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Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic


Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle
inequalities exacerbated by pandemic

NEW
YORK, 12 April
– With many economies reeling as a
result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities
continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to
unlock concrete investments to support a sustainable and
resilient recovery at the Forum on Financing for Development
(FfD
Forum
) that starts today.

The four-day Forum,
held under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC), is taking place as many countries are
facing increased financial debt and liquidity pressures
because of the pandemic. The FfD Forum will be held
virtually, with selected in-person sessions.

“We
are missing a once-in-a-generation opportunity for bold,
creative solutions that will strengthen the response and
recovery, while accelerating progress across the entire 2030
Agenda and the Paris Agreement,” UN Secretary-General
António Guterres said. “To address the challenges of the
future, including those revealed by COVID-19, we need an
enormous push at the highest political level.”

New
and immediate financing for sustainable development is the
key to mobilizing the money that developing countries need
to recover from the pandemic, said Prime Minister Imran Khan
of Pakistan. 

“The challenge posed by the
COVID crisis is, as the UN Secretary-General has said, also
an opportunity to ‘build back better,’ ” Khan noted in
his opening remarks to the Forum. “We must seize this
opportunity to transform the world economy into one that is
development-oriented and environmentally
sustainable.”

According to the Financing for
Sustainable Development Report 2021 (FSDR
), released by
the United Nations last month, COVID-19 has reversed gains
in poor countries, pushing about 120 million people back
into extreme poverty, with women and girls being
disproportionally affected. The report warns that only
immediate action can prevent a lost decade of development
for many countries.

The report also says smart
investment in infrastructure would create sustainable growth
and make the world more resilient to future shocks. This
could help combat climate change and significantly reduce
the risk of another pandemic. The report estimates that
spending US$ 70-120 billion over the next two years, and US$
20-40 billion annually thereafter, could save trillions of
dollars in economic and social damage resulting from another
crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified calls
for a stronger global response to the crisis and has focused
attention on the need to invest long-term to reform and
“future-proof” the policy and institutional systems at
all levels in alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development. Poor and developing countries do not have the
fiscal space to achieve these goals without sustainable
development financing.

This also requires actions at
the country level. Integrated National Financing Frameworks
(INFFs) provide a structure for financing sustainable
development and the SDGs at the country level. The UN
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union
will launch an INFF
Knowledge Platform
at a side event on Wednesday 14
April, as a digital space for gathering and sharing all
INFF-related knowledge, lessons, resources and tools. The
platform houses a series of step-by-step guidance materials
developed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for
Development to help countries get started, and supports a
growing Community of Practice.

The FfD Forum is an
annual intergovernmental event mandated to review the Addis
Ababa Action Agenda and other financing for development
outcomes to advance the implementation of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs). The event brings together heads of
state and government, ministers and other high-level
government officials as well senior representatives of
international organizations. Civil society, the private
sector, and local authorities are also
represented.

2021 SDG Investment
Fair

On 13-14 April, concurrent with the FfD
Forum, finance ministers and senior government officials
meet with the private sector and financial intermediaries at
the 2021 SDG Investment Fair, where developing countries
will present investment-ready projects to investors. Scaling
up private investment is crucial, particularly this year, as
the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a 42 per cent decline in
foreign direct investment in 2020. Expanding public-private
partnerships, or blended finance, is also crucial for global
recovery and for mobilizing implementation of the
SDGs. 

The event features participation from CEO
members of the Global Investors for Sustainable Development
Alliance (GISD) as well as Member States and key
participants from the financial sector. Confirmed speakers
include Jose Minaya, CEO, Nuveen;
Anne Simpson, Managing Investment Director,
CalPERS Board of Governance & Sustainability; and
José Viñals, Group Chairman, Standard
Chartered. 

Session formats
include:

  • Country Presentations: A
    regionally diverse group of countries (Kenya,
    Pakistan, Ghana and Jamaica
    ) will present
    investment-ready projects and engage in a moderated
    discussion with investors.

Policy
Spotlights:

Moderated sessions will address
critical policy and regulatory issues that shape an
attractive environment for SDG investment. For example,
“Developing and Implementing SDG-related Metrics” will
highlight the standardized metrics needed to report relevant
data for sustainable development
investing.

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