A major new UN-led report, involving more than 60 international organizations, warns that a comprehensive overhaul of the world’s financial system is necessary, if governments are to honour commitments to tackle critical issues, such as combatting climate change and eradicating poverty by 2030.
The 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, says that achieving the financing needed to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – the UN’s plan of action for peace, planet and prosperity – is not just about finding additional investment, but also building supportive financial systems, and global and national policy environments, which are favourable to sustainable development.
In addition, increasing inequality has hit many people’s faith in the multilateral system and, in his foreword to the report, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, says: “Our shared challenge is to make the international trading and financial systems fit for purpose to advance sustainable development and promote fair globalization.”
Recommendations for a sustainable economy, financial system
Despite the many problems and roadblocks outlined in the report, the international organizations involved found that interest in sustainable investment is growing in the finance community, with some three-quarters of individual investors showing interest in how their financial behaviour affects the world.
The report also contains a number of recommendations for ways to bring about a more sustainable global economy and financial system. These 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.