Several countries officially sign in New York a statement supporting the set up of a tax on financial transactions

On Tuesday 21 September 2010, Japan, Belgium and France brought together the most eminent figures committed to innovative financing for development during the United Nations MDG Summit.

“Although significant progress has been made in some countries and areas, exceeding what has been accomplished over the last forty years, a lot remains to be done. We must be innovative to find resources which are stable, predictable and complementary to official development assistance to meet this challenge” underlined Mr Seiji Maehara, Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister.

“Much remains to be done to meet major challenges such as deaths related to lack of water, hunger, and pandemics. Now is the time to act, and innovative financing has a role to play alongside traditional official development assistance” emphasized Mr Charles Michel, Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation.

Her Majesty Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, made a stirring plea for access to education, which is vital in order to speed up progress towards the achievement of all eight MDGs. Innovative financing provides a unique opportunity to make up the financing deficit in education for all. To be fully effective, these mechanisms must be on a global scale, be complementary to traditional official development assistance and generate predictable long-term financing.

Innovative financing has now proven its worth: in barely four years, it has raised over 3 billion additional dollars in the health sector alone, as recalled by Ms Margaret Chan (Director-General, WHO), Mr Philippe Douste-Blazy (Special Advisor to the UNSG) and Mr Erik Solheim (Minister of the Environment and International Development, Norway).

Mr Bernard Kouchner (Foreign Affairs Minister, France), Mr Miguel Angel Moratinos (Foreign Affairs Minister, Spain) and Mr Charles Michel (Minister for Cooperation, Belgium) stressed the need for additional resources and appealed for a contribution on financial transactions for development to be put in place. Ms Helen Clark, Director General of UNDP, underlined the challenges for development that the international community was facing today. The Report of Experts “Globalizing solidarity. The Case for Financial levies” assesses the feasibility of such mechanisms. "The technical and legal feasibility of such a levy on international financial transactions for development is now widely recognised. Today, we must show that it is politically relevant. We call on all members of the Leading Group and beyond to commit to adopting a small levy of this kind on the largest possible scale”, said Ministers.

In that regard Japan, Belgium and France, supported by Norway, Spain and Brazil, have presented a Declaration to place a levy on financial transactions for development. All members of the Leading Group have expressed their support.

The widening of Innovative financing to new sectors has also been discussed on the basis of the expert Report of the Leading Group Task force on Education “2+3 = 8, innovating in financing education”. Mrs Bokova, Director General of UNESCO has underlined the key importance of education to reach all MDGs, and the necessity to bridge the financial gap to reach education for all by 2015.

Furthermore, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the FAO officially announced their membership of the Leading Group and commended its work to highlight the critical need for financing for development, especially when public budgets are under growing pressure.

Mr Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, closed the session by stressing the importance of innovative financing for Africa and inviting the Leading Group to reconvene in Istanbul, Turkey at the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), from 30 May to 3 June 2011.

The Japanese Minister, in his closing remarks, has invited all partners to participate to the next plenary session of the leading group that will take place in Tokyo on December 16-17th.

Comprising 60 countries as well as the main international organisations and NGOs, the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development is working to scale up these new solidarity resources.

Text of the Declaration

21 September 2010

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