Bridge US$2.5 trillion SDGs financing gap for developing countries, Akufo-Addo urges world leaders

President Akufo-Addo has called on world leaders to take steps to help bridge the SDGs financing gap, estimated to be US$2.5 trillion

Story Highlights
  • “The quest to achieve the SDGs has indeed become more daunting but this cannot and should not deflate our efforts. Rather, this is the time to think big, act big and act smartly”

President Akufo-Addo has called on world leaders, particularly those of the developed world, to take immediate steps to help bridge the financing gap that exists mostly in the developing world and is blocking the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The financing gap is estimated to be about US$2.5 trillion.

Addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Moment Conference during the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York City today (Monday 20 September 2021), President Akufo-Addo said: “In September 2019, world leaders at the SDGs summit in New York unanimously declared the years 2020 to 2030 as the decade of action and called on all member states to step up and scale up significantly actions to give our world a fighting chance of achieving the global goals by the end date of 2030.

COVID-19’s impact on the SDGs

“Sadly, however,” President Akufo-Addo observed, “a few months after this historic declaration, our world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has since had a devastating effect on life and livelihoods and significantly undermined the prospects of achieving the SDGs.

“Available estimates,” the president said, “indicate that in 2020 alone, some 124 million people in the world were pushed back into extreme poverty, with some 132 million people experiencing hunger as a result of the pandemic.”

President Akufo-Addo addresses the SDGs Moment in person and virtually

Bridge the gap

Akufo-Addo continued: “The net effect of these adverse developments is that our world is unlikely to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. The quest to achieve the SDGs has indeed become more daunting but this cannot and should not deflate our efforts. Rather, this is the time to think big, act big and act smartly.

“There is a pressing need to bridge the US$2.5 trillion SDGs financing gap, especially for developing countries where the human development deficit is indeed greatest,” Akufo-Addo said.

“With an estimated US$400 trillion available in global financial assets, as of 2019, the resources to finance the SDGs are certainly available. The question raised is whether the rich countries of the world are thus prepared to accept the new paradigm of the SDGs and play their part or not,” he declared.

New technologies

In his address, President Akufo-Addo stressed that the ability of the developing world, in particular, “to accept and deploy innovative solutions and new technologies will greatly speed up progress towards the goals”.

The president argued that “new forms of social practice and organisations, as well as new and improved technological products and processes, are key enablers for achieving the SDGs”.

Secretary general

The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, noted in his remarks that the world is challenged as never before by a host of threats, from climate change to conflict to COVID-19, which are putting the Sustainable Development Goals further out of reach.

“It will be easy to lose hope, but we not hopeless or helpless. We have a path to recovery if we choose to take it. That is what the SDG Moment is all about,” Secretary General Guterres said.

President Akufo-Addo addresses the SDGs Moment Conference in person and virtually


Urgent action

Secretary General Guterres said there are five areas of urgent action which, if achieved, will help to attain the 17 SDGs within the 2030 dealine.

“First, we need to end this pandemic. Our response has been too slow, and too unequal. I call on the world to mobilise behind the global vaccination plan that doubles vaccine production to reach 70% of the world’s population by the middle of next year.

“Second, we need to get down to the business of a sustainable, equitable recovery for all so that we stay on track to end poverty by 2030.

“Third, equal rights for women and girls. We cannot achieve anything on the SDGs without gender equality. We need bold investments to make sure every girl is sitting in the classroom to acquire the skills she needs to chart her own future.

“Fourth, we need to end the war on our planet. This means committing to zero emissions by 2050, ambitious climate and biodiversity plans, no new coal plants after 2021 and mobilising $100 billion a year for climate action, and helping developing countries make the shift to green economies a top priority [at] the upcoming climate conference COP 26, in Glasgow.

“Lastly, we need you, all of you. All of you are critical to global recovery. I urge you to work with your governments to put people first in their budgets and recovery plans.”

SDG Moment

The SDG Moment serves to place an annual spotlight on the Sustainable Development Goals and is held at the beginning of the United Nations General Assembly’s high-level week.

It takes place as the world is experiencing a deeply uneven response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which risks creating a two-tier recovery, with significant implications for the advancement of the SDGs, especially in developing countries

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and a more sustainable future for all people. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.

The 17 goals are interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve all the SDGs by 2030.

Click to view the Sustainable Development Goals

Wilberforce Asare

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