UN report says financial system overhaul needed for 2030 Agenda
Unless national and international financial systems are revamped, the world's governments will fail to keep their promises toward the sustainable development goals in the 2030 Agenda, a UN report said Thursday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
The 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report contains some "sobering messages," showing low wage growth, rising inequality and debt distress, and stagnating aid levels, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said after its release.
In 2015, a UN summit adopted the 2030 Agenda that comprises 17 sustainable development goals, including ending extreme poverty, preserving the environment and promoting economic growth.
In his foreword to the report, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: "The world cannot achieve the sustainable development goals without a fundamental shift in the international financial system that enables us to address urgent global threats and restore trust in international cooperation."
According to the report, around 30 of the world's least developed and other vulnerable countries are either in or at high risk of debt distress.
Tax revenues are insufficient, it said, and small and poor countries are not adequately included in international tax architecture reform efforts.
While foreign direct investment flows to developing countries increased in 2018, they remain unevenly distributed, largely bypassing many least developed countries, said the deputy UN Chief.
In the meantime, the report contains some recommendations for ways to bring about a more sustainable global economy and financial system.
The recommendations include a shift to long-term investment, and an inclusion of sustainability as a central risk factor; a revamp of the multilateral trading system; and addressing the concentration of markets into the hands of a small number of powerful companies, which are not limited by national borders.
At the national level, the report put forward a roadmap for countries to revamp their public and private financial systems to mobilize resources for sustainable investment.
Meanwhile, the report showed a decline of confidence in the multilateral system.
"Trust in the multilateral system itself is eroding, in part because we are not delivering inclusive and sustainable growth for all," said Guterres in the foreword.
He stressed "our shared challenge is to make the international trading and financial systems fit for purpose to advance sustainable development and promote fair globalization."
Echoing this, Mohammed said rather than retreating from multilateral cooperation, "we must strengthen collective action to address global challenges in support of sustainable development."
The report also noted some positive development. Investment has gained strength in some countries and interest in sustainable investment is growing, with 75 percent of individual investors showing interest in how their investments affect the world.
"Private sector interest in sustainable finance is growing," said Guterres, adding "the sustainable development goals are increasingly being incorporated in public budgets and development cooperation efforts."
However, these changes are not happening at "the required scale, nor with the necessary speed," he said. "As a result, many key SDG (sustainable development goals) investments remain unfunded."
The 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report is the result of collaboration among 60 entities from the United Nations system and beyond, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Between April 15 and 18, the UN will discuss the findings of the report at the Economic and Social Council Forum on Financing for Development, where UN member states agree on measures necessary to mobilize sustainable financing.