The United Nations development system has a key role to play by linking its development results to more and better aligned financing for the SDGs. Credit: UNDP.

As prepared for delivery. 

The Secretary General has highlighted a key structural impediment to financing the SDGs, and actions needed to overcome that impediment. As things stand, despite the availability of ample global savings and a rise in savings-GDP ratio across a swathe of developing countries, public finances, official development assistance and private sector finance are not sufficient or adequately aligned to secure the necessary investments and interventions to achieve the SDGs. 

This must change. The United Nations development system has a key role to play in fostering this change by linking its development results to more and better aligned financing for the SDGs. This requires the UNDS to act at the global regional and country levels.

We need to bring two global conversations together. There is a conversation on international economic and financial policies to maximize global growth with stability that takes place in Basel, in the G7 and G20, and in global financial hubs. There is a conversation about securing private and public finance, including ODA, to achieve the SDGs.  Uniting these conversations involves recognizing that the SDGs are, in fact, the global strategy to maximize inclusive, balanced and sustainable growth. Achieving the SDGs is the most effective way to stimulate demand for public and private goods, and to make the investments that meet these demands. This virtuous economic cycle will deliver the desired optimal, sustainable global growth.  The SDGs are the most attractive sustainable investments to maximize stable returns on global savings, to move away from a world where savers are unable to find long term investment opportunities.   

The UN development System, the IFIs, and other multilateral institutions must therefore embrace this challenge and use our formidable convening capacities to prepare the ground for the confluence of these conversations. I believe this is core to the mission of the UN, as this confluence is essential to build the foundational basis for fair globalization which, in turn, is essential for peaceful sustainable human development. UNDP will work closely with our global and national partners to support this conversation, working within the strategic framework outlined by USG Liu, and supporting the leadership of Argentina’s G20 Presidency.

This confluence must simultaneously also occur at the regional and country levels. UNDP is a field organization and our raison de etre is to respond to the needs of the 170 countries and territories in the UNDS. I see this as happening in two important dimensions. 

First, the challenge of domestic resource mobilization as outlined in the Addis Agenda. This involves increasing the fiscal space available for increasing the flow of public resources to the SDGs, ensuring the effective and predictable delivery of ODA and partnering with countries to enable South-South co-operation to add significant additionality to the means of implementation. 

Second, as mentioned by the Secretary General, delivering private as well as public finance at scale and at the lowest possible cost for investments in the SDGs, by developing new financial instruments, and making full use of the potential afforded by digital finance. We need to do this in ways that do not simply transfer private risk on to tax payers’ balance sheets and we are well positioned to do so.  

Ultimately, the effectiveness of our work at the country level on governance, on conflict prevention, on poverty reduction, health, gender equity, education, sanitation, urbanization actively should result in lowering the policy and institutional risk for long term private investment, including on things that help secure SDG outcomes.  We need to make this an explicit factor that is taken into account in the evaluation of risk, thereby increasing the scale, and lowering the cost, of private sector finance at the country level. 

UNDP is actively engaged in innovating and delivering at country level in this area. Our work with governments in partnership with UN, IFI and private sector collaborators on impact investments, on biotechnology finance, and on green and climate finance, is already yielding significant results at country level.  

UNDP is committed to delivering significant additionality in financing for the SDGs. We see this as a dialectical process. Our country level work on ending poverty in all its forms, enabling sustainable transformations, addressing inequality and deprivation, and improving resilience from crisis and shocks, collectively contributes to incentivizing the mobilization of financing for the SDGs. 

And only a significant addition to the scale, scope and affordability of financing for the SDGs will allow us to achieve our common dream, of a peaceful, sustainable, fair and prosperous community of nations. This is the challenge that present generations must address successfully. Our success will represent our collective legacy to the generations of the future. I invite you to join us on this bold but achievable collective journey.

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