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SG/SM/18196-ECO/272-ENV/DEV/1735
10 October 2016

Secretary-General Stresses Mutually Reinforcing Sustainability, Stability at Event on Financial Solutions for Sustainable Development Goals

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the event on financial solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals, in New York today:

I am pleased to join you today, and I thank all these distinguished ambassadors with me for co-hosting this meeting.

We are here today to see how better to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  This ambitious vision promises to transform the global economy, bring new opportunities to billions of people and create a healthier planet for this and future generations.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a guide for our joint action.  But achieving them will require innovative financial solutions and new models of cooperation.  The Sustainable Development Goals are an economic imperative and the catalyst that can pull the global economy from its current malaise and push back against isolationism and protectionism.

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda has given us the framework to harness financial markets and provide commercial incentives to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.  But achieving them will require scaled up investment and a reorientation of existing flows to sustainable objectives.  Investors will reap the benefits in the form of secure markets and thriving consumers.  The 2030 Agenda needs the engagement of all actors.  Our legacy will be determined by our success in aligning United Nations system interventions with the needs and actions of Governments, civil society, business and finance, globally and locally.

Today’s meeting shows how business and the financial services sector are willing to engage in the Sustainable Development Goals process and transform markets.  We look forward to maximizing this potential.  Financial actors and institutions are already beginning to develop solutions for attracting private capital in support of the 2030 Agenda.  Financing from all sources — public and private — will be necessary.  To reach our goals, public and private actors must work together, with public policies providing an enabling environment for private action.

Sustainability must be the guiding principle of all our actions.  I am encouraged by the initiatives and examples from around the world being showcased today.  We must ensure that they are mainstreamed and scaled up.  We must also better align financial markets with sustainability.  Sustainability and stability of the financial system are mutually reinforcing.  That is why Governments in Addis Ababa committed to creating policy and regulatory environments that create incentives for long-term and sustainable investments.

The vision set out in the Sustainable Development Goals for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership will only succeed if shocks and stresses in our financial system are properly addressed.  We must put a correct price on systemic and interconnected risks, and we must align the value of assets with the Sustainable Development Goals.  I am convinced that this is possible.

To intensify efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda, we must demonstrate that solutions exist.  Many examples are showcased today.  The United Nations system is partnering with private investors to stimulate sustainable investment.  Philanthropic organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation, are working with financial entrepreneurs and investors to harness capital for sustainable development.

Many promising local developments are addressing financial inclusion, social housing, micro-insurance and new technologies.  The United Nations Global Compact is working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative and the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment to catalyse financial innovation.  And the Leading Group on Innovative Financing, under the leadership of Mali, is promoting a range of Sustainable Development Goals solutions.

The financial sector, spearheaded by companies such as Aviva, is promoting the creation of international benchmarks.  The World Bank Treasury Office is issuing innovative financial instruments that are generating new investment opportunities.  And development banks are increasingly providing smart public financing solutions to spur local and international private sector investments that will meet the growing demand for access to basic services, particularly in underserved regions and communities.

Efforts are now needed to build on these initiatives.  We must share know-how and make it more widely accessible.  The United Nations can play a catalytic role.  We want to create a venue where leaders from all sectors, including government, can join forces, learn from each other and align their actions for greater collective effect.  It will be crucial to bringing together the different financial actors at the United Nations to focus on how they can complement each other’s efforts.

I commend the President of the General Assembly for making finance for sustainable development a priority and for his work to promote dialogue in this area.  I see great value in establishing a cross-sector initiative to promote alignment and increase investment in the Sustainable Development Goals.  I am, therefore, exploring options for a multi-stakeholder financial innovation platform.  This global initiative can support the identification and piloting of innovative finance instruments that can drive investment and support well thought-out Sustainable Development Goals interventions.

As well as launching innovative financing solutions, the Platform would engage key development actors, including Governments, civil society, philanthropic organizations, entrepreneurs, institutional investors, banks, project developers and development finance institutions.  I hope the proposed Financial Innovation Platform will provide the best possible know-how to support the incoming Secretary-General as we work to scale up our efforts and ambition.

We will all count on your partnership in the coming years.  Working together, we can realize the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals to provide a future of peace, dignity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet.

Thank you for your attention.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.