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Mobilizing Corporate Assets for Sustainable Development

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 is improbable, but if corporations reimagine and deepen their community impact, poor countries can make great strides. Key to such a process will be support for small and medium-size enterprises, which in developing and developed countries alike drive income growth.

DUBAI – The last Sustainable Development Goal is, in some ways, the most important. Recognizing that all other SDGs can be met only through collaboration, SDG17 includes targets such as the mobilization of financial resources for developing countries from multiple sources and the promotion of partnerships among public, private, and other stakeholders. But, less than eight years from the SDGs’ 2030 deadline, official development assistance continues to dominate the narrative about structural economic transformation.

In 2021, net ODA by members of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD totaled just under $179 billion. That is less than 4.5% of the $4.2 trillion shortfall in financing required to support the achievement of the SDGs. And while countries agreed in 2015, when the SDGs were adopted, to raise ODA to 0.7% of gross national income by 2030, they remain far from reaching that target. Meanwhile, more than $100 trillion in assets under management worldwide can be leveraged to accelerate development.

Beyond the difference in scale, the public and private sectors tend to target different aspects of the development continuum. For example, ODA might be channeled toward improving health outcomes, whereas investment is more likely to spur growth in a particular sector, such as agriculture.