In 2015, The United Nation’s launched its ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an action plan comprised of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate poverty by 2030. The Agenda calls for a transformative, integrated and inclusive approach to social, economic, and environmental development within and amongst States; however, the Agenda does not outline a clear framework for funding its implementation. Financing the SDGs was one of the core issues addressed at the United Nation’s 2017 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The following are key themes and recommendations that were discussed at the 2017 HLPF:
A New Approach Towards Finance and Collaboration
If member states continue to use current funding practices, poverty will not be eliminated by 2030. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to finance that can be employed across all States, there are several guiding principles and theoretical frameworks that can maximize efficiency and mobilize resources. Specifically, it is imperative that donors and managers reconfigure their entire approach to finance at the domestic, regional, and global levels into one that is holistic, inclusive, and consistent; this approach requires multilateral collaboration within and across nations, as well as a revitalized and rebalanced global partnership between States that prioritizes the needs of those traditionally left behind.
Engagement of the Private Sector
The private sector remains the largest untapped financial resource for domestic and global finance markets. In order to increase the contributions and engagement of the private sector, new policy incentives, as well as more effective communication/networking platforms that are able to increase ownership of the Agenda among the business sector, must be created. The 2030 Agenda is not just the responsibility of local and global governments; the private sector must become a key stakeholder in the Agenda’s implementation.
The Creation of Transformative Policies
In addition to an increase in domestic and foreign investments, investments must be science-based, sustainable, and centered on human capacity building. Investment prioritization is crucial, and should remain focused on new technologies, microcredit mechanisms, and the empowerment of women, marginalized communities, and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) — realizing that equality and inclusion build infrastructure. Moreover, regulatory frameworks need to better align with the transformative demands of the SDGs, promoting a more democratic global system, with fairer, more equitable, and more inclusive trade and international regulations, including strategies to increase market access for LDCs.
The Necessity of Data and Data-collecting Mechanisms
Needs assessments and up-to-date data are critical and fundamental steps to informing investments; in conjunction, sustainable and effective methods of data-collection cannot be created or executed without the adequate funds. Data is essential for the successful monitoring and implementation of the SDGs, yet many countries do not have the statistical systems necessary to collect and analyze data. For instance, “only a quarter of South Asian countries and less than half of Latin American and Caribbean countries have complete civil registration systems”, while world-wide less than half of children are registered at birth, and two thirds of the annual deaths are not registered.
The Creation of a Global Networking Platform
States and relevant stakeholders need the space and methodologies to educate/re-educate, share best practices, network, and provide mentorship for States in need of financial advice. The creation of a global networking platform would provide the space and means for these activities to take place.
In conclusion, old funding mechanisms are incompatible with the new, transformative vision put forth by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. States must work together and commit to the re-configuration of the domestic and global finance markets. Our world is becoming more globalized and interdependent than ever. No one can move forward if regions and entire subgroups of the population continue to be excluded, isolated, and left behind.