26 April 2021

Public Banks, by Supporting Local Investment, Uniquely Positioned to Turn Global Goals into Reality for All, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Brazilian Development Forum

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the Brazilian Development Forum, today:

Dear Mr. Suchodolski, Dear Members of the Brazilian Development Association,

I thank you for this invitation and commend you for your leadership in helping anchor the recovery from COVID-19 firmly in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At all levels, public development banks play a crucial role in financing sustainable development.  In recent months, this role has at last come to be recognized.  Yet their vast potential remains mostly unutilized.

COVID-19 has brought untold devastation.  As we work to battle the pandemic, we must also lay the groundwork now for a brighter future which starts with a green and just recovery.  Financial resources are at the heart of this recovery:  without adequate financing, the current economic turmoil could turn into a decade-long recession.

Your leadership at federal, state and local levels will be paramount.  Let me flag five areas where we, at the United Nations, see the greatest potential for transformation.

First, you are uniquely positioned to connect global goals with local realities.  Your commitment to the people of Brazil can help turn the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into a reality for everyone, everywhere across the country.  Second, at a time when other sources of financing — public revenue, national and foreign direct investment — have collapsed as a result of efforts to slow the spread of the virus, your countercyclical role is crucial in providing financing urgently to where it is most needed.

Your third contribution to a strong recovery is your capacity to finance sustainable infrastructure and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.  Many of you are already boldly supporting the national pandemic response through measures including emergency loans, financing facilities, guarantees and debt relief.  In scaling up your efforts you can play an even larger role in supporting investments for longer-term sustainable development.

Fourth, you have deep knowledge and experience with the local private sector, which puts you in a unique position to access local financial markets and overcome local barriers to investment.  Fifth, unlike commercial banks and investment funds, you are ideally positioned to support sustainable development by taking greater risks and investing in local credit markets which the private sector would otherwise shy away from.

I am deeply appreciative of all the work you are already doing in these five areas.  But the challenges facing the world today require even more.

COVID-19 has made the 2030 Agenda more urgent than ever.  It must remain our compass, guiding us through the current storm towards a brighter, more sustainable and inclusive future.  By using it as your guide, Brazil could lead the way in the right direction, for the benefit of all humanity.

I wish you a successful gathering.

For information media. Not an official record.