Was anything actually concretely promised at the #FFD3?

From the 13th-16th July, delegates from the UN, world governments, and business and civil sectors (http://bit.ly/1MSgeC2) gathered in Addis Ababa to formulate a strategy to fund these worryingly broad SDGs (http://bit.ly/1fAEKg6).  *To read more about the SDGs read Hannah Collins’ post ‘The SDGs: destined to fail?’ on our website–> http://bit.ly/1MvQSNu *

In the immediate aftermath of the conference, waves of optimistic posts on social media such as ‘…a successful #FFD3’ (http://bit.ly/1SJTZjy) seemed to be a cause for celebration.  In spite of this, a closer look at what was, or more likely what was not concretely established at the conference reveals that #FFD3 is more a cause for concern.  People from a variety of sectors have expressed different qualms with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), however this blog post will focus on two grave issues.

Firstly, health was far from the focus of the AAAA, to say the least.  Now of course, those of you who believe that investing in developing countries’ infrastructure and education should be just as much of a priority as their health do have a point.  However, I urge those of you to think realistically.  Sure it would be great, awesome even, if we could finance industrialisation in more countries, but the reality is, far too many people in developing countries worldwide still lack access to just plain health care!  A healthy population is at the backbone of a booming industrial metropolis, so if that is what developing countries are aiming to become (which they should), how can they do so without an active, able-bodied workforce? The AAAA agreement was outlined by 134 paragraphs, yet a measly 1 out of those 134 was dedicated to health .  In that one paragraph, ‘The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was mentioned.’   That’s right, mentioned (http://bit.ly/1I5gjzb). This is extremely worrying as the ruthless power of tobacco comapnies (see one of my earlier blog posts http://bit.ly/1CYbXYf to read more on that issue…) is a huge threat to the health of the population of developing countries.  And this is just one example of a health issue that was glossed over in the AAAA, you can just imagine how many others were just mentioned.

Now optimists may argue that the reason why the focus of #FFD3 wasn’t on health was a result of leaders wanting to steer away from the idea that the conference was about providing ‘aid’ to developing countries, and instead more about financing jobs investment and economic growth (http://bit.ly/1fAEKg6).  However, the problem is that all the lofty claims made for job investment and growth, seem to be just that – claims. This segways into the other concerning aspect of the AAAA, it seems to be just as broad and vast as the SDGs are, which is making post 2015 look more and more drab in terms of global development.  All delegates acknowledged Amina Mohammed’s statement that “The billions that we’ve had from official development assistance is insufficient …We need trillions for this menu. And so what this agenda needs to do is to move from billions to trillions.”  Yet in spite of her statement, no substantial evidence can be found to demonstrate that indeed trillions will be mobilized to fund this SDG ‘menu.’  (http://n.pr/1U2Copp).

Let us hope that world leaders quickly learn that the specifically targeted MDGs resulted in the progress we have made to this date. To put it simply, the broader these goals and promises for global development become, the broader the responsibility for these goals become, making it easier for specific entities to not take accountability for global development (or a lack of it).

- Pauline Bagatelas, Rethink Aid Intern

Photo credits: http://bit.ly/1fAEKg6