Lubna Al Qasimi calls for public and private sector partnership to address sustainable development challenges

ABU DHABI, 30th September, 2015 (WAM) — Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, Head of the UAE Committee for the Coordination of Humanitarian Foreign Aid, has emphasised UAE’s active role in finding additional resources to overcome development challenges, calling on the public and private sectors partnership to create an innovative financing solutions.

She made her remarks during a session titled “Mobilising Additional Resources for the Sustainable Development Goals,” organised by the ministry in cooperation with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation as part of the Sustainable Development World Summit 2015 meetings held in the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The meeting was attended by a number of world leaders and stakeholders involved in humanitarian organisations.

It was aimed to highlight the need for a new approach to finance development, especially after the launch of the new Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and laying the groundwork for a new approach aimed at mobilising additional resources to support the achievement of these goals, by learning from current initiatives undertaken by public and private sectors.

Sheikha Lubna emphasised the UAE’s active role in finding additional resources to overcome development challenges, through building partnerships between the public and private sectors to provide innovative financing solutions, thus making of local donors and donor organisations a pioneering global model in this field.

She added, “Through its forthcoming foreign aid policy and strategy, the UAE is exploring opportunities to further enhance the efficiency and impact of its foreign aid sector, work closely with the private sector to support investment in developing countries, and stimulate financing from other quarters.”

The minister said, “SDGs will need vastly greater resources than we have been able to muster so far. Traditional sources of development financing, such as from governments, are not going to be nearly sufficient for the scale of the task ahead of us.”

She added, “We need to look further, forging new partnerships and exploring previously untapped sources. This means innovating; finding creative ways to harness the power of the private sector, philanthropists, and other groups that have a stake in improving the situation of the world’s poorest people.”

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi pointed out, “Meeting development objectives is not simply an issue of raising more resources, but also of addressing market failures. This is where governments have a crucial role, in understanding the needs of the private sector and leveraging their influence to create an enabling environment for trade and commerce. We can act to reduce the risk of investment, and enhance the opportunities for public-private partnerships.”

“Conversely, private sector actors also have an essential role in driving innovation towards addressing market failures. An initial investment by a private individual or organisation can provide evidence in support of a new approach to development programming, giving public sector entities the confidence to contribute their own resources,” she added.

Reem Al Hashimi, Minister of State, who attended the meeting, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai will be organized under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ which reflect the partnership and cooperation spirit in discovering new mean of growth and cooperation.”

“Under this theme and the three other subthemes: opportunities, mobility and sustainability, Expo 2020 Dubai will play the role of the catalyst by connecting minds from all over the world, and encourage the participants to discuss global challenges through a unique international exhibition.”

“The extensive work leading to Expo 2020 requires cooperation from everyone to turn the post 2015 agenda into reality, and Expo 2020 will be the platform that will showcase their achievement in 5 years from now,” she added.

Isabella Lovin, Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden, said: “We need more Official Development Assistance ‘ODA’, and we need to use the whole spectrum of financing for development, including smart resource allocation for sustainability, to achieve the strong and profoundly needed Agenda 2030 the world has now adopted.”

For his part, Manuel Sager, State Secretary, Director-General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) said, “Public funding alone will not be enough to finance the sustainable development goals. Smart ways have to be identified on how to use public money to tap into additional resources.”

During his participation in the session, Sager stressed that “public-private development partnerships and enabling developing countries to improve domestic resource mobilization are two such options.”

For his part, Eric Solheim, Chairman of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said that financing development aid is changing.

“Going forward, and reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, we will need to focus more on leadership, private investments and better aid. All three are essential, and need to work much better together,” he added.

On the other hand, Judith Karl, Executive Secretary, United Nations Capital Development Fund, said, “To meet the SDGs, we need to expand the investment frontier to the “last mile”, where available resources for development are scarcest; where market failures are most pronounced; and where benefits from national growth tend to leave significant portions of the population excluded.

Foreign ministers, as well as economy and development ministers from various countries including Sweden, Togo, Italy, Canada, Belgium, Panama, Lesotho, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and Antigua and Barbuda participated in the meeting.

A number of the UN agencies also participated in the discussion which included the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme, United Nations Office for Project Services, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Population Fund, Dubai Care and Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.