By Radwan Jakeem
NEW YORK (IDN) — In the race to 2030, the United Nations Joint SDG Fund has been doubled to $114 million as a result of an additional US $54.5 million in investments for projects in five countries, to try and get the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track.
Selected from a global pool of submissions from over 100 countries, the proposals submitted by Kenya, Madagascar, North Macedonia, Suriname, and Zimbabwe emerged as the strongest, most impactful, and investment-ready to take public.
“The investments constitute an ambitious and concerted response by the UN to the challenges of our generation, from health in a world still plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic to youth empowerment to climate change,” says the Fund’s press release on February 14.
“The Fund is in a position to bridge the gap in giving and impact investing”, said Hiro Mizuno, UN Special Envoy on Innovative Finance and Sustainable Investments, adding that it offers “a sustainable investment model by leveraging the power of markets to accelerate businesses, empower communities, and provide a clear path to self-sufficiency”.
The announcement of doubling of Fund’s portfolio comes less than one year after it launched its first investment of US $41 million in four transformative programmes in Fiji, Indonesia, Malawi, and Uruguay. In 2021, a US $17.9 million programme in Papua New Guinea was added. The growth of the Joint SDG Fund’s Catalytic Investment portfolio is expected to leverage US $5 billion toward the SDGs across the 10 programmatic countries.
The investments include a platform that encourages healthy sexual and reproductive habits, and HIV prevention in Kenya through the issuance of a development impact bond. The bond will generate resources to provide long-term financial support for girls to access sexual and reproductive healthcare. Madagascar will use a variety of financial instruments, including the establishment of a sovereign fund to finance renewable energy projects and expand people’s access to affordable, sustainable energy.
According to the press release, in partnership with development banks and local financial institutions, North Macedonia’s newly created Green Financing Facility will offer financing solutions to accelerate the transition to renewable and efficient energy for underserved households and businesses. Suriname will implement several solutions, including an innovative guarantee facility to ease access to credit, a business incubator, and a farmer-owned cooperative to develop a sustainable and resilient value chain for the country’s pineapple industry.
Zimbabwe is set to launch, through an ambitious public-private joint initiative with a focus on empowering women and youth participation, a renewable energy fund to initiate the development of the country’s renewable energy system/infrastructure.
The Joint SDG Fund is committed to working with our partners and donors to mobilize further additional resources to finance successful proposals submitted by Barbados, Ghana, and Rwanda.
Although the Catalytic Investment portfolio has been in place for less than a year, it has already achieved meaningful results. In Indonesia, the Joint SDG Fund supported the US $584 million launch of the first sovereign SDG bond in South-East Asia, and the creation of the Indonesia Impact Fund in partnership with Mandiri Capital.
The Malawi BUILD fund is currently fully operational and is expected to make its first investments in small businesses in the agricultural sector during the first months of 2022. Fiji’s programme has provided support to sustainable businesses for the country’s vital marine environment, including concessional financing toward a marine conservation company and a pipeline to provide service to waste management and organic fertilizers.
The Fund concludes: “With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Kingdom of Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Sweden, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and our private sector funding partners, this milestone marks a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 February 2022]
Photo: Local women gather at a river in Mucheni, Zimbabwe. Credit: Brent Stirton/Getty Images for FAO