EBRD head calls for action now on development goals

By Anthony Williams
@ebrdtony

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EBRD head calls for action now on development goals

Benban solar park, Egypt.

President Suma Chakrabarti's speech

The international community has done too little, too late in its delivery of ambitious global development goals and needs to act now to put them back on track, the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said today.

Sir Suma Chakrabarti was speaking at a conference dedicated to the financing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), entitled “Can the World Avoid Failure?”

He said that, even before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, the world was collectively falling short on the fulfilment of the SDGs – which are due by 2030 – and the situation would worsen once the crisis was over.

The tools for delivering on the development agenda were available, the EBRD President said. “We need decisive leadership to use them. And we need to act now. The clock is ticking. The future won’t wait.”

The President said the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda – a pledge to turn the finance for development from billions into trillions – had provided the roadmap for the achievement of the SDGs.

A key requisite for delivery was a recognition that this universal development agenda needed universal ownership. “The world needs vibrant multilateral cooperation and shared vision. This is not an optional extra. Achievement of the SDGs is existential,” he said.

He also said policies had to be put in place in order to create conditions for self-sustaining growth by unlocking finance from multiple sources, including and especially from the private sector.

A third key element in delivery was that multilateral development banks (MDBs), including the EBRD, had to form a system that was more than the sum of its parts.

The MDBs had to complement each other, using their individual skills where they were most needed. “The world cannot afford for scarce skills to be artificially confined to one part of the world or another,” he said.

The development banks also had to be “brave and accountable” risk takers and to do what was needed to release their own capacity, including the removal of artificial constraints on the use of capital.

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