CITIZENS FINANCING THEIR FUTURE
May 13th 2015 – Kampala, Uganda
Compiled by Patrick Mwesigye
Founder/ Executive Director- Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum
Member Have You Seen My rights Campaign
Member- CSO Core Reference Group on the P2015 Dev’t Agenda/ Action/2015 Uganda
I know many of you could probably be already engaged in the discussions for financing for development at various levels.
But I would like to interest all of us on how we can empower our citizenry to meaningfully participate in discussion of financing their future.
To those of you whom the term may be new, Financing for Development in the Post 2015 Development Agenda context can simply be interpreted as; The (re) distribution, allocation and utilization of financial resources to meet development needs. Transforming investment into concrete action in order to close the resource gaps that hinder gender equality, access to better and quality service delivery like for; health, education, agriculture, public service mention it.
There is no doubt that 2015 is going to be transformative year in tackling poverty, inequality and climate change. 2015 and especially the adoption of the new SDG framework presents a unique opportunity to change the world for the better.
This is also a chance for world leaders to make ground-breaking commitments for people and the planet. We therefore must work hard under the action/2015 banner and other Post 2015 advocacy banners to ensure, world leaders live up to the challenge.
There is however an elephant in the room in the names of a simple “Finance”. Words alone will not make commitments on SDGs a reality. It will take money and political will to deliver.
There is a very crucial summit taking place in July in Addis Ethiopia. The Financing for Development conference is our chance to turn the ambitious development goals currently being discussed at the UN into reality.
We know that strong plans backed by political momentum, the right money and fair financial systems can save lives and protect the planet. In the last two decades we have seen huge progress – extreme poverty and hunger has halved around the world, more girls are in school and fewer children and mothers are dying due to pregnancy and childbirth related complication, but we can do more.
With the right financial plans the next fifteen years will see even more progress, even faster. We can unlock the potential of millions of people around the world who are ready and able to build a better future but are currently trapped in the day to day business of survival. Without those financial plans, all our efforts to make 2015 the year that changed the world will be lost. There is too much at stake for us to be quiet.
As Post 2015 advocate in our various umbrella campaigns globally, let utilize the month of May and June to call on our leaders to attend this crucial Financing for Development conference in Addis. Currently some are threatening to stay away. Absent leaders make for absent mindedness. Without Finance Minister or Head of State level participation, the question of money will continue to be neglected and we won’t get the decisions we need. This time leaders must show they are serious.
As they prepare to attend, lets prepare citizens to ask them to do four vital things:
• Keep their promises – they must step up to aid, human rights and spending commitments whether in health, education or other priorities. And we expect them to be transparent – only then, can we unlock people power and hold our leaders to account. Its time to deliver.
• Tackle tax injustice: Ensure the richest, including multinational businesses, pay their fair share. Addis is a chance to put in place a fairer tax system and encourage governments to work with the private sector responsibly and for the benefit of the people.
• Fund Fairly: The development goals and the action needed on climate will only be delivered if we put the poorest and most vulnerable first so that they can take control over their own development.
The money exists to finance our future. It is hidden in offshore accounts. It is caught in big business tax loopholes. It is buried in unpaid aid commitments. It is wasted on debt interest and expensive dirty fossil fuel subsidies. It’s time to share our common wealth and finance our future by effectively and meaningfully engaging citizens in financing for development discussions.
The money governments spend is our money. On July 11th, backed by everyday experts and by prize winning economists, we will have our say and take action on how it is raised and spent. And we keep taking action up until we are sure the climate and development goals we seek are fully funded.
What can we do to ensure effective and meaningful citizen and CSO participation in the financing for development discussions?
Many of us are already working to make the global financial system fairer. This campaign will boost our activities and help give our calls the political attention they deserve. Each member of action/2015 and other Post 2015 Development Agenda advocates and activists at national level are free to make their own decisions about what to priorities.
Arrange a meet up with the Ministry of finance team in your country that is following up or currently engaged in the financing for development discussions to discuss your countries funding priorities. If possible also lobby to join your country’s delegation to Addis in July.
Start a social media campaign calling for your government to ensure fare distribution, allocation and prioritization of resources to sectors that directly meet and address the needs of the citizenry like, education, health, gender, agriculture among others.
But as a biased advocate, I would like to call on all of us to include among our financing priorities issues of health especially maternal and child and adolescent health, education especially girl child education, gender equality, employment and economic opportunities for young people among others.
Action/2015 has developed some resources to guide our advocacy and they also plan to wordsmith them by copy-editors into attractive public facing resources, the exact wording is therefore likely to change but the themes will be as follows:
• Tax: Multinationals must pay their fair share. Governments must act to end tax havens.
• ODA: Governments must live up to their commitments.
• Public spending: Governments should step up to their commitments and priorities funding essential public services like schools and hospitals
• Transparency: Governments must open up their books to the public. We have a right to know about how much tax companies pay, and how our money is spent.
• Climate change: Government must ensure their investments are low carbon and the fight against climate change is funded
• Inequality: Governments must leave no-one behind.
• Sustainable livelihoods: Businesses must create employment and give workers a fair deal respecting their human rights.