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UN Development and Financing Agendas / Overview

In 2015, the world’s governments defined both a new global agenda for development through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and a framework for financing this agenda through the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3). Taking place amidst rising global inequality, declining economic growth rates, and public-private partnerships that accelerated the scramble for resources, assets, and markets, the two processes privileged global and North-based actors, sidelining the analytical expertise of autonomous, South-based groups. Regions Refocus engaged in both the SDG and FfD3 processes to advance regionally situated experiences and feminist analysis. 

Between June 2014 and January 2015, during the intergovernmental negotiations toward the adoption of the SDGs, Regions Refocus convened nine regional workshops designed and led by progressive and feminist civil society, activists, and policymakers aimed at defining the policy priorities of each region. Topics included infrastructure development, mining and minerals development policy, sexuality policy, gender and climate change, economic justice, education policy, finance and tax reform, and just development architecture. Regions Refocus provided the analytical foundations for these discussions through regional policy matrices that assessed government policy proposals in comparison with UN policy recommendations. Regions Refocus 2015: Fostering Regional and Feminist Solidarities for Justice outlines workshop outcomes and collates cross-regional trends like the growing prevalence of the private sector, the weakening of the developmental state, and the need for progressive regional integration.

Between January and May of 2015, Regions Refocus collaborated with Arab NGO Network for Development, DAWN, Latindadd, TWN-Africa, TWN, and Women and Media Collective to influence FfD3. This included four dialogues in Africa, Asia, Latin America (English, Spanish), and the UN headquarters, bringing together civil society, policymakers, and activists to discuss the challenges of advancing progressive regional policies through intergovernmental agreements. Together, participants also reimagined the role of subregional bodies like Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asia Economic Summit, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the UN Regional Commissions, which were not adequately empowered during the post-2015 process, as mechanisms to hold governments and the private sector accountable to human rights and the sustainable development agenda. This culminated in a cross-regional convening at FfD3 in Addis Ababa, in which participants tracked the global uptake of progressive regional proposals, and the launch of ‘Geopolitical Analysis of Financing for Development’, a report co-authored by Regions Refocus, TWN, and DAWN, at a side event hosted by the Permanent Missions of Uruguay and Egypt.