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22 April 2024

UN calls $500 billion annual stimulus for sustainable development


The United Nations on Friday called for a significant increase to the tune of US$500 billion each year in extra financing from the world’s most developed nations, to meet the crucial 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

So far, the global financial system has failed to effectively cushion the impacts of current crises impacting the Global South the most: the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis in Ukraine and the ongoing climate emergency.

“Today’s poly-crises are compounding shocks on developing countries – in large part because of an unfair global financial system that is short-term, crisis-prone, and that further exacerbates inequalities,” warned UN Secretary-General António Guterres, marking the launch of the SDG Stimulus.

“We need to massively scale up affordable long-term financing by aligning all financing flows to the SDGs and improving the terms of lending of multilateral development banks,” the Secretary-General stressed.

“The high cost of debt and increasing risks of debt distress demand decisive action to make at least US$500 billion dollars available annually to developing countries and convert short term lending into long term debt at lower interest rates.”

The SDG Stimulus aims to offset unfavorable market conditions faced by developing countries through investments in renewable energy, universal social protection, decent job creation, healthcare, quality education, sustainable food systems, urban infrastructure and a transformation to working digitally.

Increasing financing by US$500 billion per year is possible through a combination of concessional and non-concessional finance in a mutually reinforcing way, the UN says.