World Economic and Social Survey (WESS)

2412-1509 (online)
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The World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) provides objective analysis of pressing long-term social and economic development issues, and discusses the positive and negative impact of corresponding policies.
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World Economic and Social Survey 2012

World Economic and Social Survey 2012

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15 June 2012
9789210555111 (PDF)

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The World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) is a yearly publication that provides objective analysis of pressing long-term social and economic development issues, and discusses the positive and negative impact of corresponding policies. Scholars, policymakers, development thinkers and practitioners, as well as United Nations staff members have come together to develop the main messages for this year’s focus – Innovative Sources of Development Finance. This publication touches on topics such as conventional proposals of innovative international financing, existing mechanisms of innovative financing for development, and the allocation process, as well as the relation of international distribution mechanisms to development objectives.
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  • Preface
    Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and addressing global challenges such as climate change require considerable financing. Finding the necessary resources will be challenging, especially for least developed countries. Official development assistance (ODA) is falling well short of what countries need, and commitments to provide more aid remain unfulfilled. In the midst of difficult financial times, many donor countries have cut back on development assistance. In 2011, aid flows declined in real terms for the first time in many years.
  • Acknowledgements
    The World Economic and Social Survey is the annual flagship publication on major development issues prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (UN/DESA).
  • Overview
    In 2001, a United Nations High-level Panel on Financing for Development, chaired by the former President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo, recommended a number of strategies for the mobilization of resources to fulfil the commitments made in the United Nations Millennium Declaration1 to sustained development and poverty eradication2. The Panel concluded that substantial amounts of financial resources would be needed to achieve the international development goals. In addition, it made a strong case for tapping international sources of financing for the provisioning of global public goods, including for the prevention of contagious diseases, research for the development of vaccines and agricultural crops, combating climate change, and preservation of biodiversity. While there are no generally accepted estimates of the financing needs for meeting international development goals and global public goods, and while all such estimates are a matter of judgement, by any measure, needs tend to exceed, by far, the funds available for such purposes.
  • Explanatory notes
  • Introduction
    After falling in the 1990s, official development assistance (ODA) has increased considerably since the early 2000s, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development (United Nations, 2002). Nonetheless, ODA levels are still significantly below internationally agreed targets. There is also concern that ODA has not been a stable and reliable source of financing. In addition, there is need for additional financing of international collective action to address global problems, such as mitigating the effects of climate change. The perceived need for additional and more assured funding has led to a search for innovative sources of development financing to complement traditional ODA.
  • Proposed sources of innovative International financing
    The standard way in which States undertake international financial cooperation is through the Government’s proposal and the legislature’s approval of an allocation of funds for a particular purpose. The initiative may begin with one Government or as an initiative jointly agreed by several or all Governments acting together. While the Government commits itself to making the outlay, the actual outlay is contingent on legislative approval. This means that whether the outlay in question is a recurrent appropriation for a bilateral or multilateral initiative or a one-time outlay aimed at increasing the capital of an international financial institution, the process of ensuring national approval and disbursement introduces a measure of uncertainty, possibly entailing either a delay or the approval of an amount of funding different from that committed.
  • Existing mechanisms of innovative financing for development
    The traditional view of innovative development financing (IDF) envisages mechanisms aiming primarily at generating substantial and predictable resources for development additional to traditional official development assistance (ODA). However, the development of such mechanisms has proved politically problematic, and achieving greater stability by avoiding dependence on discretionary donor budgets has become a daunting challenge.
  • Using innovative financing for health and climate change mitigation and adaptation
    Innovative development finance (IDF) has to date been focused on specific uses, most notably in the health sector and, more recently, in confronting climate change. The present chapter examines the uses and disbursement dimension of the existing IDF mechanisms, with a view to assessing their effectiveness and the allocation of funds. It adopts a sectoral perspective, focusing primarily on health (as the sector in which innovative development finance is most developed) and climate change mitigation and adaptation (as the sector in which it has the greatest potential in the near future). Based on the lessons drawn from these experiences, this chapter also seeks to assess the implications for global governance of scaling up IDF mechanisms or implementing larger-scale IDF mechanisms, such as international taxation, tax cooperation and allocations of special drawing rights (SDRs) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • The recipient perspective
    The previous chapters have discussed innovative development finance (IDF) primarily from the perspective of donors and the global community as a whole. At least as important, however, is the perspective of recipient countries: the key issue is development impact, which can be assessed only at the country level.
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