Scottish Government and UN Development Programme collaborate to mobilise private capital for sustainable development

October 22, 2018

Edinburgh, Oct 22- The Scottish Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are jointly announcing a 2-year programme of collaboration aimed at mobilising private capital for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the Scottish Government committing £400,000 in funding matched by UNDP in support of this project. It was announced at the Ethical Finance 2018 Conference ( Oct 22-23) in Edinburgh, attended by around 300 delegates from across the globe.

The SDGs were agreed and adopted by the UN in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 17 quantitative and qualitative Global Goals reflect the aspirations of the people from around the world. They are designed to address global economic, social, governance and environmental challenges, providing a common framework for shared action across all sectors and countries. 193 countries (including Scotland) have adopted the SDGs since September 2015 with the target date of 2030.

With an urgent need to move from a grant-dependent or charity-dependent model towards a self-sufficient business enterprise, the collaboration will seek to develop innovative financial structures and delivery vehicles to allow some of the UNDP’s 4,500 natured-based, and SDG-aligned, projects to become viable investment propositions. It will also develop and facilitate a programme of investor and stakeholder engagement activities aimed at driving more private capital to SDG funds and projects.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner stated, “Our goal in this partnership is to explore and test new ways of channeling finance to focus on inclusive, nature-based, small and medium enterprises. Inclusive investments target those who have had difficulty gaining access to finance – small farmers, fishers, forestry and eco-toursim enterprises. Nature-based investments achieve triple wins for people, planet and prosperity.”

Heriot-Watt University through the distance learning experience of Edinburgh Business School, will co-develop a course on entrepreneurship.

Having played a key role in bringing the parties together, and developing the scope of the collaboration, the global programme office will be located at the Ethical Finance Hub in Edinburgh Business School.

Graham Burnside, Ethical Finance Hub commented: “Scotland is an ideal partner for this programme, given its ‘whole economy’ approach to policy, its commitment to sustainable inclusive economic development, its powerful and diverse financial cluster and its international reputation for innovation and ethical finance.”

The programme and Ethical Finance 2018 both form part of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) which consolidates some of the pioneering and innovative ethical finance work being undertaken in Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Finance Derek Mackay said, “The Scottish Government welcomes a week of ethical finance events to Edinburgh, home to the Ethical Finance Hub and we are delighted to efforts to shift the focus of finance to a responsible and ethical approach, reflecting our commitment to sustainable, inclusive growth.

“The powerful combination of the work of the Hub, and Scotland’s reputation both as a financial centre and a nation of innovation, has been recognised globally, attracting the attention of the United Nations Development Programme.

“I am pleased to announce that the Scottish Government and  UNDP are committed to a two-year programme of collaboration to mobilise private capital in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals with the Scottish Government committing £400,000 in funding matched by UNDP in support of this project.”

This week, anchored by the conference and under the GEFI brand, Edinburgh will host a series of ethical finance events convening finance, development and faith leaders to co-develop and shape a fairer, more sustainable financial system.

Video message of UNDP Administrator here.

For media queries:

Chris Tait, Project  Manager, Ethical Finance Hub, +44(0)7931 103573,

Sangita Khadka, Communications Specialist, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, email:, Tel: +1 212 906 5043