CSOs demand openness in newly-established UN committee on sustainable development financing (September 2013)

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Wed, Sep 11, 2013


A letter submitted by CSOs and networks demands that the newly-established intergovernmental committee on Financing for Sustainable Development adheres to well-established rules for participation of civil society in the Financing for Development process.


10 September 2013



H.E. Dr. Mansur Muhtar
Executive Director for Nigeria, Angola and South Africa at the World Bank and
Co-Chair, Expert Committee on Financing for Sustainable Development

H.E. Mr. Pertti Majanen
Former Finnish Ambassador to Ireland and
Co-Chair, Expert Committee on Financing for Sustainable Development

The undersigned organisations wish to reiterate our concern with the denial of inclusion to civil society to contribute to and participate in the upcoming deliberations on Financing Sustainable Development, starting with the first meeting, from 28-30 August, of the Expert Committee on Financing Sustainable Development. (A similar concern was expressed for the first time on a letter by the NGO Committee on FfD, dated July 2, addressed to the Presidents of both the 67th and 68th General Assembly).

We bring a perspective informed by our history of substantive engagement in the Financing for Development follow-up process and our specific expertise on financing for development issues that cuts across not just the UN, but global financial and trade institutions such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. This engagement was made possible at the International Conference on Financing for Development, in Monterrey, where governments enshrined as a core principle of the Financing for Development (FfD) process in the United Nations multi-stakeholder involvement of civil society and the private sector. This principle has been maintained for over 10 years of the FfD follow-up process, including the Doha Review Conference on Financing for Development (held in 2008) and customarily included full access by civil society to negotiations and the possibility for them to have scheduled interventions during the proceedings.

The deliberations of the Expert Committee on Financing for Sustainable Development will affect core issues on the agenda of FfD and, in fact, have the potential to make decisions and shape discourse that will determine the outcome and substance of the Financing for Development process, including that Financing for Sustainable Development matters be merged with sustainable development. Indeed, we regret that a decision on a date for a post-Doha Financing for Development Conference is yet to be made (even though such conference was supposed to be held by 2013).

Civil society has actively worked towards and welcomes the growing recognition that the Sustainable Development agenda must be coherent with, and additional to, the broader development finance agenda. Failure to uphold in this new process the well-established principles and modalities of multi-stakeholder participation agreed in the UN Financing for Development process and to provide a platform to the many civil society organizations with expertise on development finance that have historically engaged in it would be regrettable. It would represent a dramatic retrogression on the status of civil society participation in financing for development discussions at the United Nations, clouding the objectives of generating trust and broader support towards the committee’s outputs. But it would also be a great loss for the Committee insofar as it would exclude a key source of non-governmental inputs that stand to be of great relevance to the workings of this Committee and to governments.

In addition, preventing civil society access to the Financing for Sustainable Development process contradicts the spirit and letter of the Rio+20 outcome "Future We Want," from where such process stems. Paragraph 44 of this document specifically acknowledges the importance of civil society engagement and commits to strengthening access and the enabling environment for civil society participation.

Moreover, depriving both governments and civil society of this achievement made in Monterrey would


be most untimely at a time when the Post-2015 global development agenda is being actively shaped and discussed. We know that any outcomes from the Post-2015 process will be largely ineffective absent of the genuine commitments on financing means to implement them. Since Financing for Sustainable Development will likely affect financing commitments for the Post-2015 global development agenda, disabling civil society’s ability to input on these critical aspects would make a mockery of the extensive participation processes held to provide substantive and influential input into the post-2015 agenda and compromise its avowed pledge to decide on such a significant multilateral agenda in an inclusive and participatory way.

For all the aforementioned considerations, we call upon the Expert Committee on Financing Sustainable Development to immediately take steps to ensure its deliberations adhere to well-established principles and modalities of multi-stakeholder participation agreed in the UN Financing for Development process.

Please accept, Excellencies, the assurance of our highest considerations.








11.11.11. Coordination of the Flemish North South movement


ActionAid International


Africa Development Interchange Network (ADIN)


Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)


Advocates and Trainers for Children andWomen's  Advancements and Rights (ATCWAR)




Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)


Center of Concern


Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul


Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) 


Dominican Leadership Conference


European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad)


Feminist Task Force


Finnish NGDO platform to the EU


Global Policy Forum






Instituto del Tercer Mundo (ITeM)


International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity Network (CIDSE)


International Federation of Business And Professional Women


International Presentation Association of the Sisters of the Presentation


International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)


International Women's Anthropology Conference (IWAC)


Jubilee USA


Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN)


KULU - Women and Development, Denmark


Latin American Network on Debt and Development (Latindadd)


LDC Watch


Loretto Community


Marianists International




Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI)


New Rules for Global Finance


Oxfam International


Reality of Aid Africa


Salesian Missions


Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiation Institute (SEATINI)


Stamp Out Poverty


Third World Network


Third World Network Africa




UBUNTU Forum – World Forum of Civil Society Networks


World Democratic Governance project association - WDGpa