World Investment Report 2014 – Investing in the SDGs: An Action Plan

World Investment Report 2014 – Investing in the SDGs: An Action Plan
June 2014 – 265 pages Full Report
Excerpt from Press Release; Editor’s text bolding

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are currently being formulated by the United Nations and a wide range of stakeholders, will require a step-change in both public and private investment in developing countries, if an estimated annual $2.5 trillion funding gap is to be filled, UNCTAD argues. Private sector contributions – through both good governance in business practices and investment in sustainable development – will be critical to the realization of the SDGs, the report says. Public sector contributions will remain indispensable, but may be insufficient to meet demands across all SDG-related sectors. Nevertheless, increasing private sector contributions poses challenges and policy dilemmas which must be addressed.

Key findings of the report include that at current levels of investment in SDG-relevant sectors, developing countries face an annual gap of $2.5 trillion (figure 1). Estimates for total investment needs in developing countries alone range from $3.3 trillion to $4.5 trillion per year, for basic infrastructure (roads, rail and ports; power stations; water and sanitation), food security (agriculture and rural development), climate change mitigation and adaptation, health, and education… Bridging such a gap may seem a daunting task, but it is achievable. The potential for increased private sector investment contributions is significant, especially in infrastructure, food security and climate change mitigation sectors. Structurally weak economies need special attention; UNCTAD estimates that a doubling of the growth rate of private investment in the least developed countries (LDCs) is required.

UNCTAD identifies four key policy dilemmas:
:: risks of increased private sector participation in sensitive sectors;
:: the need to maintain quality services affordable and accessible to all;
:: the respective roles of public and private investment; and
:: the apparent conflict between the particularly acute funding needs in structurally weak economies, especially LDCs, and the fact that especially these countries face the greatest difficulty in attracting such investment…

UNCTAD proposes a Strategic Framework for Private Investment in the SDGs which addresses key policy challenges and solutions… Increasing private investment in SDGs will require leadership at the global level, as well as from national policymakers to provide guiding principles for dealing with policy dilemmas, and also to set investment targets, ensure policy coherence and create synergies, establish a global multi-stakeholder platform on investing in the SDGs, and create a multi-agency technical assistance facility for investment in the SDGs.