Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development 2019

Time to Face the Challenge

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The financing for sustainable development agenda promises to bring together more actors than ever before – from businesses, governments, philanthropists, and remitting households – to address the world’s most pressing problems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Yet, in spite of this promise, the financing for sustainable development gap is growing. While needs continue to increase, resources available to developing countries have been constrained and in some cases even declining, as illustrated by the recent drop in foreign direct investments. New financial instruments and interactions have yet to mobilise much-needed new resources in sufficient volumes. And despite significant advances, we do not yet fully understand the opportunities and risks faced by the various actors in this complex new global financing system.

This report sounds a wake-up call. To fulfil the commitments of the 2030 Agenda, and lift hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty, the international community needs to maximise the development footprint of existing and future resources, thereby “shifting the trillions” towards the SDGs. The first in a series, this report charts a forward path for the changes required in measurement, policies, and operations to achieve these ambitious objectives.

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Better measures of financing for sustainable development

A revolution is underway to promote better measures of financing for sustainable development. The estimated volumes of financing needed to achieve the global sustainable development agenda are unprecedented – in the order of trillions of dollars. Successful delivery of the different resources by the different actors, targeted where the resources are needed most and where they can have the greatest impact, will rely on better measurement frameworks and tools. These must recognise the development footprint of all actors connected to sustainable development targets and provide a mapping of actions to identify the financing gaps, imbalances and opportunities for dynamic interactions among resources and goals. They must further leverage the opportunities to provide reliable impact-driven data, harmonising approaches across actors. For this revolution to succeed, holistic approaches will be needed to design a new financing for sustainable development compass that integrates the synergies and trade-offs of both domestic and external resources, including and beyond traditional development finance.

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