Submissions for the Summit of the Future were requested at the end of 2023. CIC developed and submitted a short input on financing and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This note lays out our rationale and narrative concerning financing for development.
Why is financing such a contentious issue? In part, this is because the events of the last few years have increased global financing needs—for pandemic recovery and preparedness, for climate, for social protection and economic development to overcome price shocks and other international pressures.
In addition, global financing plays a role in escalating grievances about double standards. Double standards are, of course, a broader argument, from failure to coordinate COVID-19 vaccines to questions over different applications of international humanitarian and human rights law in Ukraine versus Palestine. Financing plays a role here, however, because of obvious inequities following COVID-19. HICs spent 24 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on stimulus and social protection programs in the first year of COVID-19; MICS could spend only 6 percent and LICS only 2 percent. Debt distress has risen dramatically in the last four years; 25 percent of emerging market countries are at high risk of default, while among low-income countries 60 percent are either at high risk of default or already in default.
Some of the reasons financing paragraphs became contentious in recent resolutions are more process-based. Using the SDG Summit Political Declaration as an example, the draft text was too detailed in some respects and laid open challenges as to what should be decided in different governance structures. Some areas were insufficiently tailored to the current state of debate at the IFIs, G20, and other international platforms, risking being out of date at the time of publication. In some aspects, they were not specific enough, missing an opportunity to bring new ideas to the table. Last, they did not focus sufficiently on the core comparative advantage of a UN platform for these discussions, which is to link the achievement of the SDGs, global political stability, and peaceful international relations with financing.