World Economic and Social Survey 2012

In Search of New Development Finance

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The World Economic and Social Survey (WESS) is a yearly publication that provides objective analysis of pressing long-term social and economic development issues, and discusses the positive and negative impact of corresponding policies. Scholars, policymakers, development thinkers and practitioners, as well as United Nations staff members have come together to develop the main messages for this year’s focus – Innovative Sources of Development Finance. This publication touches on topics such as conventional proposals of innovative international financing, existing mechanisms of innovative financing for development, and the allocation process, as well as the relation of international distribution mechanisms to development objectives.




After falling in the 1990s, official development assistance (ODA) has increased considerably since the early 2000s, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development (United Nations, 2002). Nonetheless, ODA levels are still significantly below internationally agreed targets. There is also concern that ODA has not been a stable and reliable source of financing. In addition, there is need for additional financing of international collective action to address global problems, such as mitigating the effects of climate change. The perceived need for additional and more assured funding has led to a search for innovative sources of development financing to complement traditional ODA.


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