Event Summary - Insider's Access: Third International Conference on Financing for Development

On July 16th, 2015 the Bretton Woods Committee hosted a virtual conference featuring, Joachim von Amsberg, Vice President of Development Finance at the World Bank, who provided expert analysis on outcomes from the Third International Conference on Financing for Development live from Addis Ababa. Robert (Bob) J. Berg, Bretton Woods Committee member and former senior advisor to UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, and the UN Economic Mission to Africa moderated the discussion.

Von Amsberg reviewed the conference’s expected outcomes and provided his impressions on the overall success of the conference. He was encouraged by the paradigm shift he witnessed around the development financing dialogue from the ideology of previous conferences to the more concrete solutions put forward in Addis. In order to meet the ambitious set of proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is clear that all players–bilaterals, multilaterals, private sector, and particularly developing countries themselves–will need to step up to help unlock the trillions of dollars necessary to finance and successfully implement the post-2015 agenda. In Von Amsberg’s view, the conference was successful in bringing all of the players to the table–including business leaders, NGOs, and policymakers–facilitating a constructive dialogue, and carving out roles to which all could commit.

He highlighted the key components of the joint World Bank, IMF, and multilateral development banks (MDBs) strategy–“From Billions to Trillions”–that offers their collective vision and outlines the roles of key contributors. The approach emphasizes a changing role for official development finance (ODA) with the purpose of improving public expenditure effectiveness and better leveraging these traditional resources to mobilize significantly more domestic public resources and private sector investment. Domestic resource mobilization of emerging and developing countries was $1.2 trillion in 2000 and rose to $7.7 trillion in 2012, hence there is optimism for the prospects of additional domestic resources.

Additionally, of particular importance will be improved domestic and international tax structures as well as sound political and business environments within developing countries that will attract increased investment. The Bretton Woods institutions and MDBs are well-positioned to play a central role in helping to catalyze additional resources and in channeling them to support the SDGs and the actions likely to be agreed in December addressing climate change. Von Amsberg indicated that there seemed to be consensus around these new roles for donors and was optimistic for its long-term success and impact.

The virtual conference concluded with Q&A from audience participants, where Von Amsberg addressed ways in which lessons from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were applied to the SDGs, the relationship between development finance and climate change finance, and new Bank innovations in mobilizing finance. Von Amsberg felt that the Addis Ababa Conference has been a good platform to generate momentum for the climate change negotiations concluding in Paris later this year, and closed by saying that smart investment in development has great spillover effects on climate change prevention and protection of the environment.

To listen to the full audio of the virtual conference, please click here.

To view the joint World Bank, IMF, MDBs “From Billions to Trillions” paper, please click here.

To view the Addis Ababa conference outcome document, please click here.