Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General’s remarks at closing of the 2019 Financing for Development Forum in New York on 18 April:
The last four days of discussions at this 2019 Financing for Development Forum have spotlighted and advanced our understanding of the challenges we face and have generated a range of powerful ideas on how to tackle them.
First, it is clear that the scale of financing required to address the challenges is much larger than any previously needed. Developing countries face an average annual funding gap of some $2.5 trillion of investment in health, education, roads, power, water and sanitation. On current trends – doing the same we have always done – we will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Second, the multilateral system is under strain in a rapidly changing global environment. Trust in the system is eroding, in part because we are not delivering inclusive and sustainable growth for all. While this is forcing the global community to revisit existing multilateral arrangements, it is also a huge opportunity to strengthen multilateral institutions.
There are many areas where multilateral cooperation is the only path to true solutions. Only by working together can we deal with sovereign debt restructuring, should that become necessary. Only through deeper international cooperation on tax matters can we effectively combat illicit financial flows and tax evasion and avoidance; only through an effective rules-based, open and non-discriminatory trading system can we ensure that all countries can realize the potential for growth and prosperity through trade. And international cooperation in all of these will be essential to mobilizing the resources for sustainable development.
Third, you have discussed the importance for countries to adopt integrated national financing frameworks. These are central to understanding what is needed to finance the SDGs in each country, to identifying what resources are available and where there is a gap and to devising consistent and coherent policies to mobilize additional resources, public and private, at the scale needed to help close that gap.
The concept of national financing frameworks was introduced in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. It is past time to start using them to mobilize sustainable financing on the ground.
Fourth, we have heard loud and clear that private sector interest in sustainable investment is growing. The engagement in the SDG Investment Fair is proof of that. Sustainable finance, too, is becoming much more available, if not yet mainstream. However, achieving sustainable development and combatting climate change require a long-term perspective. Public and private incentives need to be aligned with long-term sustainable development. Better regulation and increased transparency will also be essential.
To build on the growing interest of the private sector, the Secretary-General will launch in September the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance, comprising the Chief Executives of large companies around the world. By aligning their investment decisions with sustainable development, and by seeing in the Sustainable Development Goals the opportunity for good business, and helping to share the incentives and the systems to get all businesses to see sustainability at the core of their business model, they will set an example for entire industries and sectors.
We will revisit many of these issues next September, at the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, the SDG Summit, the high-level Review of the SAMOA Pathway, High-Level meeting on Universal Health Coverage and the Climate Summit.
But our time window for making good on our promises is closing. We need to come to the September High-Level Dialogue with concrete actions of sufficient ambition to address this tremendous financing gap.
I challenge all of us to take more concrete steps to bring us back on course to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for All.