If the SDGs are to survive, multilateral development banks must embrace reform

From: Chatham House
Published: Mon Sep 25 2023


Banks need to democratize decision-making and realign their portfolios to build on renewed commitment at the UN General Assembly.

In the lead-up to the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the outlook for the future of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seemed rather bleak.

Global efforts to achieve these ambitious targets by 2030 had lost momentum, weakened by an unprecedented combination of wars, waves of populist nationalist politics, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Global Sustainable Development Report 2023 showed that only about 12 per cent of the SDG targets are on track and some 30 per cent of targets had either seen no movement or regressed below the 2015 baseline.

The sheer scale of the gap in financing required to achieve the SDGs, which the OECD estimated at $3.9 trillion in 2020, seemed to deepen the gloom. This gap grew significantly during the pandemic, as economic contractions and emergency health expenditures diverted funds from long-term development projects.

However, it would take less than 1 per cent of global finance to fill this finance gap. And the sense emanating from the SDG Summit 2023, following the adoption of the Political Declaration by the heads of state, is that there is still significant support for the SDGs.

Properly harnessed, this could begin a new phase of accelerated progress to rescue the 2030 agenda from the brink of failure.

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Company: Chatham House

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