International cooperation key to mobilizing $3.8 trillion needed to commit to Action on SDGs

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  • Private sector needs to step up to help mobilize critical 1% of world’s US$379 trillion
  • Call for governments to seize opportunity granted by pandemic to address global approach to climate change and SDGs

Cairo, Egypt: International cooperation lies at the core of the world’s collective effort to get the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track after COVID-19 posed both health and socioeconomic challenges.

During the first edition of the Egypt-International Cooperation Forum (Egypt — ICF), organized by the Ministry of International Cooperation, United Nations officials and leaders of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) highlighted that many countries must now enter a “serious process” of implementation, building on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and the priorities that were identified.

According to a panel of leaders in the sustainable and economic development space, the world is capable of  implementing the SDGs by 2030. Nevertheless, it currently needs  to reach consensus on the effective mechanisms to mobilize one percent of the $379 trillion needed to achieve the SDGs in the global system.

Speaking at a high-level panel session at the inaugural Egypt — ICF, running from September 8 to 9 in Cairo, Dr. Khalida Bouzar, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States, said: “We need to have policies that not only mobilize public financing but also private financing in support of the SDGs.”

She noted that despite the need to mobilize just one percent of the $379 trillion in the global economic system, only about 0.04 percent was mobilized in development funds in 2020 worldwide. The pandemic has given the world an opportunity it “cannot miss,” Bouzar said, to unlock the financing necessary to achieve the SDGs.

Jorge Moreira da Silva, Director of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Co-operation Directorate, said: “It is critical to mobilize one percent of $379 trillion. But it cannot be done without a holistic approach; as it is important to emphasize the role of multilateralism” and that “we need to adopt standards and emphasize on the role of triangular cooperation and multilateralism,” he added.

Stressing the need for countries to work together for the future of humankind, Dr. Abdulhakim Elwaer, Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said: “We need to reconsider how we look at our future before another crisis hits us. There is no one country that can go it alone, and international cooperation remains at the core of our survival.”

Amid concern that the pandemic has impeded the progress towards acheciving the SDGs, Anita Bhatia, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, said the world has to acknowledge that progress towards the SDGs has been challenged by the pandemic.

“If we are to achieve the 2030 Agenda, we need to think about how we leverage the investors out there who want to do well financially but also do good by bringing private resources to the Agenda,” she added. Bahita also elaborated that developing economies struggling to recover from the pandemic need the support of specific policy decisions that include supporting women’s income, health, and security.

Speaking about the negative impact of COVID-19 on fighting world hunger, Dr Khaled Sherif, Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery at the African Development Bank, said: “SDG 2 is Zero Hunger. Clearly, this goal was not abided by. Countries looked out for themselves rather than for the public good across the globe and especially in Africa.”

Under the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDGs are 17 interlinked global goals designed as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future. Following the pandemic and the unprecedented economic, social, and health issues it brought, the implementation of the SDGs witnessed a significant hindrance.

Egypt-ICF aims to drive transformative change and enhance international cooperation to pace up progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

About the Egypt – International Cooperation Forum:

The Egypt — International Cooperation Forum (Egypt — ICF) is a two-day global event that convenes the international community to drive a sustainable recovery through multilateralism.

Organized by Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation, the Forum is being held in Cairo, Egypt, between 8-9 September 2021 in a hybrid format – allowing both physical and virtual attendance.

The Egypt — ICF provides a unique global platform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, to bring together international policymakers, multilateral and bilateral development partners, private sector stakeholders, civil society and think tanks to collaboratively reboot international cooperation through economic diplomacy in the post-pandemic era.

The Forum aims to foster a collective international commitment to accelerate the transition to a green and inclusive global recovery, catalyze social mobility in Africa and tackle climate change.

The Egypt — ICF is co-organized with leading international development institutions, including: the United Nations, the World Bank Group, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).