How to finance SDGs to be discussed at UN next September 24

versión en español

New York, Jul 30 (GPW) – Next September 24, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, will outline a new private investment strategy during a high level meeting that he is convening. Under the title of “Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” the meeting aims at building momentum and support to mobilize public, private, domestic and international resources, to improve financial norms and standards, and to disseminate to developing countries digital technologies to help them access finances.

Details of the format and objective of the meeting were announced on Friday, July 27 by Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed and Assistant Secretary-General Elliot Harris.

Following the inaugural speech by the S-G, three “Davos-style” panels will be held, one by Heads of State, one by CEOs of private finance sector and the last one by technological “innovators”. No names of panelists were provided at this stage.

The meeting will highlight five action areas to enable participants to come back one year later in 2019 and report during the High-level dialogue on Financing for Development on how they were implemented.

The Group of 77 and China asked if the focus was primarily on private finance or if it was positioned around the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on financing for development.

The UN secretariat replied that the Secretary-General will be using his convening power to help Member States action the AAAA. It identifies as a major problem the non-alignment of the financial system with the economic and financial policies needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and hopes the September meeting will raise “uncomfortable questions” and target the normative aspects, putting the spotlight on the financial architecture in front of an audience that includes many who can leverage pressure to make the necessary changes.
Since finance for sustainable development is not being mobilized at the scale that would be needed, the meeting is expected to identify what is blocking and keep momentum.

Ambassador Courtney Rattray of Jamaica commented that some of the norms and regulations that govern the banking sector -such as the Basel III rules- actually run counter to the objective of aligning investments with the SDG. He offered as an example that in the US, the fiduciary guidelines that govern the behaviour of financial investors prioritize economic interests over environmental, social and governance issues. This is one of the inconsistencies that should be addressed.

Other countries, including the US, asked for more details on the event in order to send the appropriate representative. The US has reiterated in a number of ECOSCOC meetings in July their position that “much of the trade related language in the Addis outcome document has been overtaken by events since July 2015. Therefore it is immaterial and our reaffirmation of the outcome document has no standing for ongoing work and negotiations that involve trade.” Further, the current US position is one of not recognizing “the legitimacy of the AAAA“.

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