Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD-DAC)

Development Co-operation Report 2016

The Sustainable Development Goals as Business Opportunities

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Published on July 18, 2016

Also available in: French


The face of development has changed, with diverse stakeholders involved – and implicated – in what are more and more seen as global and interlinked concerns. At the same time, there is an urgent need to mobilise unprecedented resources to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The private sector can be a powerful promotor of sustainable development. Companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. The public sector can leverage the private sector contribution, helping to manage risk and providing insights into effective policy and practice. Yet in order to set the right incentives, a better understanding is needed of the enabling factors, as well as the constraints, for businesses and investors interested in addressing sustainable development challenges.
The Development Co-operation Report 2016 explores the potential and challenges of investing in developing countries, in particular through social impact investment, blended finance and foreign direct investment. The report provides guidance on responsible business conduct and outlines the challenges in mobilising and measuring private finance to achieve the SDGs.  Throughout the report, practical examples illustrate how business is already promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. Part II of the report showcases the profiles and performance of development co-operation providers, and presents DAC statistics on official and private resource flows.  


Executive summary
Infographic. Investing in people, the planet and prosperity: Five pathways
Overview: Putting sustainable development at the core of business models
The SDGs as sustainable business opportunities and five approaches to make it happen5 chapters available
Trends in foreign direct investment and their implications for development
Blending public and private funds for sustainable development
Measuring private finance mobilised for sustainable development
Investing for social impact in developing countries
Promoting sustainable development through responsible business conduct
Profiles of development co-operation providers32 chapters available
Engaging the private sector in development co-operation: Learning from peers
Development Assistance Committee members' ODA performance in 2014 and 2015
Czech Republic
European Union institutions
New Zealand
Slovak Republic
United Kingdom
United States
Providers of development co-operation beyond the DAC: Trends and profiles
Annexes3 chapters available
Technical notes on definitions and measurement
Methodological notes on the Profiles of Development Assistance Committee members
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The Development Co-operation Report 2016


Highlights and key messages

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Download PDF of highlights document (English | French | German)

Infographic: Five pathways

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View the full infographic


Launch of the report at the United Nations High-level Political Forum, 18 July 2016

Martin Shearman, UK Ambassador to the UN for Development and Human Rights, welcomed participants.

OECD Deputy Secretary-General Douglas Frantz moderated a debate among a panel of experts:

  • Louise Kantrow, International Chamber of Commerce Permanent Representative to the United Nations
  • Luis René Martínez Souvervielle, President of the Specialized Technical Committee for the SDGs (CTEODS), Mexico
  • Alex Nkosi, Policy Officer at Africa Trade Union Development Network (ATUDN), African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa)
  • Javier Cortés, Senior Manager, Local Networks - Latin America, United Nations Global Compact


Well-structured public finance can align profit and sustainability aspirations, LI Yong (UNDP Our Perspectives, 29 September)

African countries need institutions that will direct investment to where it is needed mostAndrew Chipwende (UNDP Our Perspectives, 29 August)

How do we measure the mobilisation of private finance?, Jeff Chelsky (World Bank Blog, 2 August)

Can smart investment make sustainable development a reality?, Marco Lambertini (WWF Ecological Blog, 2 August)

Innovative mechanisms can help to mobilise domestic finance, Philippe Orliange (, 25 July)

Where impact investing meets sustainable development, Sonal Shah (GreenBiz, 25 July)

The Sustainable Development Goals as Business OpportunitiesRob Mulligan (United States Council for International Business, 21 July)

Businesses need to do more to fight against poverty, Sharan Burrow (Equal Times, 18 July)

The challenge: How can foreign direct investment fulfil its development potential? Karl P. Sauvant (OECD Insights, 22 July)

Sustainable development challenges are business challenges, Louise Kantrow (International Chamber of Commerce blog series, 20 July)

The challenge: Can social impact investment serve the “bottom of the pyramid”? Julie Sunderland, (OECD Insights, 20 July)

The public sector can do much to promote social impact investment in developing countriesManuel Sager (, 19 July)

6 necessary steps to make the SDGs a reality, James Zhan (GreenBiz, 18 July)

Public sector cannot go it alone on aid financing, says OECD, Emma Rumney (Public Finance International, 18 July)

“Doing Good While Doing Well” is the Mantra for SDG Success, Jay Collins (CITI Blog, 18 July)

The challenge: How can international co-operation help to put sustainable development at the core of business models?,  Amina J. Mohammed  (UNDP Our Perspectives, 18 July)

There’s a $2.5 billion development investment gap. Blended finance could plug it, Gavin E.R. Wilson (World Economic Forum, 18 July)

Engaging the private sector in sustainable development  finance involves commitment, careful analysis and alignment of objectives, Pierre Jacquet (Global Development Network, 18 July)

Business can fuel the clean technologies that are needed to achieve global goals, Jim Balsillie (CIGI, 15 July)

A new corporate performance measurement framework can encourage sustainable success, for business and for societyPeter Bakker (We Mean Business, 24 June)

How Businesses Can Do Well By Doing GoodErik Solheim (Huffington Post, 23 June)


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