Financing the SDGs in cities: Innovative new approaches

By Gail Hurley, Policy Specialist on Development Finance, Bureau for Programme and Policy Support, United Nations Development Programme

undp-mumbai.jpg
Mumbai is among a growing number of cities exploring green bonds as an option for financing sustainable urban development.

 “Cities are major drivers of the global economy. Today, cities occupy only 2% of total land but account for 70% of GDP.” (Habitat III, 2016)

Many of the investments needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will take place at the sub-national level and be led by local authorities, especially in urban areas. Massive public and private investments will be needed to improve access to sustainable urban services and infrastructure, to improve cities’ resilience to climate change and shocks, and to prepare them to host 2.5 billion new residents over the next three decades, particularly in developing countries.  If city authorities can meet these challenges head-on, the sustainable development dividends could be immense. This reality underscores the need to recognise and strengthen the capacities of local authorities as major actors in promoting sustainable development.
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Human development and the 2030 Agenda: Effecting positive change in people’s lives

By Selim Jahan, Director, Human Development Report Office, UNDP

humandevThis September marked the first anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As we shift into the implementation phase, increasingly I am asked: “How is the concept of human development linked to the 2030 Agenda? How is it relevant to the achievement of the new goals?”

The UN Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals already mirrored the basic principles of human development – expanding human capabilities by addressing basic human deprivations (ending extreme poverty and hunger, promoting good health and education, etc.).
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The three circles of philanthropy: Taking a tiered approach to achieving the SDGs

By Bathylle Missika, Senior Counsellor to the Director of the OECD Development Centre and Head of Unit – Partnerships & Networks, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

the-three-circles-of-philanthropy2People around the world have little faith in the ability of just governments to deliver on the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They know governments alone can’t promote sustainable development and prosperity for all. What will make a difference is involving new partners. Philanthropic foundations, with their resources, expertise and quest for innovation, are prime partners in development. But how do we unleash the power of philanthropy to be agents of development change? How can we tap into this community of philanthropists and leverage their ability to take risks and to innovate in sectors like education, gender or youth empowerment? Better understanding foundations and how they view the 2030 Agenda will help us better partner with them. That’s why the OECD’s Network of Foundations Working for Development (netFWD) unveiled a new circle typology to outline a fresh way to think about and understand philanthropies and their role in advancing the SDGs and well-being overall. Continue reading

Reaching the last mile: The role of innovative finance in meeting the SDGs

By Judith Karl, Executive Secretary of UNCDF, and Samuel Choritz, Policy Adviser at UNCDF

financesdgsTo meet the SDGs with their emphasis on leaving no one behind, we need solutions that tackle persistent exclusions and inequalities in the local economies and communities where the poor live and work. Targeting the last mile means adapting solutions to the households, localities and small enterprises that are underserved, where development needs are greatest and where resources are scarcest.

Addressing market failures by making finance work for the poor is a critical catalyser to this end. Official Development Assistance (ODA) can be the largest source of external finance in least-developed countries, where private investment often favours commodity and real estate sectors. Disparities in incomes and living standards show that location matters more for living standards in developing countries than it does in developed ones [1]. “Last mile finance” models can use public resources — such as ODA — to de-risk and crowd-in public and private finance, especially from domestic sources, to create virtuous dynamics of inclusion, local growth, resilience, and productive investment. Continue reading

Integrating the local and global urban agendas

By David Simon, Director, Mistra Urban Futures, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

In October, world leaders will gather in Quito for the Habitat III summit to launch the New Urban Agenda. This is on top of the start this year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is odd that to date these two vitally important global urban initiatives led by the United Nations have been kept separate. It would be far more logical and extremely valuable, however, to link them by using SDG 11, the urban goal, as a monitoring and evaluation framework for the New Urban Agenda. A specific comparative urban experiment conducted last year could serve as a model for achieving just such a link.

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Revising ODA in the era of SDGs

By Andrea Vignolo, Executive Director of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation, and Karen Van Rompaey, Knowledge Manager of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation.



SDGsDiscussions on the post-2015 development agenda have paved the way to new thinking about development as a multidimensional and global process. They also have built momentum for revising and modernising the concept and concessionality of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

ODA’s eligibility and graduation criteria are still based fundamentally on countries’ economic growth performance. A growing consensus among academic, practitioner and political communities reveal that classifying countries according to their per capita income is inadequate to measure well-being or sustainability. Furthermore, it is not fit for the purpose of “leaving no one behind” in the era of universal sustainable development goals.

Achieving sustainable development is a far more complex enterprise than achieving economic growth. It requires not only the latter, but also specific knowledge, technologies, the right incentives and institutional capacities to change the way we currently live, work, produce, consume, share the fruits of growth and treat the planet. Otherwise, the quest towards economic growth can lead to negative consequences for the environment and future generations.

Middle- and upper-income developing countries have had access to an enhanced domestic resource base in the past decade to set forth their development priorities. They increasingly have assisted other developing countries through South-South and triangular co-operation. As a result of this growth in their aggregate income, some of them, like Antigua and Barbuda, Chile and Uruguay, have been classified recently as “high-income countries.”

Is this just good news?

Despite past growth and progress in their human development indicators, most of these upper-income developing countries still face acute structural gaps and vulnerabilities that constitute persistent development bottlenecks. They need to close gaps in policies, institutions and capacities to ensure policy coherence towards sustainable development. They lag behind when it comes to accessing, for example, technologies and knowledge, both of which are the “game changers” required to transform their current model of growth into sustainable development.

Moreover, the “rise of the South” has halted in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), threatening to jeopardize all progress made to date. Currently, the LAC region is experiencing a slowdown in trade, a decrease in investment in physical infrastructure as well as human capital and innovation, and a reduction in fiscal space. External vulnerability remains very high since most of the economies in the region lack diversification and are vulnerable to climate change.

Hence, ODA can play a strategic role to support these countries in the transition needed to build capacities in key areas/policy issues such as institutions, economic structures, risk management, social cohesion, research and innovation/technology to effectively achieve sustainable development.

Furthermore, by participating in triangular co-operation schemes, these developing countries can expand their contribution to global sustainable development by sharing their experiences, lessons learned and policy innovations.

Humankind stands at a critical juncture, when it is important to count on the contributions and support of all stakeholders to achieve the global sustainable development goals. It is therefore necessary to work towards an integral and non-exclusionary system of development co-operation that will fulfill the commitments made to date.

For an international co-operation system to be truly integral and non-exclusionary, it needs to provide the right incentives and overcome any zero-sum glance at the issues. While focusing on countries with greater challenges and less capacity to mobilise their own resources, ODA should support all developing countries according to their diverse conditions and needs. In this way, they can build their capacities and contribute towards global sustainable development.

Finally, it is thus necessary to review the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s current ODA graduation criteria to include other multidimensional measures of well-being and sustainability beyond GNI and an alternative timeframe, according to the scale of both the challenges and commitments of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Revising ODA in the era of SDGs

By Andrea Vignolo, Executive Director of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation, and Karen Van Rompaey, Knowledge Manager of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation

SDGs
Discussions on the post-2015 development agenda have paved the way to new thinking about development as a multidimensional and global process. They also have built momentum for revising and modernising the concept and concessionality of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

ODA’s eligibility and graduation criteria are still based fundamentally on countries’ economic growth performance. A growing consensus among academic, practitioner and political communities 1 reveal that classifying countries according to their per capita income is inadequate to measure well-being or sustainability. Furthermore, it is not fit for the purpose of “leaving no one behind” in the era of universal sustainable development goals.  Continue reading