A general view of the Crimean bridge Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Time for a Global Financial Makeover

In the past three years, the world has made some progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, but the fundamental issue of financing the SDGs remains unresolved. And, with the financial sector strongly oriented toward short-termism, the necessary investments may never materialize.

NEW YORK – In 2015, United Nations member states came together and committed to achieving a comprehensive and universal set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spanning all dimensions of economic and social development.

Investment will be indispensable to achieving the SDGs, which aim to eliminate poverty, end hunger, combat climate change, build resilient infrastructure, and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Yet, three years on, we still have not done nearly enough to leverage our financial systems in pursuit of the SDGs.

The UN, in coordination with almost 60 agencies and international institutions, recently published an assessment of the world’s progress toward changing financing, policies, and regulations to achieve the SDGs. It finds that, despite positive momentum on sustainable investment, the goals will not be met unless we shift the entire financial system toward long-term investment horizons, and make sustainability a central concern. Without a long-term perspective, certain risks, especially those associated with climate change, will not be priced into private investment decisions.