Mohieldin highlights role of SDG Stimulus and private sector in sustainable development financing

Ahram Online , Wednesday 19 Jul 2023

Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt, emphasized the significant role of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Stimulus and the private sector in financing development action.

UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt Mahmoud Mohieldin. Photo courtesy of Mohieldin's Media Office


This came during his virtual participation on Tuesday at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2023 (HLPF) which is being held from Monday to Wednesday in New York under the auspices of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Mohieldin, who is the UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, was a leading speaker at one of the forum's sessions, titled “SDG 9 in middle-income countries: accelerating the achievement of the 2030 Agenda”.

The special envoy highlighted the challenges middle-income countries (MICs) face in financing SDG 9, which focuses on promoting sustainable industries, innovation, and resilient infrastructure.

He underscored the impact of the global 'permacrisis,' including the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and their adverse effects on the economies of developing countries.

The 2023 HLPF aims to comprehensively assess the impact of interlinked crises on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and all SDGs.

It seeks to address necessary policies and transformations to overcome the crises, regain lost ground on the SDGs, and steer the world towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Mohieldin stressed that SDG Stimulus could significantly increase funding for achieving these goals, aiming for at least $500 billion annually.

He explained that these stimulus plans encompass short-term financing for emergencies and long-term plans for sustainable development financing.

He pointed out that these plans work to reduce debt costs and prevent developing and emerging economies from sliding into debt distress. This is accomplished mainly by converting short-term high-interest loans into long-term low-interest debts.

The envoy added that the plans scale up affordable long-term financing, especially through multilateral development banks (MDBs), by increasing hybrid capital, rechanneling Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and maximizing the benefits of private finance.

The plans also expand emergency financing to countries by integrating state contingency and disaster clauses into all lending operations.

Mohieldin emphasized that the private sector plays an important role in financing sustainable development and filling financing gaps, stressing that a new approach to leveraging private finance is required.

This approach should prioritize the development impact of projects over their bankability, and fairly share both risks and rewards.

He also confirmed the necessity to involve the private sector in all debt resolution mechanisms in developing countries.

Financing challenges

In another event, held on the same day, Mohieldin noted the significant efforts being made to finance a just climate transition.

His remarks came during a session entitled “Just Transitions for All: Achieving Climate and Social Justice”, also a part of 2023 HLPF.

The prominent Egyptian economist stated that despite the progress made since the launch of the Global Accelerator in September 2021, social protection financing has faced significant challenges in the past two years due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine and other crises.

At the same time, he pointed out that there is an opportunity to ensure that finance is directed towards the Global Accelerator through the SDG Stimulus launched by the UN Secretary-General, which calls for increasing investments to achieve the SDGs and just transitions, including social protection and the creation of decent jobs.

Mohieldin explained that the SDG Stimulus aims to boost financing for these goals by at least $500 billion annually, especially through MDBs, while expanding contingency financing to include countries most in need.

He pointed out the opportunity to guide resources toward just transitions through the reorientation of SDRs, including through the  International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST), among other channels.

In this context, Mohieldin called on the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and other organizations to increase their engagement with member states to secure their commitments to social protection, and a just transition.

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