18 June 2019
Istanbul Development Dialogues Focus on Ways to Scale up SDG Financing
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Panels addressed financing from different institutional and policy perspectives and focused on the role of new financing mechanisms in mobilizing finance.

A panel recognized the key role of governments in promoting investments in sustainable development.

The UNDP Administrator outlined UNDP’s “unique offer to mobilize and direct public and private sector finance towards a sustainable future” to achieve the SDGs.

June 2019: Participants at the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Istanbul Development Dialogues (IDD) considered opportunities to mobilize and scale up financing to achieve the SDGs. The Dialogue focused on the theme, ‘Financing the SDGs.’

The Istanbul Development Dialogues convened from 27-28 May 2019, in Istanbul, Turkey, at UNDP’s Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development. The Centre aims to contribute to SDG implementation through mobilizing and supporting partners around the world.

According to UNDP, the financial cost of achieving the SDGs is estimated to be between USD5-7 trillion annually. In this context, Dialogue participants considered how to re-purpose and align investments with sustainable development and the needs of future generations to achieve more people-oriented global financial systems. Panels addressed financing from different institutional and policy perspectives, and discussed the role of multilateral development banks (MDBs) in scaling up sustainable development investments. The IDD also focused on the role of new financing mechanisms, such as blockchain technologies, Fintech, green bonds, Islamic finance and remittances, in mobilizing finance in alignment with environmental and social benefits. IDD participants also considered issues related to risk, impact and accountability.

In a keynote address, Turkey’s President of Strategy and Budget, Naci Agbal, said financing the SDGs requires a “collective responsibility” from a wide range of actors to mobilize “more funds in a more coordinated manner” to foster economic growth that ensures human well-being, preserves the environment and achieves the SDGs. He called for addressing infrastructure challenges, and ensuring technology transfer to developing transfers. Agbal urged governments to create a stronger enabling environment to encourage the private sector to invest in financing the SDGs.

In another keynote address, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner outlined UNDP’s “unique offer to mobilize and direct public and private sector finance towards a sustainable future” to achieve the SDGs. He said UNDP has created a Finance Sector Hub to identify existing work across UNDP and support UNDP teams to scale up their work on SDG financing. For example, he said UNDP supports over 140 countries with USD3 billion in climate action funding, comprising the UN system’s largest climate action portfolio, and he said UNDP’s expertise in this area can be leveraged into SDG financing.

Steiner said UNDP will place the SDGs at the center of financial systems through seven strategic areas:

  • developing and implementing integrated national financing frameworks (INFFs) and strategies to finance national development plans;
  • integrating SDGs into domestic public finance through budget reforms;
  • promoting SDG-aligned fiscal instruments, including by building on UNDP relationships with key government institutions;
  • enhancing the role of international public finance in SDG financing;
  • unlocking private finance for the SDGs and aligning the private sector with the 2030 Agenda through UNDP’s ‘SDG Impact,’ which aims to leverage significant private sector financing to achieve the SDGs in developing countries through the development of SDG Investor Maps to help countries attract SDG enabling investments from the private sector;
  • aligning business strategies and operations for the SDGs; and
  • strengthening systems and establishing norms for monitoring and managing the SDGs.

A panel on government perspectives on financing the SDGs recognized the key role of governments in promoting investments in sustainable development. Moderator Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva, Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, said financing the SDGs is a challenge “in all contexts,” emphasizing that all countries, including lower- and upper-middle-income countries, face challenges in mobilizing financing to implement the SDGs. He called for innovation to address financing challenges.

Participants underscored the importance of clearly linking national budget lines with SDG targets and indicators through results-based budgeting, public finance reforms and whole-of-government approaches to development planning and policies. Albania’s Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance, Dajna Sorenson, said that approximately 61% of Albania’s central government funding can be directly classified as financing SDG achievement. She said 50% of SDG financing goes to SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) followed by investments in SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure). Panelists also discussed the role of public policies in attracting and scaling up investments in sustainability, including through green bonds and reinsurance to manage climate and disaster risks.

UNDP held the first IDD in 2015. [IDD Website] [UNDP Administrator Statement] [UNDP Blog in Advance of IDD] [SDG Impact Initiative]

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