Sustainable Development Goals

"To reach their growth and development objectives, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries need to enhance their fiscal frameworks based on realistic and sustainable financing strategies, mobilize additional revenue, including through the implementation of medium-term revenue strategies, improve the efficiency of spending policies, and strengthen institutions and governance, backed by a larger private sector and donor effort."

–The Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda, 2019


Sustainable Development Goals: Making It Happen

In 2015 countries adopted a comprehensive agenda—the Sustainable Development Goals. How to go from goals to reality by 2030? Hear the voices of countries, international organizations, private sector, and civil society on how to make the SDGs happen.


Eleni Giokos, CNN Business Africa Correspondent 


Jason Channell, Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance, Citi Global Insights

Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and Chief Economist, UN DESA 

Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive Officer, Christian Aid 

David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director, IMF

Romuald Wadagni, Finance Minister, Benin

Key Points:

Multilateralism. Panelists agreed that multilateralism and stepped-up global efforts are critical to overcome challenges facing the SDGs. Harris argued that international cooperation was necessary for the world to deliver on the SDGs, particularly given the challenge to make headway on climate change and other fronts. Lipton noted that the IMF is helping members reaching the SDG goals through strengthened fiscal capacity and improved tax systems, with a parallel effort seeking to reorient expenditure to projects with bigger developmental impact.

Roles of Stakeholders. Panelists discussed the various roles that different actors can play. Jager encouraged leveraging resources of both public and private sectors to invest in human capital. Lipton stressed that private investment can help facilitate SDGs and build robust economies, but in some countries additional efforts are needed to improve the investment climate and reduce corruption and address governance weaknesses. Mukwashi noted the private sector could play a more important role if tax incentives took better into account the social returns for local people, as tax avoidance should be reduced in those countries that need more fiscal revenue for development.

Comprehensive Strategy. Panelists stressed the importance of a comprehensive development strategy. Jager called for tailor-made comprehensive strategies for different countries to spur investment for growth and social spending to leave no one behind. Channell echoed the need to include infrastructure projects as a part of a coherent and long-term development plan.


Global Financial Stability Report
Chapter 6: The Link Between Sustainable Finance and Financial Stability

Chapter 6 reports on the incorporation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles into finance. ESG issues may materially affect corporate performance and give rise to financial stability risks via exposure of financial institutions and large losses from climate change. Investor interest in ESG factors has continued to rise in recent years, but sustainable finance needs to deal with challenges, such as lack of standardization. ESG-related disclosure remains fragmented and sparse—in part because of associated costs, the often voluntary nature of disclosure, and lack of standardization. Policymakers have a role to play in developing standards, fostering disclosure and transparency, and promoting integration of sustainability considerations into investments and business decisions.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement—A game-changer for the continent?

With an estimated combined current GDP of US$2.5 trillion and a population of over one billion, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has the potential to become the largest free trade area in the world. Now ratified by all but one country on the continent, the work on translating the agreement into action to realize free trade and closer integration is underway. Our work assesses the potential effects of the AfCFTA on (i) welfare and income; (ii) trade flows; (ii) income distribution; and (iii) tax revenue. It also delineates key policy reforms needed to maximize the benefits from the AfCFTA. While findings vary considerably by country, overall, we find that the continent could get substantial welfare and income gains from the reduction of trade barriers, particularly nontariff barriers. Income distribution effects would be limited overall, with slight increase in the wages of skilled workers relative to their unskilled counterparts. Revenue losses from import tariff elimination are expected to be modest, given the existing low level of intra-regional tariffs in Africa. With intra-regional trade in Africa relatively concentrated in employment-friendly sectors, the AfCFTA can also contribute to solving the need to create jobs for the youth bulge hitting labor markets. But what policies are needed to ensure that countries maximize the benefits from the AfCFTA?      

The Future of Oil and Welfare in Oil-Exporting Countries

The biggest challenge for oil-exporting countries is how to distribute oil wealth across generations in an equitable and sustainable way. With the world becoming less reliant on oil, policy makers are confronted with increasingly urgent and difficult intergenerational tradeoffs.      


Review of Implementation of IMF Commitments in Support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Publication Date: June 3, 2019 

The paper reviews the implementation of the initiatives the IMF committed to in 2015 to support developing countries in pursuing the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, including (i) strengthening national tax systems; (ii) tackling large infrastructure gaps; (iii) promoting economic inclusion; (iv) the development of domestic financial markets; (v) intensifying engagement in fragile and conflict-affected states; (vi) improving economic statistics; (vii) expanding the financial safety net for developing countries; and (viii) addressing macroeconomic aspects of climate change. The implementation record to date shows that there has been a large scaling up of IMF support for the 2030 development agenda. The IMF has also engaged in other initiatives of direct relevance for supporting the 2030 development agenda, including adopting a framework to assess corruption vulnerabilities and developing a broad framework for assessing the spending levels needed to reach key SDGs. The paper draws lessons learned from the implementation of the various initiative to inform future IMF engagements.

How to Ensure the Effective and Sustainable Financing of International Development

By Christine Lagarde
Paris Forum

The challenge of attaining the SDGs

"We are all committed to see low-income countries make decisive and lasting advances in development. This commitment is embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs—the noble trifecta of economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability.

Attaining the SDGs is both an economic and ethical imperative."


Fiscal Policy and Development : Human, Social, and Physical Investments for the SDGs

Publication Date: January 23, 2019 

The goal of this paper is to estimate the additional annual spending required for meaningful progress on the SDGs in these areas. Our estimates refer to additional spending in 2030, relative to a baseline of current spending to GDP in these sectors. Toward this end, we apply an innovative costing methodology to a sample of 155 countries: 49 low- income developing countries, 72 emerging market economies, and 34 advanced economies. And we refine the analysis with five country studies: Rwanda, Benin, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Guatemala.