NAIROBI, Kenya, July 18 – Developing countries would be better able to finance the Sustainable Development Goals if rich countries were meeting their 2002 target to put 0.7 percent of gross national income into overseas aid.
This is according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Deputy Secretary General Joakim Reiter who was speaking during the first major effort to measure progress in achieving the new goals.
“If rich countries had consistently met their 0.7 percent target by 2002, then developing countries would have been US$2 trillion better off,” said Reiter.
The goal is however not easy to achieve, admits UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi. He explained that the 0.7 percent target will be a hard sell for many rich governments saying it’s an ambitious goal that requires an equally ambitious response.
“Globalization, including a phenomenal expansion of trade, has helped lift millions out of poverty, but not nearly enough people have benefitted. That is why UNCTAD is supporting developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively.”
The goals under debate were adopted by the United Nations in September last year under the 2030 Agenda Declaration and includes 17 goals and 169 targets. The goals include peace, justice and strong infrastructure, good health and wellbeing, industry, innovation and infrastructure among others.
“The sustainable development goals represent the outcome of long serious discussions on how we want our world to look in 2030, but this vision needs serious finance,” Kituyi said.
On how the ways of financing the goals was agreed upon, UNCTAD, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Development Programme, World Bank and the World Trade Organisation were tasked to find out how by the international community.
There however are countries that have been able to reach this target which include Britain, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Denmark.
Asked whether such measures thrust poor countries into further dependency on rich ones, Kituyi said that as it is, poor countries are in dire need of donor funding as they are hardly ever able to attract sustainable foreign direct investment which could be a better option.