Washington, D.C.

12 April 2019

Deputy Secretary-General's opening remarks at "SDGs in Action: Integrating the SDGs into National Budgets" seminar [as prepared for delivery]

World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva, Senior Vice President Mahmoud Mohieldin, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Let me begin by thanking the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for convening this important seminar.
 
Since the adoption of landmark agreements on sustainable development, climate change, and financing for development in 2015, one thing that has become very clear is the importance of cooperation and partnerships.
 
Multilateral institutions need to work together, hand-in hand, with governments, private sector and civil society, to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. Especially at a time when global risks are rising, we need collective action.
 
At the local level, we need government ministries, parliamentarians, civil society and other political actors to come together in integrating the SDGs in national budgets. Just as we are what we measure, we are what we spend on. 
 
Yet according to the UN’s latest Financing for Sustainable Development Report, that was launched just a few days ago, while countries are increasingly incorporating the SDGs into national sustainable development plans, only one in four of them have concrete financing plans for those strategies. The Report provides essential information on integrating the SDGs into national budgets and calls for the adoption of integrated national financing frameworks.
 
We must do everything we can to accelerate this work.  Let me point to four key action areas.
 
First, we need greater alignment of national budgets with the SDGs, in accordance with national plans and priorities.
 
Second, we must mainstream gender perspectives into national budgets. Repeated UN, World Bank, IMF reports highlight the high negative costs of gender inequality on economies and societies.
 
Third, we need to ensure that expenditures on social protection and essential public services for all are prioritized in budgeting processes, especially during economic downturns.
 
Fourth, we need to integrate climate considerations into national budgets.
 
Indeed, climate change can jeopardize all our gains and plans for inclusive and sustainable development. It places extra strains on domestic resources, especially domestic public finances.
 
We are seeing the increasing impact of extreme weather conditions everywhere, from Mozambique to the United States.
 
And the impact on public health is escalating: in more and more places, people cannot breathe the air or drink the water without getting sick. Much more remains to be known about the impact of climate change on diseases and other health issues.
 
The good news is that we are seeing growing momentum for change by governments, cities and businesses.
 
New technologies and engineering solutions are delivering energy at a lower cost than the fossil-fuel driven economy.
 
But the solutions are not yet systemic; we need more ambition and more political will.
 
This is why the Secretary-General is convening a climate action summit in New York on September 23rd.
 
He is asking leaders to “come with a plan, not a speech” – a plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050; a plan to shift investments toward resilient infrastructure; a plan to put us on a sustainable path, once and for all.
 
National budgets must reflect these priorities and enable investments in effective responses.
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
Now is the time for us to take bold actions and forge partnerships to deliver sustainable development in all three of its dimensions -- economic, social and environmental.
I count on your engagement and support.
 
Thank you.