How Will Our Sustainable Development Goals Be Financially Supported?

One of the first questions asked about the new Sustainable Development Goals being developed on behalf of and by all of us at the United Nations is: How will the Goals be funded? 6a00d8341c233453ef01a511fb6193970c-320wiWhere will the money come from to achieve any of the specific targets by 2030?  Another way of looking at the same question is for governments, people of goodwill and civil society organizations to think – if we plan to achieve these targets by 2030 what sums of money will we need to invest this year, next year and so on.  

It is not as if money is in short supply. The current global savings (public and private) of US$22 trillion a year are sufficient to fund the goals.  But the current allocation of investments, how we are directing our money, needs to change. This was the basic message delivered by the Co-Chairs of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing during a recent briefing at the United Nations. ( NGLS_Summary_of_18_July_briefing_by_ICESDF_Co-Chairs.doc).  

At the Rio + 20 Earth Summit Heads of State  recognized that if sustainable development commitments are to become sustainable development outcomes, financing is critical. With this in mind the Intergovernmental Committee was formed, under the auspices of the UN General Assembly, 6a00d8341c233453ef01b7c6d0f665970b-320wito assess financial needs and evaluate additional initiatives needed to meet these needs. It consists of 30 experts on the mobilization of resources from a variety of sources and the effective use of financing. The experts were nominated by regional groups of governments, with equitable geographical representation.

A World Goodwill representative recently attended the 3rd meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee’s Fifth Session at the UN earlier this month.  The meeting was an open interactive multi-stakeholders dialogue where the Committee Members listened to a wide range of views.  Issues raised included the need for a debt work out mechanism, calling for an international bankruptcy process that is fair, neutral, transparent, accountable and serves all of us. 6a00d8341c233453ef01b7c6d0f680970b-320wiConcern was also raised about the need to strengthen international governance on tax matters, with the idea being to elevate the UN's Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters to an intergovernmental body.  There was a focus on having a Human Rights based approach to financing sustainable development.  The idea of "the commons" was raised several times; one idea was to tax the things that we want to diminish (tax resources being used) rather than tax labor.  There was a suggestion that people be empowered with on-line support services in sustainable development, sharing "how to" information and enabling local service providers, in effect, helping everyone in their efforts to learn how to fish. 

Attending the meeting, it was clear that we're witnessing a slow and steady maturing of international groups dealing with world economics, preserving the integrity and sovereignty of nations while enhancing a shared commitment to the work of securing sustainable development for all.  There were echoes of the principle of sharing in so many of the comments – signs of the future.