Eurodad's Policy Forum 2023 - Rewatch the panel discussions
On 13-14 June Eurodad’s Policy Forum 2023 "Building an economy for people and the planet" took place in Brussels. It was a unique opportunity to understand the impact that the various political developments in 2023 will have on the financing for development agenda, and to reflect on civil society’s strategy in response.
During the event we had two panel discussions that you can rewatch below, as well as a series of strategy sessions which provided opportunities for out of the box policy discussions and strategising on our work areas.
Panel 1: From an extractivist to a care economy: The global economic model we want
• Bhumika Muchhala — Political Economist/Senior Advisor, Third World Network (online)
• Nicola Scherer — Political coordinator, ODG - Debt Observatory in Globalisation
• Lidy Nacpil — Coordinator, Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development (online)
• Amanda Janoo — Economics & Policy Lead, Wellbeing Economy Alliance (online)
According to the Ecological Unequal Exchange theory, mass consumption and economic growth in high income countries is sustained by asymmetric relationships of exchange of labour, land and energy with poorer regions. In other words, economic growth in the global north is predicated on an extractive relationship with the global south, which not only has implications for the growth prospects of countries in the global south but also for the environment and the respect of planetary boundaries.
The ‘green growth’ notion of decoupling economic growth from negative economic impacts as a desirable evolution from the current economic growth model is problematic in this regard as it ignores this extractive and therefore unequal relationship. Green growth also rests on the assumption that economic growth can be sustained through technological fixes of “greening” production and consumption. This assumption is negated by a phenomenon which has been described as the ‘Jevons paradox’: technological change which increases the efficiency with which a resource is used increases rather than decreases the rate of consumption of that resource.
Moreover, the ‘green growth’ model does not address the failure of the current economic model to value care tasks and responsibilities in- and outside the home largely carried out by women. The overarching view is that increasing women’s participation in the workforce will empower them, thereby increasing gender equality. However, in a social structure where women chiefly continue to carry out unpaid or poorly paid care responsibilities, the economic model has imposed a double burden of paid and unpaid work that they have to bear.
As an alternative, it has been argued that instead of merely adopting a strategy of getting as many women out of unpaid care work, thereby reaffirming its unattractiveness, we need a strategy that reclaims care work as attractive for men and women. Alongside changes in values and narrative, this would need a societal revaluation of that which is not quantifiable, moving towards an economy centred around care for people and the environment.
Panel 2: Debunking the myth of the financing gap
• Jayati Ghosh — Development Economist and Co-Chair of ICRICT (online)
• Lison Rehbinder — Coordinator French Tax Justice Platform, CCFD-Terre Solidaire
• Glenis Balangue — Coordinator, IBON International (Europe)
• Stefano Prato — Managing Director of Society for International Development, CSO FfD Mechanism
The upcoming Paris Summit on a New Financing Pact once again shines a spotlight on the so-called financing gap. According to an early concept note for the Summit: “Developing countries have large developmental needs and face huge financing gaps due to limited access to international markets, as well as inadequate financing mechanisms including limited concessional finance, hampering their ability to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its goals as well as the climate goals.” Such a declaration aligns with the mainstream narrative that – given the insufficiency of official development assistance (ODA), climate finance and public finance more broadly – there is a large financing gap to be bridged if the SDGs are to be achieved while also financing climate change adaptation, mitigation and Loss and Damage.
What this narrative ignores, however, is that it is political will that prevents donors from upholding their 0.7% and US$100 billion commitments to development and climate finance respectively. It also disregards the extent to which south-north flows of resources outstrip flows in the other direction due to illicit financial flow and tax dodging by large corporations and wealthy individuals; and the servicing and repayment of debt that, in many cases, could be considered illegitimate.
This narrative also undermines the Financing for Development consensus forged more than 20 years ago at the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey in 2002 to reverse south-north flows of finance, including through debt servicing, repayments, illicit financial flows and corporate tax avoidance and tackle development obstacles in trade and broader financial systemic issues.
Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the Bridgetown Initiative provided the impetus for the Paris Summit and played an important role in highlighting the need for action on debt, liquidity and concessional lending, including for vulnerable middle-income countries. Unfortunately Mottley’s argument that the global south has for too long been the place from which wealth has been extracted, and are price takers rather than price makers, has disappeared from the rationale behind calls for a ‘new financing pact.’ Instead, numerous discussions at the Summit will centre the need for project pipelines to attract private investment and finding ‘innovative’ sources of finance. Ultimately, financial markets dominated by market players and investors of the global north will be the best served and Mottley’s call for justice will have been completely forgotten.