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 policies to finance sustainable development

In addition to the need for better measures of finance for sustainable development, policies need to be designed in a way that can deliver the ambition of an integrated Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The trillions required to finance the Sustainable Development Goals are present in the global economy. However, a focus on smarter policy design to shift the trillions is needed to make the best use of existing resources and strengthen the development footprint of different actors. This means minimising leakages and maximising catalytic effects in support of sustainable development. Competition in the form of more suppliers and instruments is increasing within the financing sustainable development market, which calls for better policy guidance and coherence mechanisms to manage the risks and seize opportunities. Although sustainable and inclusive growth is primarily a domestic agenda, tackling global inequalities and poverty reduction, addressing potential shocks, and delivering on international commitments in support of the global goals cannot be achieved without stronger international solidarity and co-operation among countries and actors.

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