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UN forum examines role partnerships play in tackling global migration challenge

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Partnerships at local, national, regional and international levels are crucial to ensuring global migration is better managed, the United Nations migration agency chief said Monday in New York.

“Partnerships must include all stakeholders: Government, international organizations and civil society,” William Lacy Swing, Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM), told the International Dialogue on Migration, a two-day forum that is part the year-long UN-led effort to craft a Global Compact to cover all dimensions of international.

“Partnerships are not just about working together but about working together to find new and creative ways of conducting our migration business,” he added.

Partnership and cooperation are cornerstones of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Goal 17 calls for the revitalization and enhancement of the global partnership for sustainable development in all areas, including migration.

Moreover, the Secretary-General’s recent migration report states that “Managing migration is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation in our time.”

The central importance of partnerships on migration was a key takeaway from the stock-taking meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in December 2017 and one of the key messages of last year’s International Dialogue on Migration.

Calling “partnership” a key word in migration, Mr. Swing emphasized, “No single government, international organization or civil society stakeholder can expect to reap migrations benefits or address its challenges by going it alone.”

“The focus right now is on global cooperation,” he continued. “The Global Compact for Migration is a project that deserves close, concerted action from the international community as a whole; not just to conclude negotiations but, beyond that stage, to ensure successful review implementation and follow up.”

Migration needs to recognize the obligations and commitments of all actors in the field of international migration.

Henrietta Holsman Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), spoke of the challenges facing the world today in supporting people “to move safely and by choice, to help them to make the most of the opportunities and support available to them – especially children and young people.”

Pointing out that “no group of migrants is more at risk,” she elaborated that there are more than million children on the move – more than of half of whom have been driven from their homes by conflict.”

“No single State or Organization can manage migration alone,” she said, stressing the need for everyone to lend “their resources, energies and ideas.”

For his part, Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), called for fair recruitment, skills development, social protection, decent work and respect for labour rights.

“Migration is about work,” he said, emphasizing his office’s mandate “to protect those who are working in countries that are not their own.”

Also speaking, Louise Arbour, Special Representative for International Migration, made clear that in the lead up to the UN’s 2018 International Migration Conference in Morocco later this year, the world’s “collective focus should remain firmly fixed on how to address the daily realities of migrants and their communities of origin and destination.”

Ms. Arbour believes that for safe, orderly migration to succeed, policies must be enacted – based on an sound appreciation of the complex interplay of demographic and economic factors.

“This is a very tall order,” she acknowledged. “Bureaucrats can make the rational arguments. Demagogues can make the publicly appealing ones. Only great political leaders can make both.”

Mr. Swing assured that IOM would strive to expand existing partnerships and build new ones and that “migrants social, economic and health needs are properly addressed, with the collaboration of all relevant actors.”

“Together, we can achieve our common purpose of reaping the benefits of migration for migrants, and destination and origin societies,” he concluded.

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New ADB Platform to Help Boost Financing for Climate Action

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a new platform aimed at helping its developing member countries in Asia and the Pacific mobilize funding to meet their goals under the Paris Agreement.

The NDC Advance platform will help countries mobilize finance to implement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) regarding greenhouse gas emissions that each country has voluntarily committed to under the Paris Agreement. NDCs also describe priority actions for countries to adapt to climate change.

The announcement was made at the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, which is aiming to finalize a rulebook for the Paris Agreement when it goes into effect on 1 January 2020.

The agreement aims to limit the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C, while aiming for 1.5°C.

“Through their NDCs, our developing member countries have made ambitious commitments to respond to climate change,” said ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Mr. Bambang Susantono. “We need to ensure that countries are able to mobilize the needed financing to deliver on their commitments. NDC Advance will help countries devise investment plans to tap financing from a variety of sources and to implement priority projects effectively.”

NDC Advance is funded through a $4.55 million grant from ADB and will have three aims: providing technical assistance that helps countries better engage with potential sources of climate finance and to make use of innovative finance mechanisms; identifying and prioritizing climate projects; and supporting countries in tracking how projects deliver against their NDC goals.

The new initiative will help propel the climate actions ADB has committed to under its Strategy 2030 program.

ADB earlier this year committed to ensuring that 75% of its operations will support climate change mitigation and adaptation by 2030, while providing cumulative climate financing of $80 billion from its own sources between 2019 and 2030.

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Egypt: Shifting Public Funds from Infrastructure to Investing in People

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Egypt has an opportunity to capitalize on current reforms by enabling more private investment in infrastructure and freeing up public funds for investments in people’s education, health and social protection. This is according to a new World Bank report launched today in Cairo,‘’Egypt: Enabling Private Investment and Commercial Financing in Infrastructure’’, which calls for increasing the public funds available for building human capital by expanding successful energy reforms to other key sectors, such as transport, logistics, water and agriculture.

Egypt can learn from global experience and gain by increasing the use of private sector finance, management expertise and innovation in commercial infrastructure and agriculture, conserving public sector resources for where they are needed most”, said Clive Harris, Head for Maximizing Finance for Development for the World Bank.

Egypt is now beginning to reap the benefits of its transformative economic reform program. Macroeconomic stability and market confidence have been largely restored, growth has resumed, fiscal accounts are improving, and the public debt ratio is projected to fall for the first time in a decade.

Egypt has demonstrated that by having a package aimed at reducing economic risks, pursuing sector level reforms and well-prepared bankable projects, large scale foreign and domestic investment can be achieved, This is visible through the  US$ 2 billion invested in the largest solar park in the world, Benban, as well as US$ 13 billion in the Zohr field and other natural gas projects” said Ashish Khanna, Program Leader for Sustainable Development at the World Bank.

The report indicates that the action plan to further enabling private investment requires clear policy actions to resolve four cross cutting barriers to private investment – namely better management of land, transparency in Government procurement, efficiency in state owned enterprise and encouraging long term domestic financing. This needs to be complemented with developing projects for private investments with maximum economic impact, like the regional energy hub, logistics corridors, freight transport and agricultural transformation hubs.

The gains from reforms would also free up scarce public resources and allow for them to be re-allocated to investments in the education and health of Egyptians, the country’s human capital. Reforms in the energy sector provide an example of what is possible. The reform of energy subsidies freed up US$14 billon, reduced the pressure on the national budget and allowed the quadrupling of the investments in social safety net programs.

According to the report, for Egypt to maintain its reform momentum and focus on investing in its citizens, it will need to broaden and deepen its reform agenda to other sectors. This would be part of a fundamental shift away from the state as a provider of employment and output to an enabler of private investment; with the economy driven by a dynamic private sector generating jobs for the youth.

The report identifies four sectors which have huge potential for private investments and illustrates how successfully attracting those investments would generate growth, create jobs and ultimately contribute to developing Egypt’s human capital. The four sectors analyzed in the report are: transport, energy, water and sanitation, and agriculture.

The World Bank provides technical, analytical and financial support to help Egypt reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity. The focus of Bank support includes social safety nets, energy, transport, rural water and sanitation, irrigation, social housing, health care, job creation, and financing for micro and small enterprises. The World Bank currently has a portfolio of 16 projects with a total commitment of US$6.69 billion.

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New Initiative to Mitigate Risk for Global Solar Scale-up

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The World Bank and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are developing a joint Global Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI), an integrated approach to tackle policy, technical and financial issues associated with scaling up solar energy deployment, especially in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Initiated in Delhi at the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit in March 2018, the initiative will support the ISA’s goal to reduce costs and mobilize $1,000 billion in public and private investments to finance 1,000 GW of global solar capacity by 2030.

“The World Bank, in partnership with AFD, remains committed to the International Solar Alliance’s goals and to global efforts to fight climate change. Through this new, integrated approach, we hope to further scale up solar energy use by reducing the cost of financing for solar projects and de-risking them, especially in low-income countries,” said Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director of Energy and Extractives at the World Bank.

As the costs for solar power have fallen steadily, solar power is increasingly viewed as a key component in the fight against climate change. However, solar deployment has been slow in some emerging markets, particularly Africa, due to layers of risks perceived by the private sector in financing solar projects. The SRMI aims to change that.

“This partnership with ISA and the World Bank is another step towards achieving the objective of the Paris Agreement of redirecting financial flows in favor of low carbon and resilient development pathways.  AFD is glad to join forces with these partners to deliver on the commitments made at COP21, to bring solutions to de-risk potential solar investments and mobilize the private sector to invest in sustainable development” said Rémy RIOUX, CEO of AFD.

The SRMI’s integrated approach will include:

  • Support for the development of an enabling policy environment in targeted countries
  • A new digital procurement (e-tendering) platform to facilitate and streamline solar auctions
  • Targeting relatively small (under 20 MW) solar projects, offering a more comprehensive risk mitigation package of support to a wider range of investors and financiers to promote scale up at later stages. The financial risk mitigation package offered by SRMI will be supported by technical assistance and concerted engagement on planning, resource mapping and power sector reforms to ensure the creditworthiness of utilities in these countries
  • Mitigating the residual project’s risks through adequate risk mitigation financial instruments for both on and off-grid projects

The governments of India and France launched the ISA, an international organization as part of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 to scale up solar energy resources, reduce the cost of financing for solar projects around the world and ultimately help reach the Sustainable Development Goal on energy (SDG7) of providing access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to all. To date, 71 countries have signed the constituting treaty of the ISA, and 48 have ratified it.

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