UNDP Afghanistan to Accelerate Financing the Sustainable Development Goals

October 6, 2020

A view of billboards showcasing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: UNDP / Omer Sadaat

Kabul, October 04, 2020 -
UNDP Afghanistan held the first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Finance Roundtable in Kabul with participation of government officials, academician, research institutions, private sector and UN system in Afghanistan. The event was a step towards formulating a comprehensive strategy and designing innovative modules on financing the SDGs in Afghanistan.

The core objective of the roundtable was to introduce SDG Financing and to attract private sector and micro finance institutions in supporting the SDGs in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan cannot finance the SDGs, nor COVID-19 recovery by acting in one area of financing alone. To this end, UNDP Afghanistan brought around the table the high-level Government entities such as Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, the Central Bank of Afghanistan, experts from outside the country joining through a video link, representatives of commercial banks and Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Resident Coordinator for Afghanistan to initiate systemic changes in public and private finances, provide policy options to reduce risks and encourage financing towards the achievement of the global goals.

The roundtable discussion was opened by UNDP Afghanistan Resident Representative, Abdallah Al Dardari, followed by a presentation by Emily Davis, SDG Finance Programme Specialist in UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific, on the overview of SDG financing and formulation of the comprehensive strategy along with an adopted module for country of Afghanistan.

"It is time to act and move quickly. SDG Finance is not just for UNDP but plays a key role to build on all UN systems to support new innovative financing for Afghanistan," said Abdallah Al Dardari.

Financing the SDGs requires significant transformations within the financial system, and within entities that own, manage or regulate financial flows and transactions. Fundamentally related to effective governance, financing the SDGs requires changes in the ways public and private actors interact with each other across the economic, social and environmental spheres.

“We are going through history; we are seeing prospects of peace which could be really indicative for the entire system, entire UN family and its partners to take the new vision for Afghanistan.” said Ramiz Alakbarov, UN Resident Coordinator for Afghanistan, on the closing remarks.

“The entire UN system has to be about the SDGs; it is an inclusive agenda.”

The roundtable discussion is a road map to a new future. In the coming weeks, UNDP will consult in detail with all stakeholders on UNDP’s role, the UNDP offer, and explore best options to achieve the SDGs and ensure to deliver programmes with speed and discipline. By the time SDG Financing Investment Conference is held, UNDP will be able to present the project pipeline and to initiate the work on three proposed projects.

"The power to change people’s lives"

After the roundtable, UNDP continued on a consultation meeting on sustainable renewable energy market-investment opportunities. UNDP presented a model to lay the groundwork for bringing private finance into Afghanistan, lights to the homes of Afghans and boost economic growth.

“Affordable and sustainable energy has the power to change people’s lives for the better and leave no one behind.” added Surayo Buzurukova, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Afghanistan.

UNDP globally, has a long track record of working in public finance and private-sector development, and more recently in unlocking private capital for the SDGs, and is uniquely positioned to advance financing for the SDGs. UNDP has seen a growing demand from partners to scale up its work around public finance, as well as private sector engagement, development, and finance issues. Corporations are increasingly seeking UNDP’s advisory services on strategic alignment with the SDGs.