On the cluster of Sustained and inclusive economic growth, macroeconomic policy questions (including international trade, international financial system and external debt sustainability), infrastructure development and industrialization, several speakers highlighted that Economic growth and economic development are not synonymous, and inequality can be a barrier for growth. Many raised the importance of redistribution as the most effective way to poverty eradication and sustainable development. Tackling inequality was proposed as a theme for a stand-alone SDG and also as an underlying principle for other themes and targets.
Economic development requires sound foundations. Universal access to education and health services, access to financial services, new technologies and affordable bank loans, gender equality and more equal distribution of resources can all support economic development. A stable and predictable operating environment is a prerequisite for private sector investments. Good governance should be promoted and corruption tackled at all levels in both private and public sectors.
Measuring the right issues matters. The business sector has already started and should continue the process of "accounting more than money". Also at the societal level countries should measure and give more importance especially to the undervalued sectors of societies, such as care work.
Speakers highlighted that raising tax revenues remains the right and responsibility of each state but this requires international cooperation in order to tackle tax evasion and illicit financial flows. Corporate country-by-country reporting was proposed as a way to curb transfer mispricing.
The need to reform international, especially financial, institutions was mentioned by many. The question how the Open Working Group proposals could send signals to states and multilateral institutions to become sensitive to the needs of people was raised.
Investments in infrastructure are vital for economic growth, and accessibility and affordability of the services provided should be taken into consideration already when planning these investments. Popular public-private-partnerships are a valued option for financing infrastructure but a wide funding mix, suitable for each project, should be utilized.
(Excerpt from Co-Chair's meetings with the Major Groups and other Stakeholders