How can the public, philanthropic and private sectors work together to finance the Sustainable Development Goals? What kinds of partnerships can be developed? Fostering a culture of dialogue and close collaboration and rebuilding trust will be key.
The panel discussion began with a question as to whether the SDGs have become the game changer we hoped they would be. Doug Frantz, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, put it as follows: “They damn well better be! Business as usual no longer works: we have no choice except to make sure that the SDGs are not just a game changer but a world changer”.
Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director of ONE, mentioned that, “It feels like we’ve gone through the stages of a romance with the SDGs. The first blush: they were everything we hoped for, the answer to our hopes and dreams. And then we went through a bad patch: we didn’t want to spend much time with them for a while. And now we’ve come to see how special they are”. Unlike the Millennium Goals the SDGs are universal, comprehensive and were very widely consulted on. Mary Robinson, Founder of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, agreed, stating that the SDGs are a consensus agenda for the world and for both developed and developing countries. She also mentioned the US pulling out of COP21 is a serious setback in relation to the financing of the SDGs.
The level of financing needed to implement the SDGs requires investment and co-operation on an unprecedented scale. There is an estimated USD 2-3 trillion annual investment gap (at current levels of investment in SDG-relevant sectors). Official Development Assistance (ODA) – USD 130-140 billion annually – cannot shoulder this responsibility alone. At the moment private sector investment in developing countries, including foreign direct investment, stands at around USD 300 billion a year, while private philanthropy accounts for around USD 6.5 billion per year.
Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark mentioned a concrete example of such a project: the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Kenya. The project not only ensures that a sustainable source of energy is developed, but also provides electricity to children in off-grid villages via a separate windfarm. Access to education, aided by being able to continue studying at night, is a key future driver of sustainable development in the Kenyan economy. This project is partly financed by Danish ODA, but working in partnership with the Danish private sector.
Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President & Chief Patient Officer, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy, and Population Health, MSD, mentioned that MSD has integrated the SDGs into their business plan and is very committed to ensuring that it contributes in a way that is directly linked to the core business rather than to the more limited corporate social responsibility agenda. She continued that for the moment a full picture of the involvement of the private sector does not exist. It would be very useful if such an overview could be developed, clarifying the many types of projects, and helping find partners in other sectors. Mary Robinson mentioned that the OECD would be very well placed to carry out the research needed for such an overview.
According to Adrian Lovett, beyond investment we also need to crack down on losses. Trillions of dollars are lost in developing countries each year because of illicit flows, tax evasion and other such challenges. “We need to bring together the broad sources of finance that contribute to development outcomes. We need to combine that with a renewed effort to crack down on the losses”. ONE would like the G20 to, “commit to doubling official development aid to Africa – because that’s where we’ll see the greatest needs by 2030 – over the next five years”.
Finally, Mary Robinson highlighted that to ensure trillions are invested in sustainable development finance – and to do so in a way that is respectful of the environment, the climate and human needs and rights – will require significant leadership from both the public and private sectors, and from all countries and communities. In order to facilitate this, a culture of dialogue and close collaboration will be key. Living up to the 2030 Agenda calls for new approaches, instruments and partnerships, as well as the policies that shape them.
- How can the public, philanthropic and private sectors work together to finance the Sustainable Development Goals?
- What kinds of partnerships can be developed?
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|Sustainable Development Goals
GOT A FEW MORE MINUTES?
- Mairead Dundas, Presenter & Reporter, Down to Earth, France 24 @maireaddundas
- Douglas Frantz, Deputy Secretary-General, OECD, scene setter @OECD
- Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President & Chief Patient Officer, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy, and Population Health, MSD @Merck
- Adrian Lovett, Europe Executive Director, ONE @adrianlovett
- Torben Möger Pedersen, CEO, PensionDanmark @TorbenMogerP
- Mary Robinson, former President, Ireland; Founder and President, Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice @mrfcj
- Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark