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SDG: International cooperation critical for mobilising finances to meet 2030 development agenda – Okonjo Iweala

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Okonjo Iweala

Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has stated that international cooperation will be critical to mobilize the financial resources needed to meet the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.

She disclosed this in her statement which formed part of the United Nations “2024 Financing for Sustainable Development Report” launched on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

The report says urgent steps are required to close the development financing gap, now estimated at USD 4.2 trillion annually.

The report added that staggering debt burdens and sky-high borrowing costs is preventing developing countries from responding to the confluence of crises they face.

Sharing her thoughts in the report with the caption, “Navigating global challenges: the WTO’s outlook on the Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development in 2025”, the ex-Minister of Finance in Nigeria explained that governments need to reaffirm their commitment to international cooperation thereby shaping policies that foster inclusive and sustainable development for the benefit of all.

She stated,

  • “As the global community gears up for the fourth international conference on financing for development in 2025, the WTO envisions a transformative event that mobilizes financial resources at speed and scale and leverages the full spectrum of complementary policy tools to deliver sustainable economic growth and development for people around the world.
  • “With only five years to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, anticipation surrounding the conference is palpable, particularly in light of the setback dealt to the pursuit of the SDGs by the COVID-19 pandemic and the wider poly crisis of international conflict, environmental strains, debt distress, and other challenges to future growth and stability.
  • “Trade is both a means to achieve development and climate goals and a force multiplier for sustainable development financing writ large.
  • “Like so many of the biggest challenges confronting people and countries today, international cooperation and a sense of shared responsibility will be critical both to re-globalize successfully and to mobilize and catalyse the financial resources needed to meet the 2030 agenda.”

Re-globalization for prosperity

Iweala explained that bringing more countries into mainstream global trading will boost global economy and fasttrack development.

But she noted that trade policy choices has a way of shaping the extent to which governments can benefit from international cooperation.

She expressed hope that the UN report and subsequent financial meetings will serve as a venue for fostering a renewed commitment to international cooperation, with concrete actions and pragmatic solutions.

She added that in many developing countries, the high cost of capital which are far higher than in richer economies, is holding back investments that would accelerate socioeconomic growth.

She stated,

  • “Bringing more countries and communities from the margins of global trade to the mainstream—what we at the WTO are calling ‘re-globalization’—is crucial for making the global economy more prosperous, equitable, and inclusive, in line with the spirit of the 2030 Agenda.
  • “Moreover, trade diversification and access to global markets are important factors in building resilience, by enhancing developing countries’ capacity to withstand economic shocks and other climate-related vulnerabilities. Open and predictable international trading conditions are a prerequisite for re-globalization.
  • “The SDG funding gap is substantial: estimates by both UNCTAD and the OECD suggest that developing countries will need an additional $4 trillion in financing to meet sustainable investment needs by 2030. Yet as the OECD notes, this is amount is equivalent to less than 1% of total global finance.

What you should know

  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.
  • The UN created 17 world Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) which seeks to provide “peace and prosperity for people and the planet.”
  • The recently released UN report comes ahead of its Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development in 2025 scheduled to hold in Spain.
  • The meeting will enable stakeholders brainstorm on how to raise necessary financial resources to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

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