Do you care about fighting poverty, climate change and inequality? Then you’ll probably care about these three letters: FfD

We live in a rigged and unbalanced world. A world where the richest 1% will own more than half the world’s wealth by next year.

This is not by accident - politicians are continuing to make rules that line the pockets of companies whilst cutting public services and emptying the pockets of the poorest.  Corporate tax dodging scandals are filling headlines on an all too regular basis. Climate change is ruining crops, stealing meals from those already living with hunger. When I hear and see this I want to shout from the roof-tops to call-out these contradictions.

So why then, am I diving into the world of UN acronyms? How can the letters ‘FfD’ bring us one step closer to tackling the world’s greatest threats?

A year ago I had never heard of FfD conference - it stands for Financing for Development. These are meetings organised every 6-7 years by the UN. The more I have learnt about FfD, the more I have realised what a big deal it is. This is the place where decisions are made about how money is spent by governments to tackle poverty and inequality.

But the meetings aren’t just about coughing up some token cheques to pay for schools and hospitals. They’re about who decides how the money is raised and what it get’s spent on. It’s about rebalancing power and making sure developing countries get to have a voice. In a world where financial rules are rigged, and global financing disadvantages the poorest countries, the Financing for Development conference is a once in a decade opportunity to ensure that efforts to fight climate change, poverty and inequality are funded fairly.

This is the third FfD conference and it is part of a landmark year for international development. Negotiations have started and we are seeing a familiar picture – countries with the biggest cheque books throwing their weight around and trying to push developing countries into corners they can’t come out of. But developing countries aren’t budging and are standing firm on issues that that influence how much they might have to spend on schools and hospitals, or roads and irrigation. Civil society and people from across the world are backing them when a critical point of finance justice is at stake. If you want to stand in that corner and help to rebalance that power, if you care about tackling poverty, climate change and inequality, now is the time to speak-out and take action.

Oxfam will be at #FFD3 and here’s where we’ll be focusing our efforts:

Tax

Tax dodging is a global problem. Multinational corporations shift their profits out of countries where they make their money and hide it in tax havens, increasing their profits and leaving the poorest countries with an estimated loss of $100 billion a year.

Global problems need global solutions. Oxfam and others are calling for the creation of a global tax body at the FfD – a body where each country has an equal say. The timing couldn’t be more crucial. Right now, a club of rich countries is claiming to be fixing this unfair system. But in reality that means rich countries writing to rules which benefit them, without considering what the poorest countries need.

Global problems also need global movements calling for the global solutions! Luckily, tax justice campaigners across the world are coming together to push for change. Oxfam and others recently took part in a week of action for #TaxJustice. Now we need to keep up the pressure to make sure leaders listen, act and deliver a global body on tax at #FfD3.

For tax updates:

Climate

For more than a billion people who live in poverty, a changing climate means more extreme weather, more disasters and more hunger. It also means that the poorest countries are paying the price for a problem which they contribute least to causing.

Rich countries who polluted the climate on the path to wealth are trying to get away without providing finance – in addition to development assistance –  for poorer countries to adapt to a changing a climate.  Currently rich countries provide just 2% of what poor countries need to adapt to a changing climate. So at #FfD3 we’ll be calling for climate finance to be given in addition to development assistance.

For climate updates:

Overseas development assistance

Rich nations need to deliver on un-kept promises and commit to spending 0.7% of national budgets for overseas aid. They can’t keep promising without delivering and without setting a deadline for delivery. So at #FfD3 we’ll be calling for a re-commitment for 0.7% with a timetable and for 50% of this to be heading towards the least developed countries, rather than towards countries where rich countries have political and commercial interests.

Public not private finance

People in every country - developed and developing alike - need access to decent education, healthcare, jobs, livelihood security including in a warmer climate, and the resources needed to provide for themselves and their families. There is a concerted shift to fund public services through private finance. When it comes to essential services, whether schools for your children, or  healthcare for  grandparents, you want the reassurance they’ll get good quality, free public services universally available whether you’re rich or poor – profit-making cannot come before public interest.  At #FfD3 we’ll be calling for commitments that ensure this.

For finance updates:

This entry posted by Francesca Carnibella, Oxfam Global Campaigner, Inequality (@frankcarnibella) on 30 June 2015.

Photo: Mexico slum. Credit: Bushra al-Fusail

What you can do now

Join the call to Stop Corporate Tax Dodging and Make Trade Fair

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