New York, 23 April — The recent upturn of the world economy holds the potential to mobilize greater financing for sustainable development. However, inequalities between and within countries, lingering economic vulnerabilities and increased carbon emissions continue to threaten the achievement of the SDGs. Countries will be reviewing how resources can be mobilized more effectively and allocated more responsibly to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Financing for Development Forum at UN Headquarters in New York from 23-26 April.

While world economic growth has reached 3 per cent — the highest growth since 2011, with East and South Asia accounting for nearly half of global growth in 2017, the progress has been unevenly distributed. Per capita GDP declined in West, Central and Southern Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean in 2016 and further setbacks are anticipated in these regions and Western Asia with many countries still suffering from the effects of the commodity price collapse of 2014-2016. Least Developed Countries’ economies grew by 4.8 %, well below the 7% target. There are still approximately 800 million people living in poverty, with women, children and other vulnerable populations bearing the brunt.

Countries agreed on a plan in July 2015 to mobilize and deliver the resources, technology and partnerships needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, recognised as the blueprint for a better world by 2030. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda includes a set of policy actions with over 100 concrete measures that draw upon all sources of finance, technology, innovation, trade, debt and data to support the SDGs and the Financing for Development Forum is intended to review progress on the Agenda.

“There are promising examples of reform and gains in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development., underpinned by a broad-based recovery in the world economy. But the pace of change is insufficient and significant financial, political and environmental risks threaten to derail progress”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in the Foreword of the 2018 Inter-Agency Report on Financing for Development: Progress and Prospects.

While the financing needs to achieve the SDGs are large, the resources are available, if public and private investments are better aligned with sustainable development. The ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum is the global platform for reviewing progress on the means of implementation—mobilising increased public and private resources at the domestic level, technology development and transfer as well as capacity-building to achieve sustainable development. The Forum will see hundreds of government officials, business and civil society leaders review practices, share experiences and provide recommendations for action to ensure no one is left behind as the world advances towards implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The Forum will feature addresses by leaders from the major financial institution including the IMF, World Bank, UNCTAD and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

During the Forum, the Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed will announce the launch of the Joint Fund for the 2030 Agenda which seeks to encourage innovative investments for the SDGs. The Joint Fund developed by the United Nations Development Group has been designed to foster partnerships, innovation and policy coherence at the country level.

The guiding compass for the discussions will be the 2018 Financing for Development Report: Progress and Prospects which offers corrective action on the seven action areas of the Addis Agenda: domestic public resources, domestic and international private business and finance, international development cooperation, international trade as an engine for development, debt sustainability, addressing systemic issues, science, technology, innovation and capacity building and data, monitoring and follow-up. The Report also calls for a shift from short term to long term investment, harnessing new technologies to support progress across the SDGs and a strengthened commitment to Official Development Assistance, especially for the most vulnerable countries.

The outcome of the Forum will contribute to the deliberations of the 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, which is the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.

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