UNITAID Chair Promotes Innovative Financing

In an interview with the Inter Press Service News Agency, UNITAID chair Philippe Douste-Blazy stressed the importance of “innovative financing” in closing the global poverty gap.

Mr. Blazy, who is also the UN Under-Secretary General in charge of Innovative Financing for Development, made these remarks leading up to the Third International Conference for Financing and Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which concluded on July 16. The conference, which included “heads of state and government, and ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, as well as all relevant institutional stakeholders, non-governmental organizations and business sector entities,” focused on financing solutions in the fight against global poverty.

Issues addressed at the conference included funding sustainable energy for the world’s poor, ways to finance gender equality programs and funding access to water. These are issues that are traditionally focused on, but focusing on them from the perspective of financing allows for sustainable and long-term solutions.

These solutions are imperative to closing the poverty gap. Instead of leaving innovative ideas that remain unfunded and, ultimately, unfulfilled, they provide solutions with a plan.

The initiatives proposed at the conference are ambitious. They include a plan from the Netherlands to provide 30 million people with water and 50 million with sanitary facilities, an effort by nonprofit Solar Sister to fight energy poverty and empower African women, and a commitment by Germany to “lift 500 million people in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.”

Though these goals are lofty, they are imperative in addressing the issue of global poverty in the future. And addressing that issue is imperative in ensuring a safer and more secure world, according to Mr. Blazy, who warned that “if we don’t close the poverty gap, the 21st century will end in extreme violence.” With the stakes higher than they’ve ever been, the financial solutions chosen today will clearly be important tomorrow.

Andrew Michaels

Sources: Financing for Development Conference 1, Financing for Development Conference 2, Financing for Development Conference 3, Solar Sister, IPS News, IISD Reporting Services
Photo: IPS News