Opening and Concluding Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino, at the Side-event in the margins of the Financing for Development Forum "Innovative financing for sustainable development: Scale and impact"

Opening remarks by H.E. Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino,
At the Side-event in the margins of the Financing for Development Forum
“Innovative financing for sustainable development: Scale and impact”
16 April 2019 ~ 1:15pm – 2:30pm
UN Conference Room 11

Excellencies, Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
It is my great honour to preside as the Master of Ceremonies for this side event.
 
Allow me to begin by extending my appreciation on behalf of the co-sponsors – the governments of France, Germany, India and the UNDP, for attendance, and also for the attendance… government, international organizations, academia, civil society. Let me also thank you, Ms. Shari Spiegel for accepting the role of the moderator, which is a very important, challenging job because of this limited time we have, and Mr. Boussichas, Program Manager at Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development and Ms. Querejazu, the President of the Sembar Foundation in Bolivia for your presence as panellists.
 
The Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development is an informal network that currently brings together sixty-six nations and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, local entities and private foundations dedicated to the eradication of poverty and the preservation of global public goods. And it was created in 2006 under the leadership of France, Chile, Brazil and Spain, and Japan joined the Leading Group in 2010 and assumed its presidency this year for the first time since 2010 under the strong leadership of Mr. Taro Kono, the Foreign Minister of Japan.
 
Thirteen years after the creation of the Leading Group, we see how various innovative financing mechanisms have emerged and developed in the international community. As the world still faces a critical challenge in funding the Sustainable Development Goals, with each year accumulating an estimated 2.5 trillion US dollars of funding gap, it is increasingly clear that innovative financing can serve as a major catalyst of funding for the SDGs.
 
However, we are now facing the two challenges. The one is that how to scale innovative financing mechanisms and the other is how to ensure their impact on sustainable development. I hope that this side event will bring together different stakeholders, and review the progress of already implemented and emerging innovative financing mechanisms, such as solidarity taxes, blend finance initiatives and impact investment instruments, and discuss challenges to scale and ensure their impact towards achieving the SDGs for 2030. And I sincerely wish that this side event will pave the way forward towards the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, which is scheduled and will take place in September 2019 back to back with the first-ever UN High-level Political Forum at the leaders’ level.
 
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Concluding remarks by H.E. Ambassador Toshiya Hoshino,
At the Side-event in the margins of the Financing for Development Forum
“Innovative financing for sustainable development: Scale and impact”
16 April 2019 ~ 1:15pm – 2:30pm
UN Conference Room 11
 
Thank you Shari, for this impossible job to condense everything into this one hour.
 
But on behalf of the President country of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development, I would like to thank again to France as its Permanent Secretariat, and Germany and India as its member countries for organizing this side event, and the UNDP, OECD and Ferdi for its valuable technical and academic inputs. And Bolivia for sharing their experiences from the perspective of beneficiaries, and all of participants from a variety of governments, academics, and the private sector and civil society for your presence and active intervention.
 
While we have covered many grounds, shedding light on international solidarity taxes, blended finance initiatives, as well as impact investment, and so forth, and both the complementarity of each is very important. And in order to further scale innovative financing and ensure its impact on sustainable development, I came to believe that it is crucial to invigorate both political will under partnership at, for example, the G7, G20 and United Nations high-level meetings, and technical discussion to be more evidence-based at the relevant international fora and organizations.

Concerning political will, as the Presidency of G20 and President country of the Leading Group, Foreign Minister Taro Kono has been globally advocating for the need to vitalizing discussion on innovative financing, with shedding light on international solidarity tax. And he has been doing so through a series of development related meetings during the G20 Foreign Minister Meeting, high-level week of the General Assembly, APEC ministerial meeting and others last year as well as the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting this January for instance. And good news is that Mr. Kono has received a positive reaction from the audience and his counterparts. France has also been taking the similar initiative as the G7 presidency and the Permanent Secretariat of the Leading Group.

As for technical challenges, we welcome that the outcome document of the FfD Forum which will be adopted on 18 April will invite the IATF to focus on innovative financing in the next Financing Sustainable Development Report as well as OECD’s ongoing works to measure the impacts of the innovative financing. Through those efforts, we could work together from sharing experiences to improving measurement and management of impact.

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce some of the examples. I don’t want to take much of your time, because the time is limited, but in connection with impact investment, that a Japanese company, Nippon Life Insurance, which is one of the major life insurance companies in Japan, is actively implementing ESG investment as well as the SDGs bond. They will explain their activities in greater detail tomorrow morning during Panel B of the FfD Forum.

And with regard to the blended finance, JICA, our aid agency, is aiming to become a major blended financier, in order to further mobilize and catalyze private resource for the SDGs.

In cooperation with the panellists and participants of this event, we hope to accelerate these efforts for enhancing political will and addressing these technical challenges to scale innovative financing and its impact.

So for that purpose I think this discussion today has been very, very inspiring, thought provoking, and again I wanted to say that we shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the challenges we may be facing, but we should think things in a positive way, and in a forward looking way, because we need to work together to achieve the SDGs.

Thank you very much for your active participation. Thank you.