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UN chief calls for 'flexibility, compromise' at development summit

13 July 2015, 13:11

Addis Ababa -UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called for "flexibility and compromise" at a development financing summit that opened in Ethiopia's capital and is seen as crucial for efforts to end poverty and tackle climate change.

"I urge world leaders and ministers gathered here this week... to exercise flexibility and compromise. Let's put aside what divides us and put aside our self-interest in favour of working together for the common well-being of humanity," Ban told the opening of the summit.

The objective of the five days of talks, the third summit of its kind after talks in Monterrey in 2002 and Doha in 2008, is ambitious: laying out the ground rules for a fairer world of inclusive, low-carbon growth.

Concretely, that means deciding how to fill a colossal annual investment gap in key sustainable development sectors for developing nations -- estimated at up to $2.5 trillion annually according to the UN's trade and development body UNCTAD.

This in turn will enable the world body to push ahead with its 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which are due to be formally adopted in New York in October. There are 17 in all, ranging from ending poverty to providing universal access to sustainable energy.

But preparatory talks in New York failed to yield an agreement on a common summit outcome, with rich nations --- many of which are embroiled in their own financing woes and reluctant to up their aid budgets -- pushing for greater private sector involvement and for emerging economies like China, Brazil and India to share the burden.

Another sticking point is the creation of an international tax organisation within the United Nations to fight against tax evasion by multinationals. Rich countries, however, want decisions about international taxation frameworks to remain in the hands of the OECD and G20, where they control the agenda.

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