Secretary-General Calls for Global Policies Aligned with Sustainable Development, Equal Access to Innovative Technologies, at Meeting on Financing 2030 Agenda

SG/SM/19236-ECO/291-ENV/DEV/1881
24 September 2018

Secretary-General Calls for Global Policies Aligned with Sustainable Development, Equal Access to Innovative Technologies, at Meeting on Financing 2030 Agenda

Following are UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ remarks to the High‑Level Meeting on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in New York today:

I often say that our efforts to achieve peace require a surge in diplomacy.  But, our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals will require a surge in financing and investments.

I thank all of you for being here — but my particular gratitude goes to Christine Lagarde, who accepted to frame our discussions this afternoon.

I recognize the International Monetary Fund’s many efforts to support financing of the 2030 Agenda — helping to build strong tax and financial systems, supporting job creation, fostering gender equality, and exploring other innovative financing solutions.

Our efforts today are about more than mobilizing resources.  At heart, they are about ensuring that the ambitious 2030 Agenda delivers for people and planet.

This is no easy task.  The financing needs of the 2030 Agenda are immense.  Globally, investments of $5‑7 trillion are needed each year to implement the Goals.  We have made some progress in mobilizing resources, but more is needed.  Much more.  Today, more funds are committed to futures contracts than are invested in our common contract for the future — the 2030 Agenda.  We need to act urgently to drive progress.

That means galvanizing political support across Governments and local communities; building momentum for change in corporate boardrooms; and doing better in tapping resources that sit idle — some $300 trillion in financial assets are managed by the global financial system on our collective behalf.  It also means ensuring that women have equal access, are equally represented in decision‑making and are equally considered in how investments are made.

There is no single solution for financing the Sustainable Development Goals.  Let me point to several essential actions.

First, all developed countries must meet the commitments they made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  Second, we must continue to support developing countries in creating conditions for mobilizing domestic resources, including tax reform and other good governance measures.  At the same time, I call on the international community to take much more effective steps to fight illicit flows of capital, money‑laundering and tax evasion, which continue to drain desperately needed resources from the developing world.

Third, we also need to step up our efforts in developing innovative financing and in mobilizing private investment.  Without the private sector and the business community the goals are simply not achievable.  There is much to build upon.  For example, investments that take environmental, social and corporate governance factors into account, including green bonds, are becoming more widespread.  And the World Bank, as a vanguard on innovative finance, has brought path‑breaking products to the market including Sustainable Development Bonds.

To help further all these efforts, today I am launching a forward‑looking strategy to support financing the 2030 Agenda.  It builds on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and presents a vision to help accelerate progress towards financing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Specifically, I am proposing urgent action to achieve three objectives:

First, we must align global economic policies and financial systems with the 2030 Agenda.  This means realigning incentives and reducing market perceptions of risk — moving away from business‑as‑usual approaches to genuine and strong commitments to sustainable development.

Second, we must enhance sustainable financing solutions, strategies and investments at the regional and country levels.  A strong and nimble United Nations collaborating with multilateral development banks will support Member States in strengthening domestic resource mobilization and opportunities to attract and better manage investments.

Third, we must seize the enormous potential of financial innovations, new technologies and digitalization to provide equitable access to finance, especially for those hardest to reach.

There are many positive examples — including the innovative work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners here today.

As a part of this effort, I am tasking the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator to organize and help lead a task force on the digital financing of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Once again, to all of you, thank you for your engagement and commitment today.  By investing in the Sustainable Development Goals, we invest in the future, ensuring a world in which we strive for peace, stability and prosperity that leaves no one behind.

For information media. Not an official record.