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Private Finance Could Play Key Role In Funding, Achieving SDGs

Financial Times: Governments won’t fund sustainable development. Will private finance step in?
Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor at the Financial Times

“…[H]ow will the U.N. plug [the funding] gap [to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]? In an era of Donald Trump, surging populism, and rising debt, no western government is rushing to devote more of its budget to aid; but without a lot more cash, those SDGs risk looking like pious, pie-in-the-sky ambitions. So this week at the [World Economic Forum’s (WEF)] annual gathering in Davos, some of the global elite have been tossing around a striking idea to fill the gap: using the trillions of dollars of funds currently sitting inside the west’s pension funds, insurance groups, endowments, and family offices to back investment projects that both produce returns and support the SDGs. … There are still some formidably big obstacles to overcome. … But enthusiasts … insist that industry groups … are scrambling to create industry standards and to increase transparency, using the same playbook that previously turned other nascent financial products into proper mature markets. … [I]f forums such as the WEF can help turn even part of this lofty rhetoric into action — into, in fact, those missing trillions — that would be an impressive achievement” (1/23).