Is public financing of post-2015 development agenda possible?

Paul Quintos, IBON International
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Experts analyze that public financing of post-2015 development agenda is possible, and vested interests are propelling misconceptions that it is not feasible. Paul Quintos from IBON International debunked the myth that 'public finance is not enough'. "We need to examine how can we plug illegal financial flows. Sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Asia and the Pacific alone could cost well over US dollars 1 trillion per year. According to Asian Development Bank (ADB), infrastructure needs alone may require over US dollars 750 billion per year over 2010-2020."

Paul was speaking in a session at Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development before the regional intergovernmental meetings begins in Thailand. He said: "We need to plug the leaks which rob us of public resoruces (such as illicit financial flows, tax evasions and tax avoidance, unfair trade, unjust debt, etc). Instead discussions are overwhelmingly emphasizing the various ways of enticing private sector investments in the name of "Blended finance" (the practice of linking grants provided by official development assistance (ODA) with loans from publicly owned institutions or commercial lenders), or public private partnerships that take the form of agreements that shift the risks associated with private investment to the public sector."

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Paul listed several problems with relying on private finance for development: "Private finance is profit-oriented which results in inequitable provision of public goods and social services. The World Bank independent evaluation group points to major problems with public private partnerships, namely: a) increased costs to the public purse, b) lack of transparency and accountability, and c) high risks which end up shouldered by the public."

Paul advocated strongly for an "international tax cooperation so as to avoid race to the bottom and address tax avoidance and tax evasion, and shut down tax havens. We also need global taxes, particularly on harmful activities including speculation, extractive industries, arms trade, carbon emissions etc. We need to commit adequate public financing for public goods and services, and ensure that essential public services, like healthcare, education, housing and water and sanitation, remain exclusively under public control."

Do not leave people with disabilities and migrants behind!
Kathy Al Ju'beh, CBM
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Kathy Al Ju'beh, Senior Advisor for Inclusive Development, Knowledge, Learning and Training Department (KLT), CBM said: "People with disabilities are just like everybody else – they have the exact same sexual rights, needs, pleasure, abilities, than every other man and woman. It is a myth that people with disabiities are aseuxal or hypersexual! Very often they are stigmatized which does not allow them to fulfill their rights just as everybody else."

Kathy made references to evidence and commitment that exists to make progress on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) related issues for people with disabilities. "The World Disability Report of 2012 has a section on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) related issues of people with disabilities. Also there is a Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities which is critical as it calls for ensuring the rights of people with disabilities to have families, to be saved from violence, among other measures. Imagine a situation where a person has disability and thus already marginalized - how difficult it will be for this person to come out regarding her or his sexuality and risk being even more marginalized! This is why young women and men who may be LGBTIQ, yet are not able to come out and join LGBTIQ commuity due to fear of losing social inclusion, stigmatisation, etc."

Pervez Siddique, BRAC
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Pervez Siddique of BRAC, Bangladesh and one of the focal points for migrants for Asia Pacific Civil Society Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) said to Citizen News Service (CNS): "Migration is a very important issue for post 2015 agenda, especially labour migration. More than 232 million people are migrating globally and trillions worth of US dollars get remitted to their home countries. Many people in Bangladesh depends upon these remittances – US dollars 15 billion worth of remittance is coming in Bangladesh from official channels and it is estimated that another US dollars 15 billion is coming in from unofficial channels. So it is huge amount for sustainability, inequity reduction, and poverty eradication in Bangladesh. According to a World Bank report, 6% of poverty reduction in Bangladesh was attributed to migrants’ remittances sent back home! Post-2015 development framework needs to address human security issues too - both home and destination countries of the migrants have same responsibilities to protect their rights and human security."

Bobby Ramakant, Citizen News Service - CNS
18 May 2015