Abu Dhabi: UN chief calls for $500 billion annual stimulus for sustainable development

Guterres urged heads of state, ministers, business leaders to put the Sustainable Development Goals Stimulus Package into effect


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Tue 17 Oct 2023, 12:58 PM

Last updated: Tue 17 Oct 2023, 8:48 PM

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for action from public and private sectors to deliver $500 billion a year in affordable, long-term financing to developing countries.

The ongoing eighth World Investment Forum, organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Abu Dhabi, focuses on the investment challenges faced by the world’s developing countries amid today’s global crises.

Guterres, in a statement, urged heads of state, ministers, business leaders, sovereign wealth fund managers, private sector executives, stock exchanges and experts to put the Sustainable Development Goals Stimulus Package into effect and work towards delivering $500 billion annual investment for developing countries.

He also called on governments to establish a fair price on carbon and companies to implement credible net-zero plans, aligning with the high-level expert group's recommendations on non-state entities' net-zero emissions commitments.

Separately, the ‘Global Leaders Investment Summit 2023’ addressed the $4 trillion SDG investment gap, as only 15 per cent of the SDGs are on target to be met by 2030, with the investment gap in the developing world growing from $2.5 trillion per year in 2015 to $4 trillion now. The summit revealed a staggering $6 trillion valuation for the sustainable finance market.

“Not enough funds are going into new renewable energy plants, water and sanitation installations, agricultural projects, hospitals. And only 5 per cent of all sustainable funds are located in developing countries,” Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, said.

“Funding exists, but allocation has been misguided.”

Leaders, including Germany’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, discussed ways to close the SDG investment gap, mobilise sustainable finance in global capital markets, ensure sustainability standards in sustainable finance and channel more funds to where they are needed most.

The discussion emphasised the key need for international coordination given the scale of the investment needs and blended finance involving both public and private sectors, including new actors such as sovereign wealth funds.

The forum spotlighted critical sectors, such as the just energy transition and perspectives from countries like Indonesia, South Africa and Vietnam.

The forum held under the theme ‘Investing in Sustainable Development’ strategically aligns with the upcoming global climate change talks at COP28. A dedicated track within the forum will focus on advancing climate finance and investment, providing a crucial platform for policymakers to find solutions and support global climate negotiations.


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