Financing the Next Development Agenda

WASHINGTON, DC – As the 2015 target date for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, the United Nations is intensifying its efforts to foster debate about what comes next for promotion of development worldwide. The outcome of these discussions will shape policies and investment aimed at spurring GDP growth, strengthening human capital, and promoting more inclusive prosperity.

With the global population expected to reach nine billion people by 2050 – a significant proportion of whom will reside in developing or underdeveloped countries – the international community must improve access to education, health care, and employment opportunities worldwide. Meanwhile, the prospect of a rise in global temperature of more than 2°C (3.6°F) over pre-industrial levels by the end of this century (which would trigger global warming’s most damaging effects) calls for higher investment in sustainable urbanization, climate-smart agriculture, and social safety nets. Both factors challenge us to define, in the longer term, more sustainable patterns of production and consumption.

Governments, civil society, and the private sector must rise to the challenge, cooperating to find and implement creative solutions. But, first, they must anticipate the associated financing requirements, which will soon surpass the current capacities of governments and international donors, and take action now to activate new, reliable sources of financing.

To start, governments should design targeted, evidence-based policies and support the development of sound institutions. This would make government services more effective, while helping to catalyze additional development aid from traditional donors and mobilize private-sector resources.