The inaugural ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development follow-up was held from 18 to 20 April 2016, but it did not bring results. Despite ongoing negotiations between governments, the meeting did not produce any substantive outcomes. The outcome document provides four articles that basically affirms the current process and agenda. As one CSO report described it, it “ended up being as good as a blank sheet of paper”.
One notable development was that the meeting also provided a platform for launching a new Platform for Collaboration to coordinate tax efforts between the IMF, OECD, UN, World Bank Group. While governments in the South had advocated for a stronger tax mechanism during the Financing for Development Conference in 2015, in the end the outcome document had included a weaker formulation. “Civil society considers this new platform as yet another distracting measure from addressing the key concern of developing countries in creating an inclusive Tax Body”.
Civil Society representatives of the Women Working Group and the CSO on Financing for Development actively lobbied governments for a strong outcome and spoke during the meeting. WIDE+ is an active member to the Women Working Group.
Caroline Usikpedo-Omoniye who spoke on behalf of the Women Working Group and the CSO on Financing for Development reiterated that the Finance for Development Agenda Document lacks a consistent and explicit human rights based approach for women and girls and called for structural changes in the global economic governance and development architecture. She noted that: “We realized that the global partnership between developed and developing countries established in the Monterrey Consensus has been weakened by the developed countries through their promotion of multi-stakeholder partnerships and lack of commitment to address systemic issues in the United Nations” .
Ranja Sengupta spoke on trade on behalf of the CSO FFD group and called upon the Member States to take action on Para 91 of the AAAA that mandates Member States to ensure public policy objectives are not compromised by trade and investment agreements, as well as target 17.15 of the SDGs on policy space. “FTAs including the mega FTAs and the International Investment Agreements are severely compromising governments’ policy and regulatory space through provisions such as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), government procurement liberalisation, higher Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) standards and competition policy, but we do not yet see clear global measures that can address these challenges”.