Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development 2021
A New Way to Invest for People and Planet
The Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development 2021 calls for collective
action to address both the short-term collapse in resources of developing countries
as well as long-term strategies to build back better following the outbreak of the
COVID-19 pandemic. The financing gap to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) in developing countries was estimated at several trillions of dollars annually
before the pandemic. The report demonstrates that progress to leave no one behind
has since reversed, and the international community faces unprecedented challenges
to implement the holistic financing strategy set out in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda
(AAAA). The report finds that trillions of dollars in financial assets held by asset
managers, banks and institutional investors are contributing to inequalities and unsustainable
practices. It highlights the need to enhance the quality of financing through better
incentives, accountability and transparency mechanisms, integrating the long-term
risks of climate change, global health, and other non-financial factors into investment
decisions. The report concludes with a plan of action for all actors to work jointly
to reduce market failures in the global financial system and to seize opportunities
to align financing in support of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has magnified the financing gap to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in developing countries, with threats to SDG progress across all countries.
As COVID-19 unfolds, financing for sustainable development is at risk of collapse, with all resources available to developing countries under stress.
The ‘scissor effect’ of SDG financing – increasing needs and declining resources already observed in previous years - has been magnified.
Poverty levels are on the rise and millions livelihoods are at stake.
A step change is needed to shift the trillions in favour of sustainable and inclusive development along the entire investment chain
Investing in the SDGs and “leaving no one behind” go beyond an ethical imperative; they are also a risk mitigation strategy and a business opportunity.
However, the trillions held in the financial system continue to fuel inequalities and unsustainable investments. On the one hand, a debt crisis looms in developing countries who lack financial reserves to implement a greener and more resilient recovery. On the other hand, a black box surrounds the actual environmental and social impact of investments.
The fragmentation of the different measurements of the quality or sustainability of financing have led to challenges to assess SDG alignment across different sources of financing, increasing the risk of SDG washing and threatening the long-term value of assets.
The second edition of the Global Outlook calls to change the way we invest by lifting barriers to SDG alignment at their source
Misalignment starts at home, and domestic policies in OECD and other countries, as well as international regulations, guide private sector decisions to invest at their source.
Trillions of dollars in recovery and stimulus packages as well as financial assets held by banks, institutional investors or asset managers are increasing their sustainability focus, i.e. the twin goals of financial and non-financial returns.
With the right guidance and incentives these resources could make a tremendous contribution to a better world.
The role of governments and regulators is not to force the shift but to increase the efficiency of markets and remedy their failures to leave no one and no goal behind.
Responding to a request of G7 Development Ministers, the OECD and UNDP developed the Framework to identify obstacles and solutions to the alignment of finance with the SDGs, review existing initiatives, and propose actions for public and private actors along the investment chain.