While many challenges, and uncertainties, remain with the COVID-19 pandemic, what is clear is that if the world is to “build forward better” – and get back on a trajectory towards the SDGs – we need to get the right policies in place and mobilize the financing required to bring them to scale as soon as possible. In order to usher in a more sustainable, equitable and greener world, public and private capital will need to reach people, geographies and economies that need it the most.
COVID-19 has laid bare, and continues to exacerbate, deep inequalities and injustices while recent global warming data shows that the world is on track for continued devastating climate disruption. In response, many governments and increasingly key financial players are calling for more ambitious action and demanding a stronger integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the world’s compass for a sustainable word – into public and private investment decisions. Despite such calls, progress is slow. Private saving and investing are still not channeled towards sustainable development at the scale and speed required. Bottlenecks persist while a gap remains between vision and investor-activism and robust investment pipelines, financial capitalisation and execution capacity. Yet we also know that we have only just begun to connect real country-level demand with innovative financing solutions. The UN system, through the Joint SDG Fund, is committed to building bridges and forging partnerships that can help unlock capital for the SDGs.
The UN Joint SDG Fund provides catalytic grants to unblock SDG investment opportunities to accelerate countries toward the SDGs. Grants are provided to countries to demonstrate investment concepts while support is provided by a consortia of UN agencies, development banks and public and private investors. In addition to financial support, the UN supports the development of the enabling environment for more effective SDG investment at country level while empowering national political and business leadership to drive the agenda. Through UN country teams and partners in country, our grants support financial and political de-risking. We also provide parallel funding to support creation of the wider policy and legislative ecosystem for investments and provide technical assistance.
Our partners will manage and capitalise impact funds, issue thematic bonds, co-manage enterprise innovations and challenge funds. They will run accelerators for impact enterprises. We will blend these investments with smart public subsidies, serving as a buffer to de-risk the investments, and to introduce novel SDG-aligned financial products.
The Fund received proposals to craft or enhance blended financing schemes and deals from over 100 developing countries, some among the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change. These proposals are in the concept-development stage. Convergence Blended Finance, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, Transform Finance, and the OECD, led the selection of the ideas considered most likely to become future-proof transactions. They were selected on the basis of the impact they aimed to achieve, the leverage they sought to obtain, the partners already joined in the effort, the innovation brought forth to be taken to scale and the operational capacity they showed. These 28 proposals were awarded preparatory funding up to US$200,000 and four months to nurture and expand from an initial concept to a fleshed-out proposal. The ongoing due diligence process of the Fund will decide where to invest, up to US$10 million per country, over the next 4-5 years.
SDG Invest is the UN platform to host and support ambitious proposals that aim to mobilize much needed resources for the achievement of the SDGs at scale. As countries and companies struggle to attract much needed capital, in 2020, the UN Joint SDG Fund invested ca US$4 million to forge an innovative and impact-driven pipeline of 28 proposals that were facilitated and backed by the UN system. SDG Invest is committed to co-create a pipeline of solutions to finance the SDGs.
We support sponsors and consortia submitting proposals with advisory and mentoring.
Investor Matching And Facilitation
We facilitate the matching of SDG financing leaders with sponsors and consortia submitting proposals.
We provide small grants for “proof of concept” to refine the design and feasibility of public and private financial mechanisms. UN agencies are our grantees.
Learning And Sharing
We facilitate peer exchanges and learning communities and promote the sharing of lessons learned.