Financing the Sustainable Development Goals: The Contributions of the Multilateral Development Banks

24 Dec 2020

The year 2020 marks 75 years of multilateralism since the United Nations (UN) came into existence and 5 years since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs present a new vision of development for all countries linking people, planet, and prosperity. The financing needed to realize this vision has grown from billions to trillions.

With only 10 years to go before 2030, we have entered a Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs. In this context, the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the International Monetary Fund have come together to highlight our efforts to support countries in achieving the SDGs, by providing finance, technical assistance, policy support, and knowledge.

This year, in the context of the unprecedented coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the MDBs acted swiftly to reorient their financing to help address critical needs, developing a global response package of $230 billion. The package will help address threats to peoples’ lives through short-term emergency health sector financing, accelerated infrastructure investment financing, and other instruments including trade finance and guarantees. It will also support MSMEs that have been hard-hit by the pandemic.

The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of the progress countries have made toward the SDGs and underlined the imperative of fostering better and more resilient development through a stronger focus on achieving the SDGs. Together, the Heads of MDBs have reflected on opportunities to strengthen their support for this vital agenda at this critical time. We recognize the urgency to achieve the 2030 Agenda through the work that needs to go into building a more resilient post-COVID-19 world.

This report features our efforts related to each of the 17 SDGs, reflecting our respective mandates and comparative advantages. Unlike commercial banks, the MDBs seek to maximize development impact rather than profits. We all agree that the investment required to achieve the SDGs vastly exceeds what the public sector can be expected to deliver. Steering private sector and other resources toward the SDGs is therefore crucial. Embodying the spirit of "SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals", the MDBs have developed close collaborations with each other and with other development partners, the UN, governments, private sector actors, and civil society to support this agenda as we work to reduce the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are committed to working with partner countries to emerge from the pandemic refocused on the SDGs, reflecting the principles of effective development cooperation.

To achieve these goals, we will deepen our focus on inclusion, and scale up our investments in people and human capital. We will strengthen our focus on resilience, including through economic and financial measures, to preserve our shared prosperity. We will continue to promote quality infrastructure that supports the SDGs, encourage digitalization, and foster innovation. We recognize the imperative to encourage green approaches to development and ambitious climate action, as envisioned in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and will enhance our efforts to protect the planet through our programming. We are also committed to continuing to work together to advance common approaches to results measurement in support of the SDGs.

I hope this report highlights our diverse ongoing efforts geared to supporting the SDGs. I am convinced that the MDBs have a key role to play through deeper collaboration during this Decade of Action to foster an inclusive, sustainable, green, and resilient future for the people we serve.

Read report here.

Bandar Hajjar
President, Islamic Development Bank
2020 Chair of the Meetings of the Heads of Multilateral Development Banks

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