Can A UN Conference Solve the Riddle of Financing Sustainable International Development?

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A hugely consequential UN conference kicks off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week. It has has not gotten a tremendous amount of media attention, but it is pretty big deal for most of the world. At the heart of this conference is one very big question: can the idealism embedded in principles of sustainable development actually be paid for? Who will pony up the funds? And how?

The conference is officially called the “Third International Conference on Financing for Development”  The decisions and announcements made at this conference will have a profound effect on whether or not the world can fulfill the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals, including eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

Here to put the conference in context and explain what official and unofficial outcomes might look like is Minh-Thu Pham of the United Nations Foundation. We discuss the big points of convergence and contention between countries as they were negotiating the outcome document of this conference, and we have a deeper discussion of how this conference signals a profound shift away from thinking about international development as driven primarily by foreign aid.

This conference has the potential to revolutionize how the international community, local stakeholders and the private sector implement the Sustainable Development Goals. It is the first of three big conferences in 2030 that will shape the international development and climate change agenda for a generation.

International development enthusiasts and people concerned about ridding the world of extreme poverty will enjoy this episode.