Dear Mankind – My most favoured Children
You will recall from my earlier blogs (Mother Earth Opinion Blogs) the recent updates on the global initiatives to develop the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) thereby helping create a safer and fairer world. I am pleased to have an opportunity to say a few words in this, the 200th edition of our WhatCanYouDo Newsletter which has been keeping you updated and informed about important SDG developments.
The SDGs were agreed in 2015 by the 193 member countries of the United Nations and we are now at the mid-point on our journey to the 2030 targets. Good progress was starting to be being made in some areas but sadly most of this encouraging activity was brought to an abrupt halt, or in some cases even reversed, by the COVID 19 Pandemic. It is with profound sadness I must report that multiple health, war and security crises aggravated by climate and biodiversity crises are now putting the Sustainable Development Agenda at risk. The most recent SDG Index Report highlights that since 2019, these crises have halted sustainable development progress worldwide.
These Global crises and immediate needs also divert resources away from longer term targets. Success in developing countries is therefor being held back by severe funding constraints as well as by the global health and security crises. It is important to understand the critical importance of international financing mechanisms when addressing the problems in poorer countries and promoting sustainable investments in physical and human infrastructure. People need to campaign and make their Governments address these problems!
Low Income Countries (LICs) and Lower Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) make up about 51% of the world population but account for only 15% of the world’s investments. Sizable SDG financing is needed for SDG activity in these countries amounting to around US $500 billion per year. If we then add in the needs of Upper Medium Income Countries (UMICs) the amount needed in the developing world grows to around US$1 Trillion / year.
While these financing needs may appear be very large compared to the economies of those poorer countries, the amounts are quite modest relative to the size of the world economy. Gross world product (GWP) is now around US $100 Trillion so the amount needed to fill the financing gap is only 1-2% of the GWP. In addition, global savings are currently around 27% of GWP (i.e. US $27 Trillion per year). Hence financing between 4 – 8% of global savings would be enough to cover the incremental financing needed to make life better for approximately 80% of the world’s population.
There are several other potential sources of funding. Donor countries in the OECD Development Assistance Committee are supposed to give 0.7% of Gross National Income as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) but very few countries meet this target. In 2021 the total amount given was equivalent to 0.33% (US $179 Billion). If all countries paid in the 0.7% target, the ODA would rise to US $200 Billion per year!
There are 1000 or so Billionaires in the World with a combined net worth of around US $15 Trillion. Hence with just a 2% tax (assuming no leakage), this alone could generate around US $300 Billion per year. If suitable campaigns could be organised, this has the potential for massive increases in Philanthropic Aid-giving to the developing world to help address this financing problem.
So, what is the lesson in all this?
Eighty percent (80%) of the world’s population who live in poorer countries are not going to benefits if additional finance is not found to invest in the SDG initiatives. As always, the issue is not shortage of money but where and how it is spent. People need to campaign and demand that more funding is made available. This includes writing to and putting pressure on Political Leaders to hold them to account on the promises made when the SDGs were agreed at the United Nations.
The finance is there but is not being used for this purpose!
What can YOU do about it?
Get Involved; Make a Difference; Make some NOISE!
Sources: extracted from Sustainable Development Goals 2022 Jeoffrey Sachs et al, Cambridge DOI (10.1017/9781009210058)