­pen, as we have bud­getary con­straints in ev­ery coun­try,” Gur­ria told the Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion in an in­ter­view.

“You’ll have a lot of pledges but you’ll need a frame­work to al­low the flows (of fi­nance) to then hap­pen nat­u­rally.”

A July con­fer­ence in Ad­dis Ababa ad­dress­ing SDG fund­ing is­sues made clear that pri­vate sec­tor as well as phil­an­thropic foun­da­tions had a ma­jor role to play, with pri­vate en­ter­prise the main source of eco­nomic growth and job cre­ation, out­siz­ing donor na­tion funds.

Mean­while, the world’s rich­est na­tions again com­mit­ted to a tar­get of ear­mark­ing 0.7 per­cent of gross na­tional in­come for over­seas de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance — although few meet that level in prac­tice — which now stands at about $135 bil­lion ion a year.

Pledges of fund­ing nd­ing started to roll in dur­ing the UN three-day day SDG sum­mit that ends on Sun­day.

UN Sec­re­tary-gen­eral ry-gen­eral Ban Ki-moon an­nounced more than $25 bil­lion in ini­tial com­mit­ments over five years from 40 coun­tries and more thann 100 in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions to help endnd pre­ventable deaths of women, chil­dren andd ado­les­cents.

Con­tri­bu­tions s to boost fund­ing for gen­der equal­ity pow­er­men­tr­ment in­cluded $5 mil­lion from Chi­nese e-com­merce-com­merce gi­ant the Alibaba ba Group and $1 mil­lion fro­mom the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion.

Chi­nese Pre­sies­i­dent Xi Jin­ping ng un­veiled an inini­tial pledge of $2 bil­lion with aims to in­crease that to $12 bil­lion by 2030.

He len Clark, ad­min­is­tra­tor of the United Na­tions D e v e l o p - ment Pro­gramme, said the agenda would not be achieved with­out busi­ness — and that meant en­sur­ing sta­bil­ity and good gov­er­nance in coun­tries to sup­port big part­ner­ships.

“Busi­ness is at­tracted to where there is a solid and able en­vi­ron­ment and ba­sic rule of law, com­mer­cial law, dis­pute res­o­lu­tion, peace­ful and in­clu­sive so­ci­eties,” said Clark, the for­mer New Zealand prime min­is­ter.

“For us, it’s fun­da­men­tally not about fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions that busi­ness makes to UN agen­cies. It’s about shared val­ues ... the way busi­ness does busi­ness. Is it in­clu­sive, and is it sus­tain­able?”

Cen­tre­piece to fund­ing talks has been a fo­cus on help­ing coun­tries boost their do­mes­tic re­sources by im­prov­ing tax col­lec­tion and at­tack­ing tax eva­sion and il­licit cash flows.

While some crit­i­cise this as tin­ker­ing with a bro­ken global tax sys­tem, Gur­ria said SDG fund­ing does not need new ini­tia­tives but can build on and im­prove ex­ist­ing struc­tures.

He called for a team of “tax in­spec­tors with­out borders” to build trust in coun­tries’ sys­tems and boost in­vest­ment.

“If you get it right, you can get tril­lions,” Gur­ria said.

But it is agreed that fund­ing alone was not enough to achieve the global goals, with pol­icy changes needed to sup­port the pri­or­i­ties.

Michael Green, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the So­cial Progress Im­per­a­tive which analy­ses coun­tries’ progress on so­cial mea­sures, said eco­nomic growth alone would not meet the SDGS, which deal with sub­jects rang­ing from energy sub­si­dies to de­vel­op­ing genebanks.

“The SDGS are about po­lit­i­cal will and in­clu­sion,” Green told the Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion. “We have the re­sources if we use them prop­erly for this is not just about money.” — Reuters ROME — An 11-year-old boy has be­come the youngest-ever mafia in­for­mant, shar­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tors the se­crets of his jailed fa­ther’s crim­i­nal trade, Ital­ian media re­ported on Mon­day. The un­named boy is the son of 36-year-old Gre­go­rio Mal­vaso, who was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber 2014 on sus­pi­cion of be­ing a lead­ing mem­ber of the Ndrangheta Mafia in San Fer­di­nando, a coastal town near the tip of Italy’s boot.

“My dad was part of this clan,” the boy was quoted as telling pros­e­cu­tors by the La Repub­blica news­pa­per, whose re­port re­lied on doc­u­ments re­lated to Mal­vaso’s ar­rest p pre­sented in court last week.

“Dad used to do what­ever he wanted within the clan, he was the boss’ right­hand man,” the child re­port­edly said. “Of course I know what a mafioso does, he deals drugs, he shoots, it’s nor­mal ... In town I’ve heard ev­ery­body talk about the ‘Ndrangheta, even my older friends.”

— dpa WAR­SAW — Rus­sia’s am­bas­sador to Poland has partly back­tracked from an ac­cu­sa­tion that Poland bears some blame for start­ing World War II be­cause of its poli­cies in the 1930s, words that out­raged Poles.

Sergey An­dreev said on Mon­day he had no in­ten­tion of of­fend­ing the Pol­ish na­tion and added: “I re­gret that I wasn’t suf­fi­ciently pre­cise.”

He spoke to re­porters af­ter be­ing sum­moned to the For­eign Min­istry fol­low­ing com­ments in a TV in­ter­view that sparked the up­roar. World War II be­gan af­ter Nazi Ger­many and the Soviet Union sealed a se­cret pact in 1939 to di­vide Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe. Mil­lions of Pol­ish cit­i­zens died in the con­flict.

An­dreev on Fri­day de­scribed Soviet ac­tions as an act of self-de­fence, not ag­gres­sion. — Reuters

Jose An­gel Gur­ria

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