Financing for Development

Statement by Mr. Christiaan Rebergen, Director-General International Cooperation,

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands,

New York, 22 May 2017

  • Your Excellency, President of the ECOSOC, distinguished colleagues,
  • It is an honor to speak on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands at this 2nd FfD Forum. I align myself with the EU and will add 3 points in my national capacity.
  • Firstly, the promise to Leave No One Behind and focus on those furthest behind runs like a thread through the major agendas we agreed in 2015; the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
  • Let us not forget this commitment. In fact, this commitment to Leave No One Behind could serve as a litmus test for our work here at the UN: do we, at the global level, serve the poorest and those most in need at country level? If we do not, we should consider changing things.
  • This links to my second point: How do we serve those most in need? That is what Addis is all about, a rich catalogue of concrete actions to implement the SDGs. Now is the time to use this toolkit. We are excited about this challenge and for our part, the global community can count on the continued support of my country as a top 10 donor of the UN system.
  • In addition, we are doubling our contribution to invest in capacities of countries to collect taxes. And, at the policy level, we have offered developing countries the opportunity to renegotiate our bilateral tax treaties, strengthening provisions to prevent abuse.
  • But as a government we recognize we are only one of many players needed to deliver the SDGs. That is why we use our limited resources to catalyze more money and generate investments from others.
  • That is also why we are thrilled that all major players in the Dutch financial sector, with collective assets worth 2,800 billion Euros, have pledged to work toward bringing their investment portfolios more in line with the SDGs. These are the type of partnerships that translate ambition into concrete action.
  • That brings me to my final point. What role can the UN play? This question underlies the UN reform discussion kickstarted by the new Secretary-General. He recently stated that “We must recognize that the UN is not the only actor, and in many cases not even the most important actor.”
  • Most of the key multilateral actors are represented here today. This provides an excellent opportunity for a serious conversation on division of labor at the multilateral level.
  • We need to be specific about the comparative advantages of the UN. The UN has enormous convening power, simply look at this room. We can use this influence to showcase what works and to catalyze action.
  • Last September, here at the UN, our Minister Koenders suggested a moratorium on new and lofty outcome documents until we have delivered on the commitments in the ones we already have.
  • I call upon all of us to use this Forum to do exactly that. Naturally, we are happy we have an outcome document. But I challenge us at next year’s forum to produce not just another negotiated set of political compromises, but a number of concrete partnerships that support SDG-implementation for those most in need, to Leave No One Behind.