By Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD

The current financing for sustainable development agenda urgently needs to be re-focussed. It must be examined through a broader lens, one where economic co-operation and development are viewed together as strategic partners in overcoming today’s most pressing global challenges. We know that failure to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will result in unprecedented global impacts – increased natural disasters, epidemics, and large-scale forced migrations that respect no borders.

The OECD Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development presents a path forward for OECD countries to provide better support in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. Even more importantly, the Outlook demonstrates that OECD countries have a powerful capacity to achieve both inclusive growth at home, and support development gains in countries most in need. This is not a zero-sum game: some of the same policy tools used to achieve inclusive growth in OECD-countries can be harnessed to increase SDG financing.

The Outlook makes a powerful argument for development to be considered within domestic policy contexts, bringing Ministers of Finance, Revenue, Trade, Investment and others, to join the fight. It is clear that financing for sustainable development today requires eliminating silos and strengthening policy dialogues. Taking just one example from the Outlook, while substantial amounts of cross-border financing (USD 1.7 trillion) and tax revenues (USD 4.3 trillion) accrued to developing countries in 2016, little is known about the development impact of the vast bulk of this financing, and what partners can do to maximise it.

The Outlook also echoes the optimism of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has shifted the ambitions of Financing for Sustainable Development well beyond aid, to include private investment, remittances, taxation and philanthropy. In this respect, we need to redouble our efforts to build synergies across the spectrum of public and private actors in developing and developed economies and to channel these resources to where they are needed most. It is also critical that the international community harness this optimism, drive, and commitment. The indispensable and promised surge in resources to support the SDGs has not materialised and in some cases has even dropped. Collectively, we stand at a crossroads and the time to act is now.

The OECD focuses on building strong, inclusive economies, setting common standards, expanding trade and investment, and contributing to development in OECD and non-OECD countries alike. We have also long documented the costs of artificial divisions. In a divided world, we all lose, and those most in need are left behind. In 2015, we witnessed the potential of multilateralism as global leaders stepped forward to agree to the 2030 Agenda – the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and AEOI as well as BEPs regarding the international tax agenda. We must now re-join forces and work better together – across new platforms and in new ways – to deliver the 2030 Agenda and better policies for better lives.

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