UNGA Retreat Focuses on Ways to Finance Sustainable Infrastructure

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Sustainable infrastructure investments have a critical role to play in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the Rockefeller Foundation, there is a $2.5 trillion annual funding gap in developing countries alone to achieve the SDGs.

The recent UN General Assembly (UNGA) retreat convened in New York highlighted the need to mobilize new and additional resources for financing sustainable infrastructure in developing countries, and aligning investments with the SDGs. The retreat was convened under the theme, ‘Catalyzing New Coalitions to Accelerate Co-Financing of Sustainable Infrastructure: Challenges and Opportunities.’

Participants in the retreat included representatives from government, the private financial sector, Development Finance institutions, academia, and the UN Secretariat. The retreat convened in collaboration with UN Environment and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University.

Retreat participants suggested prioritizing the alignment of ESG reporting guidelines with the SDGs and encouraging the standardization of criteria by the corporate sector and investors to create a level playing field. They said that credit rating agencies should consider the latest, most accurate data available on developing and emerging market countries in order to provide a strong foundation for risk profiles.

Retreat attendees also recommended mobilizing capital from multiple sources in order to expand infrastructure investment; applying public capital at the early stages of project development; increasing understanding of private investors’ needs and constraints and the risk perceptions that shape investment decisions; and engaging host-country stakeholders in project design and decision-making in order to gain community acceptance.

Other potential areas of engagement identified during the discussions included aligning commercial, philanthropic and government entities to stimulate performance-driven infrastructure financing related to tropical forests and biodiversity protection; and encouraging the creation of sovereign green bonds that could protect domestic irrigated agriculture and improve water-use efficiency in regions vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.

Source: IISD

Image Credit: UN Photo/Logan Abassi